Wanda James is a former member of the American military who has served on Barack Obama's national finance committee and has run three congressional campaigns. She owns three small businesses in Colorado, including a marijuana dispensary, making her the only black woman to own a dispensary in the state.
For the record, there are around 1,200 dispensaries operating in Colorado.
This documentary from Mic uses Wanda's story to explore the tenuous relationship between the legal marijuana industry and minority communities. It's a particularly emotional subject for James - her brother Rick served 10 years for possession of marijuana and currently manages one of James' businesses. But because of his conviction, he is not able to work in the legal marijuana industry.
We highly recommend you watch the whole video. It will provoke many important, troubling questions: Why are men and women who were incarcerated for possession of a now-legal substance shut out of the industry? Why is there so little representation of visible minorities among dispensary owners. After all, asks host Darnell Moore, shouldn't marijuana's benefits be available to everyone?
When it comes to legal weed, race and zipcode matter more than...Meet the incredible Wanda James, the only black woman who owns a legal weed dispensary in Colorado. And after you meet her, meet her brother, Rick, who was thrown in jail for years for possession of marijuana.This is how your race and zip code determine whether you become a millionaire or a felon.
Posted by Mic on Tuesday, January 26, 2016