As of January 2021, there are 125, 335 certified Medical Cannabis Patients in Maryland as well as countless individual patient advocates, advocacy groups and formal patient advocacy organizations and entities. The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association (CPAA), founded by a cannabis patient with a law and policy background, is a policy education organization developing strategies and solutions to challenges in the cannabis patient marketplace focusing on legislative education efforts, advocate training, and community outreach through actionable items in line with our mission of unity, collaboration and action. With Maryland retail sales in March 2021 alone totalling $48, 116, 446 and cannabis legalization on the horizon, the cannabis industry is at a pivotal point.


CPAA strives to set the industry standard in the provision of practical, patient-focused, science-based cannabis solutions leading to meaningful change in the daily lives of all patients in the cannabis industry. CPAA promotes the common interests and goals of cannabis patients and advocates as an effective voice of action and aims to cultivate an environment of advocacy training, representation and resources needed to create meaningful, measurable change in a rapidly growing market.



A unified patient advocate voice promoting common legislative and policy interests and goals


Collaborative opportunities among patient advocates, organizations, businesses and government entities progressing common interests and goals for medical cannabis markets


Actionable items resulting in meaningful, measurable change

General Counsel & Founder

Rita Montoya

Rita Montoya, J.D., is an Indigenous (Opata) and Mexican mother and life-long advocate for underserved communities. An attorney by training with a demonstrated commitment to and a career in public service, she had the privilege of standing up with and on behalf of thousands of individuals in their pursuit of justice under the United States Constitution. Her professional accomplishments include securing a non-death plea agreement for a client potentially facing the death penalty; preventing a developmentally delayed non-citizen juvenile, turning 18 years old while in jail, from being sent to federal immigration authorities; and securing Withholding of Removal under the Convention Against Torture for a client from Nigeria facing torture and death by his own government if deported by the United States. Rita received her Juris Doctorate from the American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. during which she received the American Bar Association Award of Excellence: Law School Newspaper Editorial for an article about abolishing the death penalty. She completed international legal studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and post-graduate legal studies in law and policy at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. Rita utilizes her personal and professional experience to inform her advocacy on behalf of medical cannabis patients and advocates. Introduced to the medical, science-based benefits of plants as a student at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, California, Rita founded the Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association (CPAA) to develop strategies and solutions to challenges in the cannabis patient marketplace through actionable items.

Board of Directors

Kevin Johnson, Jr.

A Baltimore native Kevin Johnson, Jr. is the Director of Creative Marketing at Peake ReLeaf, an independent medical dispensary in Rockville, Maryland. After graduating from the Art & Design Department at Montgomery College in 2002 (formerly the Maryland College of Art and Design) as well as from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2007, Kevin began working at business technology services firm The Canton Group contributing to, and leading, projects for clients such as the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, the Maryland State Department of Education, the International Youth Foundation, and United States Probation and Pretrial Services.

With over a decade of marketing experience he joined Peake ReLeaf with the goal of helping to build a patient focused medical cannabis dispensary that kept the community at the forefront. Kevin has been an integral part in all of Peake ReLeaf’s corporate social responsibility plans, and community engagement and outreach efforts – including the Clean Slate Expungement Clinics which partnered Peake ReLeaf with Mary and Main, The Maryland Medical Dispensary Association, Minorities 4 Medical Marijuana, The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association, Trilogy Wellness Of Maryland, and Herbiculture. Kevin lives in Baltimore County, Maryland with his wife – artist-educator and disability advocate Jennifer, and their son, Kevin III.

Otha Smith, III

Otha Smith III is the CEO and Founder of Tetragram. Tetragram is a SaaS platform that empowers cannabis and CBD consumers with the ability to Track, Rate, and Share their personal experiences with others. In addition, Tetragram partners with dispensaries, wholesalers, and medical professionals to help them tell their product’s story, connect directly with consumers, and leverage our consumer outcome data to understand the impact of products. Otha is a Maryland native, who grew up Southern Anne Arundel County and graduated from Bowie State University. A seasoned entrepreneur, Otha started his first business – Aggressive Detailing LLC while in high school. Otha has been featured in Baltimore Business Journal, Capital Gazette, Americans for Safe Access, NJ Cannabis Insider, and many other publications highlighting his work. Marijuana Venture Magazine recognized Otha as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Cannabis. Tetragram was highlighted by the Baltimore Business Journal as one of the Top 5 Startups to Watch in 2022.

Hope Wiseman

Hope Wiseman, Founder & CEO, Mary & Main, a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland, has always been passionate about serving her community. In 2014, Hope graduated with an economics degree from the illustrious Spelman College. On campus, Hope was known for her exceptional leadership skills in several campus organizations. Of her many undergraduate accomplishments, she cites her time as cofounder of her alma mater’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. After spending a year at SunTrust as an Equity Institutional Sales Analyst, Hope decided to continue striving for excellence by pursuing her dreams of entrepreneurship. With her financial and banking background, Hope founded her company, CHA Holdings LLC., on the foundation of her vision to create opportunity for minorities who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. In Fall 2017, Hope Wiseman became the youngest Black woman dispensary owner in the United States with the opening of Mary & Main dispensary in Prince George’s County, Maryland in September 2018. Hope has been featured in Black Enterprise, Huffington Post, Blavity, and more. In addition to her entrepreneurial pursuits, Hope is a speaker and consultant.

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