Women in Cannabis Wednesday! Turn up!
Cannabis industry. I hope when you read that you no longer think of just stoners making money legally. But don’t count that out lol, stoners and non-stoners are making great strides in both medical and recreational marijuana. Dispensaries have evolved from window-less,-top-secret like facilities to bright and inviting centers for patients and non-patients alike. So today, I’m passing this #WCW joint to Wanda James, founder of the first Black dispensary in Colorado. Yes, she’s like, a big deal.
Wanda James is the CEO of Simply Pure dispensary in Denver, CO, and the first Black woman (with her husband) to own a medical marijuana dispensary. Simply Pure, founded in 2010, is now a medical and recreational cannabis dispensary plus an edibles company. James is also the managing partner at the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that specializes in regulation and political outreach.
Visiting this awesome dispensary was one of the highlights of my many trips to Denver, CO. It was also an eye opener. I took notice of the neighborhood where Simply Pure was nestled. Highlands, once a neighborhood for the working class and lower-income families, was now in the process of a grand gentrified transition. I met minorities and white people who experienced displacement due to the increase of rent. It was awesome to see not only a woman, but a woman of color, open a business in an area that can serve both the current residents and those with higher incomes moving in.
Oh the situation is sad…like, Sally Struthers infomercial sad. BUT, because gentrification is inevitable in many major cities in America, it’s important that the business that move in to make the area look more appealing to the “higher-ups” still benefit and serve the current residents. Simply pure provides alternative medicine and accessories to the community, not to mention job opportunities!
Oh, this woman’s greatness doesn’t start nor end with Simply Pure. James graduated from the University of Colorado in 1986 then served in the United States Navy. She was the political campaign manager appointed to work on President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Amendment 64 Task Force, which was a strong blueprint for legalizing recreational marijuana. Her and her husband, Scott Durrah, were successful Los Angeles and Denver restaurant owner until their passion’s call was too loud to ignore.
Queen James, this smoke’s for you. Thank you for opening another door in the cannabis industry for US. When the underrepresented are given equal opportunities, we all benefit!