Women in Cannabis Companies Are Turning a New Leaf
The growing marijuana industry is giving women a chance to turn green into gold.
Female ganjapreneurs are in the limelight, climbing up the high ranks of power in the cannabis industry. For these women, times have never been better; there are more opportunities than ever before to leave traditional jobs and succeed in green pastures.
According to the Pew Research Center, women make up 36% of executives in the marijuana business, much more than the average 22% for female executives in all other industries.
The multi-billion dollar industry is expected to surpass $6.7 billion in sales this year alone, and thankfully it’s been kind to female ganjapreneurs. Unlike other industries, there aren’t as many barriers and it isn’t as dominated by males, in part because it’s so new.
Grass Is Greener In California
Recreational or medical marijuana use is already legal in 23 states as well as the District of Columbia. Regulations slowly but surely continue to loosen up and sales keep growing. Out of these states, California is where competitive ganjapreneurs are successfully smoking the competition and growing at rapid rates. In the sunshine state, medical marijuana is already legal and come November they will vote on legalizing pot for recreational use.
California, home to the medical marijuana movement, is fertile ground for female leaders who are revolutionizing pot by establishing businesses and killing the stigma. Salwa Ibrahim, a longtime marijuana advocate, opened a dispensary in Oakland with a partner which they named Blum. It was 2012 and she experienced a steep learning curve but with hard work and persistence it all paid off. Blum now caters up to 1,000 patients per day and even expanded by adding a cultivation center. “I attracted the best possible talent and gave them incentives to stay and grow with the business,” she adds. More than half of Blum’s employees are women
A notable pioneer is Jane West, founder of Women Grow, whose tagline is “Cultivating Cannabis Entrepreneurs.” It is a national organization that aims to connect as well as empower women who operate legal cannabis businesses. Women Grow was founded in Colorado in 2014, where their first networking event had 70 attendees but in just two short years has already grown exponentially. Today they have offices in 44 cities.
The biggest chapter is Portland, but one thing connects all the women of Women Grow: despite having different backgrounds, they take pot seriously.
By the looks of it, they won’t be stopping anytime soon. According to West, “Women are coming up with terrific business ideas. Many of them are driven by their advocacy for legal marijuana.”
This may also be due to women being natural healers, according to Andrea Unsworth, proprietor of a marijuana delivery business in San Francisco. She adds, “We're the people who are typically in your home when you are sick; you know, you go to mom.”
What do you think about women rising to the top in the cannabis business?
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