First Black woman-owned cannabis dispensary opens in South Jersey

Suzan Nickelson, a dedicated leader in the New Jersey cannabis scene who has been working to open her medical dispensary, Holistic Solutions, for the past five years, on Monday announced the dispensary passed all inspections and has received state approval to open.

Located at 451 White Horse Pike, Atco, the alternative treatment center will open its doors immediately.

A graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Nickelson is the first female, as well as the first Black woman, to own a cannabis license in the state. She was an awardee of a medicinal dispensary license in the Request for Proposals 2019 round and is the first Black woman majority owner and operator in New Jersey’s history. Having worked as a dedicated citizen of New Jersey for over two decades, Nickelson has experience being on the senior leadership team for numerous state and government departments, and she was the first person to civilianize the Division of State Police Office of Employee Relations since 1921.

While she’s been personally affected by the harmful effects of cannabis prohibition, she continues to stand by the generational teachings about cannabis cultivation and consumption that were passed down to her by the women in her family — devout herbalists from West Africa and Jamaica who worked to understand the plant, utilizing its many uses for healing and spirituality for more than a millennium.

Holistic Solutions is opening as the first and only dispensary in Waterford, which is located within the Philadelphia metro area. The ATC, which has over 4,000 square feet of sales space, 11 point of sale stations for seamless purchasing, a private consultation room for discussions with onsite medical professionals and a convenient drive-thru window, will provide care and education to patients enrolled in New Jersey’s Medicinal Cannabis Program. A curated assortment of premium THC and CBD products, including flower, prerolls, edibles, tinctures, vaporizers, concentrates, ingestibles, topicals and accessories, will be available for patients at all stages of their cannabis journey. Women and BIPOC-owned cannabis brands, like Miss Grass and But-A-Cake, will have ample space on-shelf.

“Like the women who raised me, I believe cannabis is a plant of reverence and spirituality that has been given to people to heal — however intentional stigmatization led to what we went through in the War on Drugs that disproportionately hurt entire communities of Black and brown people. This is what fueled me to work relentlessly to open the doors of Holistic Solutions,” Nickelson said. “The women in my family passed down generational knowledge of working with various herbs for healing and spirituality to me, and I look forward to using that knowledge to run my own cannabis business so others can understand just how powerful this plant can be in a pursuit of wellness and healing.”

Nickelson also runs Ital Daughters LLC, a cannabis and hemp consulting company that specializes in assisting minorities, women and veterans along with local municipalities and stakeholders in understanding the compliance and regulatory aspects of the industry. She is a also a dedicated member of Jack and Jill of America, a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2-19 dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders. She also looks forward to announcing two additional New Jersey-based cannabis ventures in the near future.

Holistic Solutions opens with the help of its minority partner Eastbound Collective.