Women have become a driving force for the growing cannabis industry. According to the survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily, 36 percent of the women are leading the cannabis industry as compared to 22 percent in the US as an average across industries. This would seem to indicate that cannabis is relatively more gender balanced than other sectors.
There is only 1 Inc. 500 company that was founded by a woman and other titans of tech companies such as Google, Twitter, have relatively fewer women in executive positions compared to the cannabis industry. If trends continue, cannabis could stand out as a shining example of a large growing industry in which women take a dominant role in leadership positions.
Cannabis may have been portrayed as more of a boys trouble-making hobby in the past or a guys-only stoner culture but recent trends leads us to believe the industry is shifting away from the “dingy basement bro” vibe and more into the bright, transparent, women-led professional vibe.
So it would seem that today, cannabis is no longer an entirely male-dominated industry.
A new report from the women-led firm Vangst revealed some interesting statistics. Vangst found that 38.5 percent are females after surveying 166 cannabis companies across 17 states of the US.
The survey also showed that 17.6 percent of women were in the management or executive role. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and is projected to continue it’s growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.
The proportion of women in the workforce is considerably higher compared to other industries like construction, where female participation is 9.9% or tech industries, where women only make up around 20% of professionals. In the same tone, women only make up around 26% of the workforce in agriculture, F&B, and tobacco industries for example.
Women Are Gaining Appreciation In The Cannabis Industry
Wurk is a cannabis workforce management software company, in which the executive team comprises 56 % female and 68% of the entire workforce.
Kristy Nordmann, the company’s VP of People, has stated that the company has designed talent acquisition and retention initiatives to focus on how each person actively contributes and champions its values.
She further stated that women possess traits that help to create a unified culture, like emotional intelligence, empathy, intuition, and strong interpersonal communication, and the company is proud to have them on board.
48% of Green Thumb Industries workforce is female. Joey Muehlestein, Director of Talent Acquisition of the organization regards the diversity of thought as something important.
Moreover, females play a major role in our marketing strategy, research and development, operational excellence, and compliance department.
At present, 43.4 of the 166 companies covered in the study have women employees in the majority, and seven have an all-female workforce. The report indicates that there is ample scope for growth in the cannabis industry and have a successful future.
Here, we share some inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry.
3 Successful Women Entrepreneurs in the Cannabis Industry
Genifer Murray has a degree in microbiology, but she worked in the sales domain across industries like telecom, fitness, and real estate before joining the marijuana business. In 2009, she decided to visit her father in Arizona, where she gets into a conversation with a man at a bar. She started talking about microbiology and the topic shifted to the pot.
It was at this moment that she came up with the idea of owning her own business in the cannabis industry. The following year she co-founded CannLabs, which tests cannabis flowers, hash oil, vape pens, ad THC- infused edibles ensuring the state law policies.
Murray says it took her a while to consider going and owning the firm. She wants to make an impact instead of just going and blend into it. She needed help getting started taking that initial risk. She further added, taking a risk is an issue for many women. “It’s about changing the way women think. She always thinks of working for someone until she needs to work for herself.”
As marijuana was illegal since 1937, the product standards have contemporary been nonexistent. CannLabs provides the platform to many companies ensuring their products are safe to consume. 54 percent of all cannabis companies in Colorado started using CannLabs products. As a result, the company runs up to 400 tests in a day.
Collecting information from hundreds of growers in the five years, CannLabs launched StrainData, build a site where consumers can learn about the effects of various strains and which dispensaries sell the most. The data helps consumers to consume marijuana safely and as well as growers to make sure about the quality of the product.
CannLabs is currently located in Denver and has a branch in Connecticut. The third lab is built in Nevada with the biggest facility to date. Murray says the legal weed industry started recently and open a great opportunity for female leaders to excel.
Also, no matter which industry you belong to, apply your skills to this industry because every individual can grab land in this industry.
Mary Pryor learned about the medicinal properties of cannabis after several visits to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. In 2015, she flew to Denver, Colorado, to acquire strains to alleviate her condition. With the help of cannabis, she has been able to live an active and healthy life.
“Without cannabis, I wouldn’t be where I am,” she says.
It inspired her to move to California, and co-found Cannaclusive, an agency for the cannabis industry through marketing, visuals, consultancy, advocacy, and wellness. She has projected the normalized photos of people who consume cannabis.
She added, they are tired of going into the event and make them believe why they are there and how they find it. It is like industry become white with male-dominated with no consideration for the people who have suffered by it and see aggressions.
As a part of Cannaclusive and the cannabis marketing consultancy, AlmostConsulting, she headed for the creation of InclusiveBase. It’s an online database for consumers looking to support minority and owned cannabis businesses.
After creating the list of over 550 cannabis-related businesses of under-rated communities, she offered consumers a tangible way to contribute toward racial equity in the marijuana industry.
Apart from her business, she has taken cannabis advocacy work to Washington, D.C., to reform the public policies. She has been involved in the campaign for the Equity First Initiative, which harnesses the political power of cannabis organizer’s work at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice. She is also the chief marketing officer of Tonic, a woman-owned vertically integrated hemp company in the Northeastern United States.
In Denver, all the dispensaries are being shut by 7:00 PM. So, if you didn’t make it beforehand, you will be taking resins for the rest of the evening. Edgewater is a town near Denver, where Brooke Gehring’s Live Green Cannabis is open till midnight. She is a founding member of Women Grow and co-owns four dispensaries and two growing places in the metro area of Denver.
In 2009, three partners, Gehring, Szymanski, and Michael Farley, who operates as FGS Inc., bought patient’s choice into the medical marijuana dispensary business. After three years, they open a new facility with Live Green Cannabis in Edgewater.
Today, the business brings $10 million in a year. Gehring is the CEO of FGS and also a board member of Vireo Health holds the license of medical marijuana in Minnesota.
Before entering the cannabis business, Gehring has spent ten years of her career as a former commercial banker for Bank of the West in Colorado, managing large lines of credit and auditing accounts.
In 2009, when the real estate market crashed, she was in charge of liquidating the properties of people who failed their mortgage. While managing the hustle of real estate, she found to set up the entrepreneur setting up the cannabis companies. It led her to a whole new experience and a new career in her life.
She started spending her evenings taking investors and entrepreneurs to the portfolio’s property to show the old chicken farm and meatpacking warehouse. One of them said, “We will grow marijuana here.”
As she has financial compliance and commercial banking background, she realized that she could help people navigating the regulatory framework of the nascent medical marijuana industry just like the other industry. It’s the same thing for her to help people with paperwork, diligence, and details.
After researching a lot about the cannabis industry, she quit her job and opens her own business to direct the people through regulatory rules and policies of Colorado’s medical marijuana industry. In 2010, she had become a group member of making rules for the state’s marijuana industry.
After working for 10 months of consulting and rule formulation work, Gehring found an opportunity to purchase the Patients Choice medical dispensary.
The three partners formed FGS, and today Gehring is in charge of 16 state and 16 local licenses for medical, recreational, cultivation, and sales. With two spaces and 10,000 plants, her company can produce 300 pounds of pot in a month.
They can manage to supply in every place of Patients Choice in Colorado and Live Green Cannabis got a 100 percent quality assurance product. She becomes a major player in just a few years.
Brooke says a move like that wouldn’t be possible in any other field. 10 years of climbing the corporate ladder for a woman is much more accelerated in cannabis. Women entrepreneurs are coming with their ideas and skills to make their presence felt in the cannabis market.
A Bright Women-led Green Future
While women still have a ways to go before becoming a fully equal stakeholder in the green new economy in terms of percentages early indications point towards a bright future.
If the legal cannabis market can start with a gender ratio that is more balanced than many other larger, established traditional sectors, then moving towards an world leader exhibiting just what women can do seems all the more likely.
Adversity will remain, and wall will still need to be torn down, but we’ve made some good progress as an industry and it is up to every single one of us to ensure a bright, equal, fair, friendly future for all cannabis professionals of all races, genders and orientations.