BHM Heroes: Wanda James

During the month of February, BRTW ensemble members are selecting personal Black heroes to highlight everyday. These heroes may have spoken the magic words that first made them see their Black beauty, the people who inspired them to become artists, or even the person who taught them how to make proper mixed greens.

It’s no secret, especially amongst those woke AF, that marijuana capitalism is a double-sided sword with a color code. For whites, it’s an industry that has the potential to make them millions if not billions. For Black folks, marijuana can be prison sentences with mandatory minimums, federal sentencing, and the litany of problems that stem from that. The stark contrast is hardly subtle as one compares the number of Black men behind bars for marijuana related crimes and the number of white men eagerly joining the 1% from its profits.

This is the reality that Wanda James very consciously faced as she opened a weed dispensary in Colorado. James, a former political campaigner, was an activist in the effort to reduce prison sentences for those convicted of marijuana-related crimes. She is also quite the entrepreneur, having owned and operated more than 5 businesses in the past 2 decades, so it has hardly escaped her attention that amongst the 1200 legal weed dispensaries in Colorado, she is the only Black woman to own one.

BRTW celebrates Wanda James not only for being a trailblazer at the forefront of the green rush, as the cannabis industry is sometimes called, but also for her political and social consciousness at the core of her business and political aspirations.

Stay tuned for the next BHM Hero tomorrow!

Heather Harvey,
Co-Founder & Ensemble Member