The Crusader Newspaper Group

Native South Side doctor’s commitment to Black community changes with the seasons

Rita J. McGuire, M.D., has
delivered babies, performs COVID-19 vaccine outreach
and is part of the only female,
Black-owned CBD company

Rita J. McGuire, M.D., affectionately known as Dr. Rita, has always been committed to helping the community. She grew up in the Park Manor neighborhood and while in high school, she got the bug to go into the field of medicine. She has been a practicing ob/gyn for 30 years and has been on staff at Roseland Community Hospital for 24 years.

Dr. Rita received a Bachelor’s in Chemistry from UIC, as well as a medical degree from Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit. She completed her residency at Cook County Hospital. During her 30 years as an ob/gyn, she has performed more than 8,000 deliveries throughout the United States, while helping so many families through the birth process and welcoming new members to their families.

At Roseland, she is the attending physician ob/gyn and Interim Clinician for Infectious Control, COVID Preparedness and the Emergency Use Authorization Vaccine Team. She also works as a Clinical Director with a few medical schools in the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands and assists students when they come to the United States with their clinical rotations at local hospitals.

And as she addresses the pandemic of our era, Dr. Rita is now committed to helping with COVID-19 vaccination outreach to make sure that members of the Black community are aware of and informed about the benefit of receiving the vaccine. “I came up with ‘Lunch and Learn’ on Wednesdays and at churches to help people understand the vaccine. This way, folks aren’t getting their information from Facebook or other uncredited sources. It’s important that they trust a physician who looks like them to get their information.”

Dr. Rita is a compassionate and people-oriented motivational speaker, holistic health, wellness and fitness expert. She has used her gifts to educate and empower women to pursue and maintain healthy lifestyles through proper nutrition, physical fitness and natural alternative medicine in South Africa, Mexico, Bahamas and across the United States.

She is the first physician in Illinois to certify patients in the Opioid Alternative Pilot Program (OAPP), is a strong and dedicated advocate for the education and legalization of medical cannabis, an active participant in cannabis legalization town halls. She has also testified before the Illinois House of Representatives, assisting in the legalization of adult use cannabis in Illinois. And it is with these last achievements that Dr. Rita has embarked on a venture aimed at not only helping women physically, but both women and men in other areas of their lives.

Even before COVID-19 was a concern locally and globally and local community members needed her expertise, two years ago Dr. Rita embarked on another endeavor to educate people about the benefits of using alternative medicine—in this case cannabis—in helping folks achieve overall healthy outcomes without using so many prescription drugs.

To this end, Dr. Rita is the Chief Medical Officer for WaKanna for Life, the Crown Jewel of CBD. On April 20, 2019, she joined WaKanna for Life CEO Melissa Boston; Phyllis Nash, Sr. VP of Sales; and Dr. Patricia Van Pelt-Scott, who is also an Illinois State Senator, who serves as President, in starting the company that promotes health, wealth, legacy and freedom. The significance of this date is that annually April 20 is known as “Weed Day.” It has been documented that after school at 4:20 p.m., teens across the state of California would go to smoke marijuana in school yards and parks, so 4/20 was a fitting day to celebrate the legalization of weed in the few states where it is legal and to rally for across-the-board legalization.

Dr. Rita explained her role in the company: “I am responsible for the products that we source to ensure they are safe and effective—from testing and producing third-party validation with certificates of analysis—to being responsible for the education related to CBD, drug interaction and usage,” she said. “As an expert in this field, I am passionate about making high quality CBD easily accessible to my family, friends, patients, clients and community.”

There are about 5,000 minorities who have joined the cannabis/CBD space so far across the country, and WaKanna for Life is the only female and Black-owned cannabis/CBD health and wellness company in the state of Illinois. The goal is to become the largest and most reputable minority-owned company in the world by offering oils, edibles and culinary products. In just a few short weeks of forming the company, the group achieved multiple six figures in product sales, paying out more than $80,000 in commissions their first month.

CBD stands for Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound that naturally occurs in industrial hemp. Out of the more than 85 different cannabinoids, it is the second most common, next to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD is non psychotropic and produces the health benefits without the high. It contains nutritious substances that help keep the endocannabinoids system (ECS), which controls how we think, feel and react, in balance.

Dr. Rita explained: “Our bodies can easily get knocked out of balance when it doesn’t produce sufficient endocannabinoids, and that deficiency can cause severe pain/discomfort and numerous other issues. When CBD products are absorbed into our system, they can imitate the compounds that our bodies naturally produce and amazingly provide relief to numerous symptoms that our bodies commonly experience: discomfort, anxiety, and inflammation. While there are no mind-altering effects with CBD, it shares some of the medicinal benefits of THC, plus more!”

While some may be hesitant to use a CBD-based product, Dr. Rita says it’s healthy. “It is unfortunate that we have been miseducated on cannabis. While opioids are killing on average 134 people a day, no one has ever overdosed on cannabis. The recent signing of the 2018 Farm Bill has made certain components of the cannabis plant (CBD with less than .3 percent THC) legally available in all 50 states. We believe that no one should have to endure chronic pain.”

Whatever your age, background or lifestyle, WaKanna For Life’s holistic approach is designed to help improve your mind, body, soul and emotional well-being. And the company can help those interested in becoming distributors. WaKanna University is an 8-hour online course, where people can earn a certificate that allows them to have the confidence and credibility to speak about CBD-based products. For those interested in becoming a distributor, reach out to Dr. Rita at: [[email protected]].

WaKanna For Life creates some of the highest quality products in the world. By focusing on industry staples and the hottest trends, they’re well positioned to become a dominant player in the cannabis arena, help others ensure long-term success and financial stability, while providing an opportunity for independent distributors to own an online CBD store and a CBD product dispensary with a full inventory—all while making a global impact on the world.

By 2025, the company’s plan is to operate as a full-service cannabis company that expands from wholesaling micro-dispensaries to farming and manufacturing. This will be achieved through the company’s focus groups, WaKanna University, WaKanna Legacy, Micro-Dispensaries, and Pathway to Ownership—all designed to offer the most unique cannabis concept that will revolutionize the industry by empowering the average person to accumulate wealth. “Our goal is to have everything from seed to sell,” said Dr. Rita.

While there has been much concern about the inequities around members of the Black community being able to open CBD or marijuana dispensaries in the area, Dr. Rita says that one of the company’s biggest accomplishments is that she and her partners are allowing the average person to be a part of this $22 billion industry for less than $1,000. “It would cost at minimum at least $1 million to open a brick-and-mortar cannabis dispensary, and so many people are left out. We allow an opportunity for folks who normally would not be able to enter this industry.”

Dr. Rita is also a Certifying Physician for the Medical Cannabis Patient Program (MCPP), a member of Doctors For Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), and a physician who effectively educates and empowers diverse audiences across the globe on the amazing benefits of medical cannabis. Finally, as it concerns the use of CBD products or marijuana, she says: “It’s all about education and knowledge. There are more than 20,000 peer review articles that speak to the medicinal benefits of CBD or marijuana. It’s the education piece that we are so big on, and we are continually trying to address the negative stigmas about this plant. Big pharmaceuticals don’t want people to understand that there are natural, organic alternatives for your health. I am a big believer in giving people education and information.”

The company donates a portion of the profits to mentor African-American youth, protect and feed children and empower seniors. WaKanna For Life is hosting a virtual online wealth expo from April 17-18 and April 20. To purchase a ticket, visit [].

For more information about WaKanna For Life or to learn about the company’s daily webinars or to watch a zoom presentation about who they are, visit [].


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