In a business world that’s been predominately run by men for decades, women are dominating legal weed. Cannabis is a female plant after all, and the ladies who stand behind Mary Jane are making waves in the burgeoning business of marijuana.
Women Hold Almost One-Third of All Executive Roles in the Marijuana Industry
Women occupy almost a third of all executive positions in marijuana businesses across the country. According to a Marijuana Business Daily survey, in 2017 26.9% of executives in the cannabis industry were women, compared to 23% in all US businesses. And while these numbers have fallen from 2015 when 36% of executive positions in the marijuana industry were held by women, females are still holding dominant positions in the cannabis market.
In March, the documentary Mary Janes: The Women of Weed debuted in Littleton, Colorado to a sold-out audience. The film takes a closer look at the females who hold senior positions in cannabis-based businesses across the country. It also highlights what these women are doing to influence things beyond gender equality, touching on matters like sustainability, just cannabis policy, and racial equality.
The film highlights health and wellness as part of the reason having women in cannabis is a game-changer. And as one man told the film’s producer Wendy Borman, that women would be the ones to save the marijuana industry from the “stoner culture” stereotype and stigma that comes with cannabis consumption.
Women are Changing the Stoner Stereotype
The stoner stigma that has held strong for years, however, is finally beginning to change. People aren’t just consuming weed to get high. They’re using it as medicine, as a part of their daily health and wellness routine.
And whether it’s using CBD oil to treat chronic pain, cannabis for menstrual cramps, or smoking a stress-relieving strain at the end of the day, the majority of cannabis consumers are now women. A 2017 survey by the Cannabis Consumers Coalition, 58.35 percent of women use cannabis compared to 41.65 percent of men.
When it comes to cannabis businesses, women are demonstrating that they’re leading the way. It’s believed that part of this is because the industry is so new and people in business aren’t as constricted by gender roles that are already set in place. There’s much less resistance for women entering the industry…and a lot more freedom.
Marijuana Business is Not Dominated by Men Like Many Other Industries
Giadha Aguirre de Carcer is the CEO of New Frontier Data, a data solution company with a focus on cannabis. She says, “I came from male-dominated industries like banking and tech and government and they were all difficult to navigate career-wise.” It was when she entered the cannabis industry that she discovered,
“There is much less resistance towards women.”
Nancy Whiteman, the founder, and co-owner of Wana Brands, feels the same. As one of Colorado’s premier infused products manufacturers, Wana has developed an amazing line of artisan edibles, concentrates, and medicinal marijuana products.
“When Colorado really opened up,” says Whiteman, “there were low barriers to entry. There’s no glass ceiling to be broken, no preconceived industry that this is more male-oriented. It’s just brand new and we’re all figuring it out together.”
Canna Advisors is a cannabis consulting firm co-founded by Diane Czarkowski that helps launch and grow marijuana-based businesses. She strongly believes the cannabis industry has the capability to have an extremely strong female influence as it specifically relates to areas where women find true passion.
Cannabis use today isn’t all about getting high. It’s about maintaining good health, helping people, and offering natural products that serve the greatest good. These are areas Czarkowski believes, that women thrive in, and something that allows them strong influence in the industry.
Big Business in Cannabis for These Women Dominating the Legal Marijuana Market
Women Grow was created in 2014 by women for women who want to succeed in the marijuana business industry. It was designed to connect, educate, inspire, and empower industry leaders and is doing a darned fine job at doing so. Women Grow serves as a means for women who want to succeed in the cannabis industry.
Each month they hold monthly events for those interested in getting their foot in the cannabis business door. Their Annual Leadership Summit is an event that typically sells out and covers a wide-range of topics such as how to make cannabis-based products and information on how to get a business off the ground to how to build your cannabis brand and invest in the cannabis industry.
Women Grow has grown right alongside the cannabis industry and become a leader in empowering women who have the desire to work with cannabis. From guidance and support to networking and education, Women Grow is one women-based industry leader that is truly making a difference for the women dominating the marijuana market.
Clark Neubert LLP
In 2008, the idea of a cannabis business attorney wasn’t something that had really taken off. In step Ariel Clark who changed the legal game of cannabis forever. It’s been a decade since Clark decided to dedicate her practice to the emerging cannabis industry.
“I’ve been around cannabis my entire life,” Clark says. “As an attorney, I’ve seen it all-from heavy federal enforcement to a murky set of state laws to now, building for-profit businesses in a more traditional corporate market.”
With business partner Nicole Howell Huebert, one of California’s most effective and respected cannabis business and regulatory attorneys, the two focus on general counsel, commercial cannabis licensing and regulatory compliance, and corporate transactions in the cannabis industry.
Another area Clark is focusing on is equal cannabis enforcement guidelines. “There’s a history of criminalization of black and brown people around marijuana,” Clark says. “We have the opportunity to influence what this industry looks like.”
From Cannabis Corporations to Small Business Start-Ups, Women are Leading the Way
Women are all over the map when it comes to successful marijuana business models. From the ladies leading the legal side of things to women like Jessica Peters, who created Moxie Meds, a company developed to ease symptoms and pain associated with menstrual cramps, PMS, menopause, and reproductive issues, there are countless companies in the cannabis sector.
Don’t forget Whoopi Goldberg, who runs Whoopi and Maya with business partner Maya Elisabeth. Another line designed to help with menstrual discomfort that is helping to positively change the face of cannabis.
Then there’s Supernova Women, a women-led cannabis business created by Women of Color in Cannabis. Supernova campaigns for legal cannabis as well as providing different resources for small cannabis businesses and people with prior cannabis convictions. They also offer guidance and advice for women of color in the industry through their program Shades of Green.
The list of women running cannabis businesses goes on and on. In a business world that has been run predominately by men for decades, the legality of marijuana isn’t the only thing that’s changing. Women are dominating cannabis businesses across the country, proving that there’s plenty of growing room for girls when it comes to legal weed.