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Hope Wiseman: The Youngest Black Dispensary Owner in the US

Hope Wiseman: The Youngest Black Dispensary Owner in the US February 2, 2018Leave a comment

Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)

The name Hope Wiseman can bring attention in a few different realms. Some may say that the name sounds familiar but they just can’t place it. Wiseman may look familiar because she is currently one of the cast members on “WAGS Atlanta” on E! Network. The show focuses on the lifestyles and relationships of Atlanta’s hottest power couples. Wiseman is single on the show though she dated a pro football player. Aside from that, her name is also getting attention in the cannabis world but you may not yet be clear as to why.

Wiseman is also the founder of Mary and Main, a dispensary opening this month in Prince George’s County, MD, near the Washington, D.C. area. At age 25, this makes her the youngest dispensary owner in the US! Wiseman is a former investment banker and used these skills to obtain seed capital to form her company. This allowed her to obtain the license for the dispensary which ended up taking three years to receive. Wiseman stated that she used all her investment contacts to raise the money along with her personal seed money. The business was started with her mother, Dr. Octavia Simkins-Wiseman, and co-founders, Dr. Larry Bryant and Dexter Parker. The team did not know much about the cannabis industry but was fully aware of its potential marketing opportunities.

Hope said that she has faced confusion and skepticism from friends and family who have negative connotations about marijuana. “I understand that stoner stigma may come off very negatively,” she said. “But then you hear the stories. Stories about children who had multiple seizures a day, which completely stopped because they’re taking CBD oil, or Cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana which has absolutely zero psychoactive effect. Stories about people who have glaucoma who use it to alleviate their symptoms. Stories about people who have cancer, who have a better quality of life when they’re going through chemotherapy.” Wiseman feels that with more research, the more public perception will change about the various benefits the plant has to offer.

Wiseman plans to offer free classes about cannabis, hoping to help alleviate the associated stigma. She plans to focus on communities where punishment for consuming cannabis could be devastating. Challenging the stigma, she said, may encourage minorities to break into the industry. This stigma maintains a blatant double standard according to Wiseman. Whereas many whites have financially benefitted from using and marketing cannabis, thousands of people of color remain in jail for the same actions.

“We also want to explain the history behind the plant so you can understand why it became a scheduled drug, why African-Americans have been prosecuted at higher rates than other races and minorities and how that affects us today,” she said. Wiseman would also like to connect with medical professionals as well. “We know a lot of physicians through our network that want to learn more and would feel more comfortable recommending the plant to patients if they really understood it,” she said. “For law enforcement, we want to get lawyers and police into the classes who want to learn more about how our business affects theirs, and how we can work together.”

Wiseman noted that starting out in the cannabis industry definitely has its challenges but she is thrilled to be in her position at this moment in history.

By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)

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