When Wanda James was working to open her first cannabis dispensary over ten years ago, she was poised with many stressors, such as raising capital and worrying about not going to jail in the midst of it.
In 2009, James and her husband, Scott Durrah, opened the first Black-owned dispensary in Denver, Colo., the Apothecary of Colorado. And in 2010, the couple launched Simply Pure edibles and became the first African Americans in the state “licensed to own a dispensary, a grow operation and an edibles company,” Cannabis Dispensary previously reported.
The cannabis industry was in a “very different place back then,” James said. Not only did she have to stress about acquiring funding, but she also had to worry about the negative comments she would get from others on how she was making a wrong decision.
“In 2009, I remember The Denver Post wrote an article called ‘Coming Out of The Cannabis Closet,’ and I got so many phone calls from all of the politicians that I work with and business people telling me that life as I knew it was over, [and] I ruined my reputation,” James said. “And that was a real thing.”
James expressed that the money involved in opening a dispensary