Young Woman Breaks Barriers in Cannabis Industry

by: Micha Green Special to the AFRO
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Prince George’s County native Hope Wiseman, a 25-year-old businesswoman and dancer, is breaking boundaries as the youngest Black woman to own a cannabis dispensary in the United States. Her dispensary, Mary and Main, is slated to open in the early part of 2018 in Capitol Heights, Md.

Hope Wiseman, who is just 25, owns a cannabis dispensary in Prince George’s County. (Courtesy photo)

Blazing a path as not only a young, Black woman ganjapreneur, but also opening one of the first dispensaries of its kind in Prince George’s County, Wiseman’s Mary and Main, is a more than 5,000 square-feet facility that will offer various cannabis strains of sativa and indica, and multiple cannabis therapies including the herb to smoke, tea, sublingual sprays, edibles, vaporizers, capsules, tinctures and topical salves.

“As a millennial entrepreneur in this “budding” industry, I am extremely honored to be able to lay the foundation for other young people of color. Coming from a family of women business owners, I have always been inspired to own my own business,” Wiseman told the AFRO.  She said she is trying to open a store that offers an event space, sells cannabis products at an affordable price and offers services that connect the products to each customer’s specific nervous system.

“Every patient will go through an intake process where we will break down the endocannabinoid system (which is inside of all of us) and the receptors that connect to the plant as you’re using it. That’s why the body reacts in different ways based on different strains. That’s the differentiator,” Wiseman said.

Wiseman has an extensive resume with experience as an investment banker in Atlanta, an Atlanta Falcons cheerleader, co-foundeder of the Compassionate Herbal Alternative, a medical marijuana cultivation center and is about to star on E’s new TV show, WAGS Atlanta.

Her mother, Dr. Octavia Simkins-Wiseman, a dentist and entrepreneur, went into business with the young go-getter after acknowledging the flowering market that is the cannabis industry.

“I’d gone to my mother, who’s very entrepreneurial.  She’s a dentist and has owned many businesses over the years. I presented the opportunity to her.  She agreed that this is something that our community needs and they need it from someone they can trust- someone who’s been a part of the community for years,” Wiseman said.  The mother-daughter duo have a third business partner, Dr. Larry Bryan.

Over the past three years the team has been working diligently to get the proper licensing, best products, and make a name for themselves in an industry they had little knowledge about before the, then 22-year-old, had the idea to enter..

Since acquiring the proper licensing in Maryland, the team is already applying to open establishments in other states.

Like many enterprises, the marijuana industry has been very White and male, yet people like Wiseman, and other area ganjapreneurs such as Dr. Chanda Macias, owner of National Holistic Healing Center, a dispensary in Northwest, D.C., and Kriyyah Abdul of We Build U Grow, a service that helps Washingtonians grow marijuana plants, are changing the face, outlook and possibilities within the cannabis business. As Wiseman is in Maryland, her mark is particularly special, as there are not many major cannabis enterprises in the state, yet.

“A lot of people don’t even know that it’s legal here. We have about 13,000 patients signed up in the state, which is not a large number considering the amount of people who live in Maryland,” Wiseman said. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 6 million people live in Maryland.

“On the other hand, the D.C. market is doing well,” Wiseman said. More than 681,000 people live in the District, and since marijuana was legalized in 2015, 6,000 patients registered.  “I think that the market will pick up once people start seeing the buildings go up and products become available.  The market in Maryland is projected to be one of the biggest in the East coast,” Wiseman said.

She said she hopes to inspire other ganjapreneurs to enter the marijuana industry, too.

“By the age of 22, I knew I had the ability to develop a platform to inspire other people to do it. It’s one thing to hear a 60-year-old woman who made it in the industry saying ‘I think more young people need to get involved,’ versus a millennial actually doing it. My message is: ‘I did it, you can do it too,’” Wiseman said.

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