In 2014 when Maryland began its legalization of medical marijuana, Hope Wiseman was so inspired by the industry’s growth, she shifted her career from investment banking to cannabis.

She is now known as the youngest Black woman dispensary owner in the U.S.

Even at age 25, Wiseman aspired to be more in the cannabis market than just a business owner. She wanted to break into the industry and help those who had been impacted by the War on Drugs.

“Cannabis has been used as a weapon to arrest Black and Brown people,” she explains. “I would be able to pave a path behind me and allow for other people who look like me…to have a place in the industry.”

Her dispensary Mary and Main, located in Prince George’s County, Maryland, was named as a way to bridge the gap for mainstream cannabis while helping to eliminate the stigma.

Now 29, Wiseman’s business is dedicated to providing the most opportunities for her community by making sure there are resources available for them to succeed. Her dispensary offers classes that range from cooking with cannabis to dosing and effects to the history of cannabis legalization.

Hope Wiseman
Founder & CEO
Mary and Main

Wiseman is also adamant about who shares this responsibility. “Every owner has the responsibility to be an advocate,” she says, whether or not they already have. Wiseman herself has propelled her own narrative forward to better the industry and the people in it. 

Being a minority, millennial woman in the cannabis space, Wiseman continues, “It is really important for me to continue to push…what I believe social equity is, how I believe these programs should be shaped, as well as providing opportunities for others to come into this space or just benefit from it existing.”

While executive jobs for women in cannabis are on the decline, Wiseman isn’t deterred. She continuously advocates through talks with legislators and at events all over the country. “I’m constantly trying to represent what it could look like for an industry to be full of women just like me,” she affirms. 

Despite challenges that result from the highly regulated industry, such as raising money to fund her business, Wiseman is moving forward with plans to further innovate. A line of unique branded Mary and Main products are in the works that Wiseman says are meant to “mimic mainstream food and beverage products” as a way to keep up with current trends. 

While women-led leadership roles are on the decline in cannabis, Wiseman doesn’t want women to slow down their pursuits and encourages them to continue forward. 

Wiseman’s advice? 

“Time is now. Don’t wait for this industry to continue to mature. We have a unique opportunity right now to shape the industry and to make it look like what we want it to look like.”

Mara Gordon

Amber Wise