The rapper and actor will partner with a longtime friend to open the new cannabis retail shop a few short miles from New York City.

Ice T’s cold demeanor made him a pioneer of gangsta rap and a star TV cop. Now the New Jersey native’s blunt delivery has helped secure a license to open a cannabis dispensary in one of New Jersey’s most hotly contested markets.

Ice-T and his partner Charis Burrett have the green light to move forward with plans to open a 5,000 square foot Medicine Woman cannabis dispensary in Jersey City, which is just a few miles from downtown New York City. Burrett is a former Playboy model who also owns The Medicine Woman dispensary in Bellflower, CA. Ice-T said he and Burrett have been friends for over 25 years.

Their application for a conditional retail license was one of four approved by Jersey City’s cannabis board Monday. The other four dispensaries that are coming to Jersey City are Medusa NJ, Oceanfront Holdings and The Other Side Dispensary. The city planning board and state regulators must also give their approval before the new store can open its doors.

Staying close to home

Ice-T, born Tracy Lauren Marrow, owns a property nearby in Edgewater, NJ. He told the board he chose Jersey City because, “There’s only one street there in Edgewater,” which he felt would hurt business. “I said ‘Let’s go to Jersey City, my neighbor,’ Ice-T remembers. “I’m here every night and going out, I love Jersey City.”

He was born in Newark and grew up in Summit, but found fame as a rapper on the West Coast. Ice eventually came back east to film episodes of Law & Order. Now he plans to use his pot platform to pave a way for minorities to enter the fast-growing industry.

“I’ve dedicated my life and career to giving back and paving the way for minorities… As a New Jersey native, I’m excited for the opportunity legalization offers our community and I look forward to ushering in a new era for cannabis in the state… “I’m Black, I’m a veteran, my whole career has been about helping people. Nobody starts a business thinking about social impact… But it’s lucrative enough that you should want to help the community.

Ice-T, Press release

Jersey City resident Lorenzo Richardson, who is a Board of Education member, was pleased with the location they chose for the dispensary.

“I spent my entire life in this city,” Richardson told the new operators. “I grew up in Montgomery projects. I’ve seen the weed come in, I’ve seen the cocaine, I’ve seen the crack come in, I’ve seen the heroin. I’ve seen what it’s done. I truly respect the fact that you chose to put it on Tonnelle Avenue. You really don’t know what that means for me.”

Ice has said publicly he doesn’t use cannabis, but he doesn’t judge those who do. This classic scene of Ice getting stoned in Leprechaun in the Hood might be the closest he gets to the plant. But he couldn’t resist the chance to bring opportunities to communities and individuals most harmed by the failed War on Drugs through The Medicine Woman’s new location.

The woman behind The Medicine Woman

Ice-T said his partner Charis B is an authority on cannabis who will “ensure a premium experience for our customers and community.” Charis Burrett told officials that she wants to provide a safe location for people to purchase a variety products, including her own brand.

Burrett went to high school in New Jersey and has been in the cannabis industry since 2015. Her business started as a nonprofit delivery service. Now she intends to keep putting affordability and social equity first at the Jersey City location.

“We plan on hiring quite a large percentage of our employees from Jersey City” Burrett told local media Tuesday. “We plan on doing job fairs to find employees that are looking to be in the industry,” she added.

The newly approved dispensaries will have to meet strict social equity guidelines set by the city. Social equity measures will include partnerships with the Last Prisoner Project, and local Arts, Employment, Health, and Education programs.

To apply for job opportunities with The Medicine Woman, local residents should send their resumes to

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Dan Reagans

Dan Reagans is a veteran journalist now living in Los Angeles. The Harlem native has covered culture and media for over a decade.

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