Cannabis, now legal in some form or another in more than half the country, is one of the fastest growing industries today. Valued at approximately $7 billion market, the cannabis industry is providing new opportunities, with few barriers for entry, to enterprising women.  Unlike other industries, the legal cannabis industry has always been inclusive and welcomes anyone with a passion for cannabis. In honor of International Women’s Day, we take a moment to illustrate how women are shaping the cannabis industry.

Advantages women have in the cannabis industry

  1. Scope for more leadership roles: According to Marijuana Business Daily, women make up more than a third (36 percent) of executives in the legal-marijuana industry, compared to less than a quarter (21 percent) of senior managers in other industries. A closer look shows that women actually dominate leadership positions at cannabis testing labs with 63 percent of the roles. This is huge, considering that most other growing industries, such as tech, are largely dominated by males.
  2. It offers a variety of opportunities: Whether a woman wants to start her first business or has already seen success as an entrepreneur, she can find an avenue in the cannabis industry. Cannabis hasn’t been legal until recent years, leaving a lot of medical research and opportunity to be had. It is because of this prohibition that there are many pathways into the marijuana industry. There are many career paths within the cannabis industry including but not limited to: lab testing, product processing, business consulting, growing and farming, advocating for medicinal use, providing legal counsel, therapy & treatment, and more.
  3. It isn’t an all-boys club: The marijuana industry is still in its beginning stages, giving an equal opportunity for both men and women to shape the regulations and help write the rules. Some women in the industry believe their experience in male-dominated industries has helped them manage wading through the rules and regulations of the cannabis industry more efficiently than men. Others believe that women value health and wellness a little more, and therefore are more willing to research and advocate the medicinal use of cannabis. According to Christian Science Monitor, the industry’s appeal to liberally-minded individuals who are less likely to follow gender-based traditions is playing a big part in giving women better opportunities. Whatever the reason, women are here for it and love it!

As the cannabis industry continues to expand at breakneck speed, more women will continue to step into leadership roles that will inspire. Here are just a few of the women and groups that are on the cusp of revolutionizing the cannabis industry.

Women and women’s groups in the industry

  • Jane West: The entrepreneur and former corporate event planner has now founded her own cannabis brand and has started a company called Edible Events for cannabis parties. Jane West is also the founder of Women Grow.
  • Women Grow: Founded by Jane West and Jazmin Hupp, Women Grow is a group that helps to connect women in the cannabis industry. Women Grow offers resources such as allowing women to network professionally and educating them on the various aspects of the cannabis industry; the group guides and encourages women to flourish in this field. The aim of Women Grow is to make the cannabis industry the first billion-dollar industry with women at the helm.
  • Emily Paxhia: Emily Paxhia is the managing director of Poseidon Asset Management. The hedge fund invests in cannabis-related business ventures.
  • Johanna Mortz: Using only organic and regenerative practices, Johanna Mortz cultivates only forty marijuana plants. A pioneer of ethical farming methods, Mortz makes sure that the best care goes into the cultivation and only natural fertilizer is used.
  • Pamela Hadfield: The software designer has developed an app called Hello MD that allows people to connect with a doctor for advice on medical marijuana. Qualified doctors can view symptoms and recommend specific cannabis products to the patients.
  • Mara Gordon: The founder of Aunt Zelda’s and Zelda Therapeutics is a researcher in the field of medical marijuana. Gordon has helped to develop medicines containing marijuana with the right instructions and dosages information.

The cannabis industry is promising to be a lucrative area of expertise for women looking to make it big in business. Legal cannabis continues to grow leaps and bounds, estimated to be an almost $25 billion industry by 2020, only time will tell the role women will play in the new green rush.