The youngest Black female owner of a cannabis dispensary in the U.S. will bring a brick-and-mortar location to Prince George’s County in winter 2018.
A few years ago, Hope Wiseman, 25, left Atlanta and the world of finance to begin investing in cannabis, America’s next booming industry.
“I went to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and majored in economics and every summer I would intern at investment banks, and I followed economic trends a lot, so I knew that cannabis was going to be a huge industry,” Wiseman said.
A native of Prince George’s County, Wiseman said her inspiration to join a heavily white, male-dominated industry was the war on drugs in the ’90s.
“I saw how the war on drugs impacted my community and I knew I wanted to be involved in cannabis to correct that,” she said. “I started doing research in my home state and I knew that at that time there would be a bill legalized soon. The next step is an application process and they don’t really announce it, but you’ve just got to know.”
Wiseman said that once a license is awarded, a buy-in cost of $200,000 within two years of being certified is required.
“With an investment banking background I knew what I had to do and began to raise money,” she said. “I also knew I needed to get investors to go in on this with me and I partnered with my mother, who’s a dentist and another investor. From there I left my job as a Equity Institutional Sales Analyst at SunTrust in Atlanta and came back home.”
Mary and Main’s first location will open its doors next year in Capitol Heights, Md., as one of the first medicinal cannabis dispensaries in the county.
The location will offer cannabis sativa and cannabis indica, one best suited for day and the other for night. They also will offer several types of cannabis therapy, including smoked cannabis, cannabis tea, sublingual sprays, edibles, vaporizing, gels and capsules, topical balms and tinctures.
In order to purchase from the dispensary, one must have a recommendation from a registered physician.
Wiseman also founded Compassionate Herbal Alternative to go along with her vision to create opportunity for minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.
She also wants to help fellow Black millennials break into the cannabis industry.
“I definitely want to bring people along and bring other people up,” she said. “We deserve a place in this industry. It’s going to be bigger than the NFL. It is projected to be worth billions in a few years.”
Wiseman said for those who want in but don’t have the access to capital, that they should get in any way they can.
“I would say work for another group, work for dispensaries and get as much information as you can and build your experience now,” she said. “So when the time comes, you’re ready.”