On August 26 the community and staff of the Gorilla Rx Wellness dispensary in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles gathered to take an historic portrait in celebration of completing one year as a licensed Social Equity dispensary.
Gorilla Rx is the first Black women owned and led Social Equity dispensary in LA, and it came about after its founders challenged the city of LA to expand and correct its Social Equity license program. The dispensary and its founders have not only impacted the industry in LA broadly, but have purposely built strong local connections to the South [Central] LA community.
The event was the second annual “Great Day on Crenshaw,” said Kika Howze, Gorilla Rx’s co-owner and daughter of co-owner Kika Keith.
“The first time was a portrait that was reminiscent of ‘A Great Day in Harlem,’ and ‘A Great Day in Hip-Hop.’ Those took place with some of the most terrific trailblazers within our culture, and we wanted to bring that energy over to Crenshaw,” Howze said. She said the photo was “representing us being the first Black women to own and operate a dispensary in Los Angeles.”
The photo captures not only the founders of the dispensary and the building itself, but also the community that supports it.
“It was very important for us to show the community in front of what we built because that’s why we call ourselves ‘the House the People Built.’ It was a combined effort,” Howze said.
In the first year in business, Howze says she’s been surprised by how well the shop has been recieved in teh community.
“We’ve expanded, we’ve grown, we’ve learned a lot of lessons. One thing I never anticipated is the fact that people have just continued to walk through those doors with love and compassion and prioritizing wellness and equity,” Howze said.
“I’m just in awe, you know. We’re just along for the ride and making sure we take every step with intention,” she said.