Wanda James Keynote Speaker

Women's Cannabis Chamber of CommerceMs. James is the co-founder and CEO of Simply Pure and is a leading advocate in the cannabis industry. In 2009, she and her husband, Scott Durrah, became the first African Americans, legally licensed, to own a dispensary, a cultivation and edible company.

Making history once again In 2022, she became the first cannabis business owner elected to public office in Colorado. Regent Wanda James was elected in Congressional District 1 to serve on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The board is the governing body for all four CU campuses and has a budget over $6 Billion. 

She is also the founder and President of the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that specializes in diversity development, and marketing.

Graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, she was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy and served for four years in Naval Integrated Underwater Surveillance (IUSS).

Wanda’s positioning of Simply Pure, on both the political stage and on cannabis reform, has led to her being the first to be the first cannabis entrepreneur elected to public office. In November 2022, she won her general election bid for University of Colorado Regent in Congressional District 1. 

Women's Cannabis Chamber of CommerceShe was also named to Ad Week’s 2021 Trailblazer list along with VP Kamala Harris, NBC President Kim Goodwin, MSNBC President, Rashida Jones and Tracee Ellis Ross.

Other honors include being named an Inaugural Inductee in the 2019 MJBiz Hall of Fame, MJBizCon 2023: ATACH 2023 Retailer Of The Year Award; Grow Up Cannabis Conference 2023: Champion Of Justice And Equity; 2022 CWCC Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business; named one of the Top 50 Women in Cannabis and 100 Most Influential People in Cannabis by High Times magazine, 2016 Cannabis Business Executive (CBE) 50 Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry.

She has been featured on the covers of Black Enterprise, Cannabis Insider, Vanguard Magazine, Sensi Magazine, Cannabis Dispensary Magazine, Cannabis &Tech Magazine and the Denver Urban Spectrum. She and her husband have been featured in numerous national and international shows including BET’s SMOKE, The BBC, Democracy Now, The Atlantic, MIC.com, MSNBC, Smile Jamaica, Viceland, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CBS Sunday Morning Holiday Special, “Eat, Drink and be Merry” and CNBC’s Marijuana USA, to name a few.


Women's Cannabis Chamber of CommerceA leading advocate for social equity, and a civil rights fighter, Ms. James political involvements have included Jared Polis for Congress in Colorado’s CD2 and in 2008, Ms. James was appointed to President Obama’s National Finance Committee. In 2018, Ms. James was appointed to Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ Transition Team and served on the Kamala Harris National Finance Committee. Her expertise on cannabis reform, regulation and policy has assisted numerous municipalities including Colorado, Jamaica, Maryland, and Illinois, in their legalization efforts.

Ms. James is a gubernatorial appointee to the Colorado Tourism Board of Directors and is a graduate of the Inaugural Class of the Los Angeles African American Women’s Public Policy Institute at the University of Southern California and a former President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, Los Angeles. She was appointed to the Los Angeles Small and Local Business Committee and sat on the Board of Directors for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce. Ms. James is a former member of the University of Colorado Alumni Board of Directors.

Cannabis Industry Tickets $175