Founder & CEO of Simply Pure
Wanda James may be known as a successful entrepreneur and leader, but at heart, she’s just as much an advocate and politician. James is the Co-founder and CEO of Simply Pure — a marijuana dispensary, cultivation and edible company located in Denver. But she is equally as passionate about the fight for cannabis reform, social equity and social justice. Read More >
Pot, Power & Politics
Change in Cannabis Policy and Culture | Blunt Talks
For Wanda James, co-founding a cannabis dispensary was about much more than starting a business. It was about social justice and how people of color are sent to prison at alarmingly high rates for simple possession, while their White counterparts are allowed to go free. Her journey into the business of weed began after learning that her brother had been incarcerated for 10 years at just 17 for buying less than five ounces of marijuana. He spent nearly five of those years picking cotton for free. “It was a cruel and unusual punishment that amounted to slavery,” she says. In this keynote, James shares why so many Black and Brown people are still getting arrested and sent to prison for simple possession and how getting politically involved and fighting for the decriminalization of cannabis might be the solution for solving this injustice. She’ll also untangle the politics of pot and why so many Black people are getting boxed out of the business and offers solutions on how African Americans can work together to break this logjam.
If there is one thing that Wanda James believes led to her success it’s this: She never expected anyone to give her the American dream. She earned it herself. “Give me a level playing field and I will take charge,” she said in a documentary for The Atlantic. “I will do anything within my power to make sure that we are given an even playing field.” An even playing field, indeed. James is a longtime activist for social equity and justice, as well as cannabis reform. She’s also a serial entrepreneur with her husband, Scott Durrah. The pair owned restaurants, a cooking school, a consulting business and were the first African Americans legally licensed to own a cannabis dispensary in the United States. In this highly motivational keynote, James shares her framework for winning in business in a new industry and why confidence and courage are the keys to success, along with helping others along the way. You can get past what life throws at you and become a success at business and life — no matter the color of your skin. James will help you get started.
What makes a great and effective leader who others will follow? It’s not about a title, that corner office or offering all those free perks, says Wanda James. The former Naval officer, corporate executive and serial entrepreneur shares her insights on how you can get your team to be more creative, productive and willing to go that extra mile, from developing your own voice to removing the word “can’t” from your vocabulary to making a difference to blazing your own trail. Drawing from her own experience and distinguished career, James offers lessons that will help you take you and your team to the next level.
It’s a fact. Getting into the cannabis business is incredibly complicated. There are rules and regulations that are different in every state, where medical or recreational marijuana is legal—not to mention that the federal government still does not recognize it as a legal substance. Add to that, licenses, permits and procedures that are required. In this keynote, Wanda James, co-founder of Simply Pure, shares her insights into this burgeoning market, how to avoid getting boxed out of the business and what you need to do to get started, as well as where the cannabis industry is headed in the future.
Through her many years of work in politics — including helping elect President Barack Obama and Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, as well as being a leading advocate for cannabis reform — Wanda James has learned the power of cultivating relationships and influence. In this presentation, James shares her knowledge on how to grow your influence and use the power of proximity to change the conversation and create opportunities. It’s the first step in helping change the world and getting things done.
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