Wanda James: First Black Woman To Own A Dispensary In The US

By Andrea Smith

Twitter: @ JeopardyQueen

Wanda James has two distinctions: the first black woman with a retail cannabis operation and her specialization in edibles. These sweet things include chocolate bars, gourmet cooking oils, and wedding cakes. This is a major milestone for the black community as they are overlooked with a stigma attached when it comes to the plant. Wanda is a woman in a male dominated business.

There is an increase of women-owned businesses in the cannabis industry. This phenomenal woman and her husband Scott Durrah make treats for terminal patients and celebrations. As the owner of Simply Pure Medicated Edibles, Scott’s the chef, and Wanda’s a former Navy lieutenant. Her husband had a cooking school for how to prepare cannabis. Wanda’s start began with restaurants in Denver, Colorado and Santa Monica, California.

If you consider the war on drugs and black people being unfairly targeted on marijuana charges, it is a major accomplishment. Add to this that minors and young adults are getting hit with drug charges.  There are no lenient sentences, and Wanda James has a personal stake in legal matters. Her motivation sprung from her brother’s ten- year sentence for four ounces of marijuana.  The ten-year sentence was to pick cotton in Texas for free. Her outrage turned into action. She is vigilant of the social injustice towards black and brown people.

Since 2009, Wanda has been fighting the good fight. She makes no apologies for preferring a joint over a drink. She declares to be a pothead. She hasn’t suffered any negativity in her vision. She had to fight to extend her business hours, and she has improved her community. She is proud to employ black people.

Her mission is building an environment of jobs in Colorado. The consequences of legalization are the arrests of youths under 21 for small amounts of the plant.

Among her accomplishments are being the first in her family to graduate college, a corporate executive in two Fortune 500 companies, and being seated on President Obama’s national finance committee.

Wanda encourages other black entrepreneurs to stake a claim in this industry. People are willing to invest. James is part of the Cannabis Global Initiative.