HI, MY NAME IS… Alicia Deals.

I OPENED A BUSINESS IN TEMPE THIS YEAR AND I LOVE IT BECAUSE… the Tempe area is so bustling and vibrant and welcoming to new businesses. I grew up in the Valley, but I just opened the state’s first Cookies dispensary in Tempe in June 2023.

A TYPICAL DAY IN MY LIFE INCLUDES… nothing about my day is “typical,” and that’s why I love it. I am the first black woman to operate a cannabis dispensary stemming from a license awarded from Arizona’s social equity program. Black entrepreneurs account for less than 2% of the nation’s cannabis businesses, so I am proud of that. When not at the dispensary, I am advocating for justice for my dad, Robert Deals, who is in prison due to an unjust cannabis charge. In addition, I founded Life Changers, a company that helps other families in similar situations to access legal help.

MY FAMILY IS… my world. I am a mom, wife, and dedicated daughter. We are a close-knit family who does our best to keep in touch no matter the challenges we face.

ONE THING I CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IS… my faith. I’ve faced a lot in life – from a father who was incarcerated when I was a young adult to barriers as a black entrepreneur, but my faith, grit, and determination has always gotten me through.

MY FAVORITE MOVIE I COULD NEVER GET TIRED OF WATCHING AND WHY… I can’t think of a movie, but I really love “Suits” on Netflix because of the intense personal stories and intriguing business and legal environment.

WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WANTED TO BE… I’ve always been a natural entrepreneur and advocate, even from a young age.

THE SONG I WOULD SING AT KARAOKE NIGHT IS… “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce!

THE ONE PERSON WHO MOTIVATES ME IS… my dad, Robert Deals. No matter the trials and tribulations he’s faced, he’s always done so with faith, fairness, and optimism. He is our family’s rock and our foundation.

THE LAST THING THAT MADE ME LAUGH OUT LOUD WAS… an old photo of myself. It’s amazing how far I’ve come!

THE PERFECT DAY IS… spending time with my loved ones. Having just opened a new business, everything has been a whirlwind, so whenever I have time to connect with cherished family and friends is the perfect day.
MY FAVORITE LOCAL NONPROFIT IS… while not specifically local to Arizona, the Last Prisoner Project was founded in 2019 out of the belief that no one should remain incarcerated for cannabis offenses – a cause close to my heart, of course. Locals can check out their work at lastprisonerproject.org.

MY LIFE IS… busy and blessed. Being a business owner, advocate, and mom is a lot of work, but it is all completely worth it.

THE BEST GIFT I’VE EVER RECEIVED WAS… the opportunity to have a social equity license and open the new Cookies dispensary. This gift has turned our family’s biggest burden into our biggest blessing, and we plan to use it to thrive and bless others.

MY DREAM VACATION WOULD BE… a two-week vacation on a Greek island to see all the amazing views that Greece has to offer.

THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED IS… against all odds, just go for it. When I applied for the social equity license program, I did so with the attitude that we deserved it. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?