We might not have a female president (at least not yet!) but, in the world of weed, women run plenty of companies and possess plenty of aspirations. In fact, according to CNN, over a third of all executives in the cannabis market are female. While these numbers might not scream “equality” or be enough to garner Gloria Steinem’s stamp of approval, they are more progressive than other industries. Per the Pew Research Center, 22 percent of US companies in industries across the board are led by female executives.
Not only are women taking charge, but they’re also behind innovations, starting their own companies and planting their seeds in a thriving commerce
It’s fitting, really, as marijuana legalization is based on opening minds and overcoming obstacles, something women have always faced in corporate America.This isn’t to say that the old playground retort of “anything boys can do, girls can do better” rings true (though women can certainly populate the earth more efficiently), but it is to say that genius comes in both genders. Besides, the cannabis industry offers a bit of a clean slate: it’s new – at least newish – and provides much more of an even playing field than other industries. And women are eager to grab opportunities and leave their marks.Women of weed are everywhere, but listing them all would certainly give the average reader eye strain (and me carpal tunnel), so, here’s a taste of the girls of ganja - the companies owned by women include:
According to their website, TreatWell’s mission is to offer quality and variety to those medicating with cannabis. The company sells CBD extracts and tinctures, edibles, and top shelf flowers at select shops in California. It also offers a line of pet products, something fairly rare but up and coming. These products are non-psychoactive, high-CBD formulas geared for cats and dogs suffering from pain or seizures. The owner, Alison Ettel, originally became involved in the cannabis industry when she used marijuana to recover from bacterial meningitis.
Treat Yourself is a company focused on cannabis-infused health and beauty products specifically made for women.
They create pain-reducing products, including things like edible-infused pop tarts aimed at reducing menstrual cramps
The company was founded by Leone and Cindy, a yoga instructor and a health coach who’d known each other since childhood. Part of the company’s formation was due to the lack of women-friendly products available in medical marijuana dispensaries. The lack of healthy food played a role too, as marijuana is more likely to be infused in fattening, sweet foods than more nutritious ones (though this trend is changing).
Salwa Ibrahim and her business partner opened Blum in 2012. Based in Oakland, California, the shop offers medical marijuana products to those suffering from chronic medical conditions. They emphasize personal care as well as options: they sell flowers, concentrates, and edibles. Blum has grown quite a bit in the past four years: they added a cultivation center and a production facility.
They also employ 70 employees (more than half are women) and see an estimated 800 patients each day
Blum was recently acquired by Terra Tech Corp and two more dispensaries opened in Las Vegas. Ibrahim remains on staff as the executive director.
CEO of Mindful, Meg Sanders, heads the largest woman-led cannabis company in America. Her work has spanned across the entire marijuana industry. She was a key part in the establishment of regulations for the legal marijuana industry in Colorado, having been the only industry representative appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper to be involved in their creation. Meg also represents MiNDFUL as a board member of the Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and the Aurora Economic Development Council. Her work has also been instrumental in assisting other women in the industry through organizations like Women Grow.
Women Grow is a networking entity aimed at connecting female entrepreneurs and business women focused on the cannabis industry. It was founded in Denver, Colorado in 2014 (two years after citizens voted to legalize recreational weed) and strives to inspire and empower the next generation. Those involved are proponents fighting for legalization on a national level.
Women Grow offers programs, community meetings, and events for present and hopeful business owners and executives
Women Grow was founded by Jane West (who also owns Edible Events Co – an event company focused on cannabis catering), Jazmin Hupp (who currently hosts monthly events in over thirty cities teaching leadership and empowerment to cannabis executives and aspirants), and Julie Batkiewicz (who left Women Grow to launch Monte Content, a company that produces educational videos broadcast into dispensaries with the intent of educating consumers).
Poseidon Asset Management
Poseidon Asset Management was founded by Emily Paxhia and her brother Morgan (who happened to be a wealth manager). Started in 2013, it’s one of the sole investment funds dedicated to those interested in investing exclusively in the weed industry.
They presently offer twenty-five portfolios within the cannabis space
Some of these are overtly pot-related, while others involve things like agricultural companies used to grow.
Sweet Releaf, according to founder Didi Davis, is a company with a motto of “Help where it hurts, without the high.” It offers topical cannabis products intended to treat skin conditions, inflammation, and muscle pain. The company is run by an all-female team and uses only organic ingredients. The products offered come in a variety of strengths and scents. Sweet Releaf came about under unfortunate circumstance: a love one was injured in a serious accident. When traditional medications proved ineffective (or made things worse), they looked towards plant-based salves that focused on the endocannabinoid system. They found these treatments succeeded where run of the mill pain solutions failed.
If you don’t live in Colorado, you might not have ever heard of Euflora: it’s one of the most visited dispensaries in Denver (and now has a few other locations too). It was founded by Jamie Perino, who worked in the male-dominated architecture and construction industry before joining an industry where one gender doesn’t dominate.
Euflora is locally known as the “Apple store of weed” because of similarities in display aesthetics
As more states legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, an increasing number of jobs and opportunities will undoubtedly become available. And both women and men will be there, creating, innovating, and leading. Marijuana has always been an inclusive industry with little concern for gender; if you love the leaf, it loves you back.