It’s something of a bittersweet moment for Alicia Deals. Awarded a social equity license two years ago, Deals in June opened the first Cookies-branded dispensary in Arizona, making her one of the first women of color to open a dispensary in the state, and the first through its social equity program, which seeks to right some of the wrongs for those impacted by the War on Drugs.
But for Deals, that impact continues to this day as her father, Robert Deals, an Air Force veteran, is serving the 12th year of an 18-year sentence for doing the same thing she now does legally: selling marijuana.
“Plainly, cannabis was our family’s greatest burden and now boasts our greatest blessing,” she says. “With this, we have the opportunity to bridge the gap between those who have suffered and those who have benefited on the basis of cannabis.”
A lifelong Arizona resident, Deals says she was originally in the medical field before doing entertainment promotion and running a power-washing company, but was drawn to the cannabis industry by the social equity program itself.
“When you hear the intentions of it and the qualifications, it just embodied us,” she says, noting that her father has been a great supporter of her journey.
She says she is honored to be working with “people whose character match mine” at Cookies and looks forward to not only expanding her business footprint and brand, but also using her voice to raise awareness for those still serving jail time for what is today a legitimate business.
“We’re going to win for everything they’ve taken from us, everything they’ve taken and done to so many men. We’re going to change lives,” she says. “Free Robert Deals.”