Dispensary owner Wanda James has won a close primary race for a seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents.
James was named the winning Democratic candidate for the District 1 seat late on June 30 after a back-and-forth ballot battle with attorney Johnnie Nguyen, who’d originally had a small edge on election night. As tens of thousands of more votes came in, though, James took over and held on to a slight lead.
The owner of Denver dispensary Simply Pure, as well as a marijuana business consulting firm, James was one of the first licensed Black business owners in Colorado’s marijuana industry. She has political roots, too: James managed a congressional campaign for Governor Jared Polis in 2006 before working on Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee in his run for president. She also led a 2019 Denver City Council bid for her husband, Scott Durrah, and has maintained an active role in state politics and social equity interests in Colorado’s marijuana industry.
But this was the first time she had run for office. A 1986 graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder, James says that her biggest objectives are students’ rights and diversity among the faculty and Board of Regents, citing