Living Legends: Wanda James Is The First African American Dispensary Owner
Wanda James is the first African America dispensary owner in the U.S.
The Simply Pure owner stated, “We are the first African Americans legally licensed in Colorado to own a dispensary, an edible company, and a grow, and since Colorado was the first state to legally license people, that would have made us amongst the first African Americans legally licensed to sell cannabis in America.”
The cannabis dispensary and edibles company is based out of Denver, Colorado — James opened it with her husband in 2010. She’s also a pierce cannabis law reform advocate. She became interested in advocacy after working in the political realm on Obama’s National Finance Committee. James felt she needed to politicize her move to cannabis because she’d seen the racial disparity in arrests firsthand.
“A lot of it was that we have seen with Black and Brown people and the arrest rate. Even in my own family. My own brother was arrested for a small amount of cannabis and did 10 years in a privatized prison system where my brother picked cotton for 4 ½ years to buy his freedom. So when you hear that there’s a young Black boy in — the mid9—1996, picking 100 pounds of cotton a day to purchase his freedom, that pissed me the f*ck off.”
James served in the navy for more than four years so it’s no wonder she fights for people like she does.