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Black Women in Cannabis

With the spread of legalizing marijuana, the cannabis industry has seen booms all over the country. It’s become a billion dollar business and like most industries in America- is dominated by white men. However, women are getting their foot in the door and on track to building empires. Not just women, but women of color. Some of the biggest names in the cannabis industry now are black women. Here’s a look at some of the women who are making a name for themselves in this growing business. 

Felicia Palmer is co-founder of the cannabis industry’s first ever online summit. In an interview with Black Enterprise, Palmer said, “I saw the potential for how the cannabis industry could be a means for African Americans to achieve economic empowerment.” The summit is a tool for participants to become informed about CBD and medical marijuana, legalization laws in their states, and how they can get involved with the cannabis business.

Wanda James was the first black woman to own a dispensary in Colorado. She and her husband own Simply Pure Dispensary and according to their website, are the first African-Americans legally licensed in America to own a dispensary, cultivation facility, and edible company. 

Hope Wiseman is the youngest black dispensary owner in America. At just the age of 25, she owns Mary and Main in PG County, Maryland. Sheis also the founder of Compassionate Herbal Alternative, an organization that creates opportunities for minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

Kebra Smith-Bolden is founder and CEO of CannaHealth, the only Connecticut cannabis business owned by an African-American. Her business provides disadvantaged communities with education about medical cannabis “as well as safe and legal access through medical marijuana program evaluations,” per the CannaHealth site. She also serves as the market leader for Women Grow in Connecticut, which is an organization for networking and empowering women in the cannabis industry. 

Chanda Macias is the owner and manager of the National Holistic Healing Center Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Washington D.C, a company that uses medical marijuana to combat specific conditions.  She received her Ph.D. from Howard University. Macias serves as the Chairwoman of the Board of Managers and CEO for Women Grow. She is named on Forbes list of “Fifteen Powerful and Innovative Women in Cannabis Right Now.”

Andrea Cabral was also named on the Forbes list of women in cannabis to know. She is an American lawyer and also the former Massachusetts secretary of political safety. In addition to her political gains, she is the CEO of a new marijuana dispensary coming soon to Boston and Cambridge called Ascend Massachusetts. In an interview with Mass Live, Cabral said she “wants to help customers assess what kind of sensation they want — stress-relief? Euphoria? — and help them find the right product.” 
These are just a few of the many African-American women trailblazing through a growing billion dollar industry. Like anything we put our minds to, black women are dominating the cannabis business and this is just the beginning. For more black owned businesses, 21Ninety provides a list of seven cannabis businesses owned by women of color.

Kennedi Jackson is a senior journalism major, leadership studies minor from Atlanta, GA. She is one of the 2020-2021 associate editors for the HerCampus Hampton U chapter. Post-graduation, Kennedi hopes to work in an editorial position, communications department, or digital media.
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