Illinois officially has their first Black-owned cannabis brand. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa has opened his equity focused cannabis brand names “93 Boyz.” In Chicago dispensaries like Dispensary33, which has facilities in the West Loop and Andersonville, and Mission Dispensaries, which has sites in South Chicago and Calumet City, Illinois, a constrained stock of 93 Boyz cannabis products has been on the shelves since April 2022. On the South Side, there is no other dispensary.
Mensa told The TRiiBE, "I feel great to be able to be the first Black-owned cannabis business operating in the state of Illinois. At the same time, I realize that excitement also means that there is a lot more cultural work to be done. The enthusiasm is palpable.”
For this launch and the associated launch event, Mensa stated, "Our objective is to provide a fresh flavor to what is a rather dry cannabis market in Illinois, and introduce a distinct element to the game that does not already exist."
He aspires to leave his mark on the field through contributing. In order to supply books to inmates, Mensa has partnered with Semicolon Bookstore on Division and promised to donate a portion of 93 Boyz's earnings.
Mensa, who has been giving books to the inmates for a while, stated, "I've just found and seen personally that the right book can provide mental freedom to someone whose body is practically enslaved."
Mensa wants to inject some new flavor into Illinois's under-diversified cannabis sector through 93 Boyz. According to a published statement, the core of 93 Boyz's goal is reinvesting in communities and people who have historically and disproportionately suffered because of regulations, stereotypes, and presumptions around cannabis consumption.
The state made $1.38 billion from cannabis sales in 2021. Illinois sold $135 million worth of marijuana each month as of July 2022. Although July's sales were the highest for 2022, they fell roughly $2 million short of the cannabis industry's December 2021 sales.
Mensa started working on 93 Boyz in 2019, right after the state of Illinois legalized cannabis for adult use in June of that same year. The law became operative on January 1st, 2020.