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Cannabis use, sales and legalization has grown exponentially in the past several years in the United States alone, which has made it possible for more people than ever to experience the wonders our favorite plant can bring. As this cannabis use has expanded, the number of business opportunities has also absolutely exploded, allowing people of all backgrounds, nationalities and experience levels to start their own cannabis-centered projects and businesses. 

Of course, the cannabis community is as diverse and open to new cultures as ever, but the business side of the industry doesn’t quite reflect that in every single way. This is why there are organizations still fighting for fair and equitable treatment for everybody in their cannaventures, regardless of their race, nationality or gender.

The Women & Minorities in the Marijuana Industry Report

Within the cannabis industry, women actually held 37% of high-level executive roles back in 2017. That number has dropped significantly in the last five years. As of 2022, women now only hold 22% of the top positions in the cannabis industry, while only 8% of cannabis CEOs are women. Surprisingly, that is still a higher percentage of female CEOs (on average) than most other industries

In addition to this, the National Cannabis Industry Association found that companies with women in leadership roles tend to be more profitable and have far higher revenue production than those without women in leadership roles. So what changed?

It’s hard to say for sure what might have caused a drop in women in leadership roles within the cannabis industry, though some surveys and reports allude to some of the following factors:

  • Continued stigma and shame about cannabis use
  • Lack of benefits for employees in the cannabis industry
  • Low pay
  • Difficult entry into the industry in certain areas

These are just a few of the many potential reasons why the number of women in leadership roles within the cannabis industry has dropped, but there are several other factors that may contribute. There is hope for the cannabis industry getting back on the right track by employing women in leadership roles, however. 

How to Bring More Women into the Cannabis Industry

A good thing about the cannabis industry is that it is still considered, by many, to be in its infancy. Despite their exponential growth, recreational dispensaries only began to open up in the US ten years ago in 2012, though many states have had medicinal cannabis available for much longer. This means that there is still plenty of room for women to enter the cannabis industry and cement their places as early industry trailblazers. Some practical ways cannabis businesses can help to bring more women into the industry include:

Analyzing the History of Hiring and Promotions

Cannabis companies can regularly record and analyze their history of hiring and promotions to see whether or not they have a large disparity in gender when it comes to a balance of the genders leadership roles. Once they analyze these statistics and validate that it’s a problem within their company, they can now make more informed, and intentional, decisions in the hiring and promotion process. 

Look for Women Leaders in Non-Traditional Positions

Although numerous women currently work in the cannabis industry, several are given what are often referred to as “fill roles”, which include chief risk officer, head of HR, and other positions of the like. While these positions are important, they often don’t provide the same upward mobility to rise in the ranks and become a higher-ranking professional. 

When a cannabis company needs to hire a new CEO, or other similar position among their board of directors or officers, they should obviously seek out women that are seeking employment and experienced in the industry, but might not have had a position among those that get fast tracked to being CEO. 

Continue to Improve Working Conditions

Working in the cannabis industry can be fun and exciting, but it’s not immune to being demanding and taxing at times. Of course, women are not afraid of getting their hands dirty and putting in the hours when necessary, but poor working conditions can allude to long hours without breaks, poor pay, a company culture that tolerates discriminatory behavior, and more. 

It has always been demoralizing  for anyone to work in a place that allows inappropriate behavior, but there has been no better time to create a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment, racist remarks, and things of that nature. Garden Society has actually implemented a Buddy System, which gives employees a designated colleague to report inappropriate behavior. Small but effective shifts like these can make the cannabis industry as a whole a more welcoming environment to employ and empower all people, regardless of their background.

We all know that breaking what is commonly referred to as the “Grass Ceiling” in the cannabis industry won’t happen overnight, but there are easy steps that we can take in helping the cannabis industry includer more women and empower them to (no pun intended) grow and continue making great strides in all aspects of cannabis growth, production, and sales. 

Notable Women in the Cannabis Industry

There are still tons of incredible women in the cannabis industry in spite of this, many of whom have paved the way for more women to join the industry and make it what it is today. There are several women within the cannabis industry that you should know, such as:

Mary Pryor of Cannaclusive

Mary Pryor has used her powerful voice to become a trailblazer in the cannabis industry, while having extensive experience in the marketing world. She has worked with major brands like Uptown Magazine, The Rolling Stones, CBS News, and Ebony Magazine to name a few. She helped found Cannaclusive, a movement focused on making the cannabis industry more inclusive of people from all backgrounds. 

Nidhi Lucky Handa of LEUNE

Nidhi Lucky Handa founded LEUNE back in 2019 after noticing the abundance of male-centered brands within the cannabis industry. LEUNE prides itself on being a socially-conscious cannabis company that has built a community around the brand. It turns out that many people, both male and female,  were looking for the same things Nidhi Lucky Handa noticed the cannabis industry was missing, and LEUNE has scratched the itch of those looking for a more lifestyle-centric cannabis brand. 

When talking to Leaf Magazine, the LEUNE founder gave the following advice to those interested in starting a cannabis company but don’t feel like there is enough room, “Try just showing up to the party! If you can’t afford to buy a bottle of wine, show up with napkins.”

Summer Frein of Lord Jones and Happy Dance

When Summer Frein joined Lord Jones in 2019, she came into a workforce made up of primarily women, which was a notable trait in the industry at the time. She also founded Happy Dance, a CBD beauty company, with actress Kristen Bell. The pair wanted to create a CBD line that resonated with busy moms everywhere, and that was obviously created by women. Frein has wanted to bring CBD to a wider audience since her dive into the cannabis industry, and the move into Happy Dance has made tremendous strides in that goal. 

Some of Our Favorite Women-Owned Cannabis Brands

At our Santa Ana dispensary, we carry numerous products from women-owned cannabis brands. This allows you to shop more consciously and purchase items from women-owned brands if you so choose. Some of our favorite women-owned cannabis brands include:

Miss Grass

No cannabis list featuring women-owned cannabis brands would be complete without a mention of Miss Grass. The iconic brand was founded by Kate Duckworth and Anna Miller after an impressive funding campaign launched in 2019. The company’s mission has always been to increase the acceptance of cannabis use and provide sustainably grown cannabis products to its customers. 

Products we love:

Kiva Confections

Kristi Knoblich Palmer and her husband Scott Palmer started the endeavor to create better cannabis edible options in a young, untapped market several years ago. From the beginning, Kiva sought to create edibles with most consistent doses and better flavors than ever before. Since its doors opened, Kiva Confections has expanded to become a 200+ employee operation, and Kiva Confection’s products are available in numerous dispensaries across the country. 

Products we love:

Kikoko

Kikoko was founded by Amanda Jones and Jennifer Chapin in 2015 after losing a friend to terminal cancer. Both founders have numerous experiences that have equipped them well to become cannabis entrepreneurs, and they offer a wide variety of cannabis products to suit anyone’s cannabis wants and needs. 

Products we love:

Doc Green’s

Co-founded by Ramona Moonflower Rubin, Doc Green’s got its start in 2009 in Berkeley, California. This cannabis brand started with topical products, and has since expanded into other avenues, like pre-rolls and live rosin. Doc Green’s is unique in that they avoid using solvents to extract the most desired components, which helps to preserve flavors and properties natural to the pant. 

Products we love:

Garden Society

If you’re in the market for pre-rolls, it’s hard to find a better one than those from Garden Society. Founded by Erin Gore and Karli Warner, Garden Society has sought to make cannabis more accessible for women, to reduce the stigma around cannabis use, and to bring more women into the cannabis industry. Garden Society was founded with the intention of helping cannaseurs everywhere  find more relaxation and balance in their busy, daily lives. 

Products we love:

Although this is far from a complete list regarding the best women-owned cannabis businesses, we highly recommend trying as many products from the above brands as you can. All are highly regarded for their consistency, presentation, and effectiveness, and we are certain you won’t be disappointed in anything they have to offer. 

Visit Planet 13 for All of Your Cannabis Needs

No matter what type of cannabis experience you’re looking for, our expert budtenders are there to help you find the exact treat you’re looking for. Here at Planet 13, we pride ourselves on providing excellent service and resources to our guests, which helps them make more informed purchases in our dispensary. Planet 13 in Las Vegas is the best and largest dispensary in the world, as we are constantly expanding our menus to better accommodate the needs of our customers. 
We have several ways to shop, including in-store shopping between 9:00am and 9:45pm, and we have curbside pickup and delivery available anytime between 9:00am and 9:00pm! Whether you’re completely new to cannabis, or have been enjoying it for years, Planet 13 has everything you need and more!

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