The popularity of cannabis — both marijuana- and hemp-derived varieties — continues to grow year-over-year. Plus, it's enjoying evermore legality in states across the country. This is opening up opportunities for women in the cannabis industry. There are many women-owned cannabis businesses and companies. And, women are changing the cannabis industry.
It's likely that women have been shaping the cannabis industry before there even was an industry. After all, marijuana and hemp have been cultivated and used medicinally and recreationally for thousands of years. With women often playing key roles in areas such as agriculture, textiles, food procurement, and healing — you know they were making many of the big decisions that have impacted cannabis's life story.
The legacy of women in the modern-day cannabis industry remains a long, diverse, and ongoing one. In fact, the cannabis sector is home to some of the most prominent female entrepreneurs, researchers, and advocates in the world.
There’s a paucity of data collected on the diversity of the cannabis industry. However, available info indicates that the number of women in the upper echelons of cannabis power has dropped in the last few years.(1)
Clearly, the cannabis industry — which had been ahead of the mainstream curve in women leadership — is experiencing a demographics shift. The suspected reason for this? Various market forces/realities that favor men and executives from other industries (which are more male dominated at the executive level) entering the cannabis sector.(5)
This isn’t intended to be a sexist question — everyone brings something wonderful and special to the table! Rather, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a couple of specific ways that the ladyfolk might attract abundance to the cannabis world. After all, women have unique existences and perspectives that can change the cannabis industry.
Many women in the cannabis industry are acutely aware of the disparities for consumers and entrepreneurs. Because of this, diversity, equity, and inclusion are often central to their motivations and businesses. Everyone wins when the enterprises and organizations serving a particular market are more equally representative of the constituent stakeholders.
Considering that women use cannabis more than men, it may be good that there are products especially designed with gals in mind.(6) And who better to create these cannagoods than other women?
In lock step with other wellness trends, you can expect to see women-focused cannabis products like:
There’s no scientific evidence that women are kinder, more compassionate, etc. than men.(7) Experts believe that apparent variances in the amount of empathy or caring are probably rooted in cultural differences. Researchers also suggest that men and women may show their concern for others in different ways.(8)
However, in our western society, it’s often perceived that women express their feelings more or in ways that can be easier for others to identify. Plus, studies do indicate that women tend to have a more interactive and collaborative management style.(9) As such, having women guiding cannabis companies may inject a greater sense of empathy and partnership. This is appealing to both cannabis consumers and cannabis business employees.
The list is too long to go into great detail, but here’s a small roundup of green goddesses who’re making names for themselves — and paving the way for others to follow. (And you can find a boatload more with a bit of online searching!)(10)
These women are pulling rank in both the B2C and B2B arenas.
This awesome bunch of women is involved in advocacy, outreach, and engagement.
So many women are defining the behind-the-scenes of the cannabis industry, too.
Despite the dip in women in charge in the last few years, there’s reason to believe that female leadership will have a resurgence. Here’s why:
The cannabis industry is growing rapidly. As an industry that’s regarded as more “female friendly” than others, there’s so much room and potential for women leaders.
And, women are leading the charge. They’re creating successful businesses, products, and services and contributing to the national discourse on cannabis in so many ways.
It’ll be exciting to see just how the world of cannabis evolves because of the plethora of smart and savvy women who’re leaving their special imprint on the industry!
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