Join ELEVATE Northeast for the first installment of our Community Conversation Series of events, featuring a panel of African American medical and business leaders, including certified Cannabinoid Medicine specialist Dr. Rachel Knox and Hope Wiseman, the youngest African American woman in the United States to own a dispensary!
Love it or hate it, marijuana is in the news and it’s becoming an increasingly popular topic of conversation at the dinner table, on the streets, in our schools, and in our workplaces. But as legalization spreads across the country and marijuana businesses seek to open in our communities, everyday citizens not directly involved in politics or cannabis industry businesses are left with questions unanswered, and the long-standing stigma against the marijuana plant and the people who use and/or work with it remains, potentially limiting career and community impact opportunities.
As a parent, grandparent, guardian, teacher or community leader in Massachusetts, now is the time to take a proactive approach to understanding the many benefits of marijuana and why more states, businesses and individuals are welcoming new regulations. Empowered with a firm understanding of the science and data around cannabis and the reasons so many businesses and individuals are jumping into the new legal industry today, you can elevate the conversation at home and in your community while lessening others’ fear and opening their eyes to new ideas.
Dr. Rachel Knox is a certified Cannabinoid Medicine specialist who received her medical and business degrees from Tufts University after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She trained in Family and Integrative Medicine before pursuing additional study in the areas of Functional Medicine, Cannabinoid Medicine, and Endocannabinology – the study of the function, dysfunction and modulation of the most important physiologic system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system.
As a Cannabinoid Medicine specialist and endocannabinologist who has counseled several thousand patients in cannabis therapeutics, she has seen first-hand how significant a role cannabis and cannabimimetic modalities play in helping patients reclaim their health and overall sense of wellness, establishing renewed ownership over their lives. She has witnessed her patients safely use cannabis as adjunctive therapy to their conventional treatment plans, to wean from prescription drugs, find relief from the side effects of toxic therapies, or avoid conventional pharmaceuticals altogether.
Kebra Smith-Bolden is a registered nurse who leveraged her medical knowledge and decades of professional experience to create CannaHealthTM, the first and only cannabis business owned by an African-American in Connecticut. She is also the Director of the New England Region of Minorities for Medical Marijuana.
Prior to joining the cannabis industry, Kebra worked as a psychiatric home care nurse, specializing in patients with mental health issues. She applies her background in mental health to support disadvantaged communities by studying the use of cannabis in conjunction with therapy for those suffering from complex traumas. Among many community and advocacy roles, Kebra is also the Co-Chief Nursing Officer of the Steering Committee for Huerfano County, Colorado’s Faris Green Campus project to fight opioid addiction with cannabis. She attended Morgan State University, is a graduate of Excelsior College and received a certificate of competency in the cannabis industry from Northeastern Institute of Cannabis. She is currently studying to be an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at Simmons College in Boston, MA.
Hope Wiseman: At the age of 25, Hope Wiseman became the youngest black woman dispensary owner in the country. In September 2018, her dispensary, Mary and Main, opened their doors to Prince George’s County with a purpose of serving and educating their clients about Cannabis.
Hope’s mission is to continue to kill the stigma the country has created about Cannabis within the Black community and help African Americans realize the importance of their place in the cannabis industry.
TaShonda Vincent-Lee (event moderator) is a cofounder and Director of Community Outreach with ELEVATE Northeast. She also serves as an experienced consultant to minority-run businesses entering or expanding in the cannabis industry, helping them develop business plans and navigate complex state and federal regulations. Most recently, TaShonda served as TILT Holdings, Inc. Community Outreach and Events Manager where she oversaw company efforts to share TILT B2B + B2C brands and services through educational and community events and experiences. Always championing a spirit of enrichment, TaShonda joined TILT Holdings as the former Campaign Manager for The Committee to Elect Tito Jackson, a role in which she assembled key community stakeholders and political advisors to assist with campaign platform and initiative development, community engagement and outreach.
In addition to supporting officials of public service, TaShonda served as a Massachusetts MMJ Care Provider, and was a volunteer for the “Yes on Question 4” campaign in 2016. TaShonda continues to be an advocate for both state and national marijuana policy reform.