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WOMEN IN CANNABIS

For a year or so now, several news publications, from the New York Times, Inc. Magazine and Forbes, to the High Times and Cannabis Culture, have been publishing articles on the involvement of women in the cannabis industries. The role of women in cannabis seems surprising because media representations of cannabis users and business-people usually depict males. However, according to the Cannabis Consumer Coalition, women constitute about fifty percent of cannabis users in the United States.



In fact, High Times finds that women and cannabis are a natural match due to, among many other reasons, that women are more likely to express suffering from anxiety and stress, and cannabis is an effective and natural product for the reduction of the results of anxiety, from PTSD to insomnia. To buttress their argument, the publication cites findings by the Depression and Anxiety Association of America.


Nevertheless, my purpose today is to highlight the role of women in the Cannabis industry as leaders rather than as users. According to the scientific publication Chemical and Engineering News (April 2018):


“The percentage of women who held executive level positions in the cannabis industry was a staggering 36% in 2015, according to a reader survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily. Last year, however, that number fell to 27%, the publication reported. Even so, the number is still higher than the national average for all U.S. businesses, in which women hold just 23% of executive-level positions.”


In fact, women are involved enough in the industry that a recent convention was held in New Orleans titled “Women in Cannabis: Shaping an Emerging Industry”. The jobs for women in the industry range a wide spectrum, from scientific and technological, to marketing, lobbying, sales, the law, and many other. According to experts interviewed for the publication, there has been marked growth of women-owned industries, “particularly in the cannabis-testing lab sector.”


As is historically the case, however, as more women enter an industry, male investors show growing uninterest in investing in women-led businesses, regardless of the success rate, an event that women in the Cannabis industries have felt. This is one of the reasons why it is very important for women to forge alliances and join forces to support.


As an example of how to go about this, there is this organization called “Women Grow: Cultivating Cannabis Leaders” which serves as a coordinator or aggregator (or both) for several functions, including: sending invites to their local events and national conferences, providing information for getting into the Cannabis Industry, providing advice on starting or growing a Cannabis business and offering professional development resources. According to their website:


“Women Grow connects, educates, and empowers diverse leaders in all segments of the cannabis industry. … Founded in 2014, Women Grow is now the largest national network of cannabis professionals with Monthly Events for women & men in 35 cities across the US & Canada. Our popular Speakers Bureau ensures diversity at industry events and in media coverage. And no matter where you’re located, you can access our Video Education series.”


They also have a newsletter to which you can subscribe to keep abreast of related events in your area.


Despite some flagging numbers, women continue to flock to the Cannabis industry. The business publication Inc. Magazine published an article on the topic in 2017, reporting that growing numbers of high level women executives from corporate America are venturing into the Cannabis industry, because as a still-young arena it proves more flexible to the inroads of women—and to women of color, as well—than more traditional industries, such as banking and finance. The Cannabis industry is much more exciting and open to innovation, as well; in other words, less boring!


References:

- Women Grow: https://womengrow.com/

- Cannabis Consumer Coalition: https://www.cannabisconsumer.org/

- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/women/facts#

- Inc. Magazine: https://www.inc.com/magazine/201705/maria-aspan/ladies-of-legal-weed.html



About the Author:


Trudy Mercadal, Ph.D

New Orleans born with a Latina background, I am a writer, social historian & cultural studies researcher with a doctorate in Comparative Studies. My focus on community and popular culture. Main interests are the ways in which people express identity through arts—such as music, graffiti, and magazines—and their consuming practices, that is, the what (and how) they buy, ingest, eat, and wear. In my personal life, I am a dedicated urban mini-farmer and, also, a certified cheese maker who makes a truly kick-ass grilled cheese sandwich.

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