The stigma surrounding marijuana is rapidly disappearing. Medical and recreational use is increasing dramatically. Today an entirely new sector is breaking “grass” ceilings as never before.
The economic potential for marijuana is huge and women are running the show.
Marijuana plants can be either male or female. Only female plants can yield the “bud” that both black and legal markets seek. It is poetic, then, that women are dominating the legalized cannabis industry.
A Green Frontier
You might not associate the divine feminine with something as “unsavory” as smoking weed. But as the old Reefer Madness era comes to an end, it has become apparent to most of society that everyone knows someone who smokes weed and – spoiler alert! – they are not all lazy and living on their parents' couch.
As the medicinal properties of the plant continue to become more known, it is also becoming commonplace to meet normal, successful people who partake of the plant because it calms their anxiety, helps them sleep, or even prevents seizures. As this has helped normalize cannabis use, it is also paving the way for a new green economy whose possibilities are almost without limits.
Dispensaries, grow houses, and supply stores are just a few of the businesses that have been and will continue to be developed as legalization spreads throughout the country, but this doesn’t even include the possibility of hemp and all the products derived therein, not to mention the various medical uses that can exist separate from the recreation world. The economic potential for marijuana is huge and women are running the show.
Legalized cannabis is the first industry where female executives are actually in the majority.
According to research done by Marijuana Business Daily, 36 percent of the industry’s executive positions are held by women. On its face value this may not appear to be a giant leap forward for womankind, but when compared to other fields it becomes obvious that there is something truly unique about women in the marijuana industry.
In the traditional medical industry, for example, women only hold 14.6 percent of the executive positions, almost half of those in the legal cannabis market. But the numbers only get better from here. When it comes to the testing and lab work fields of the green market, women hold 63 percent of the executive positions. Unlike other market sectors that were around long before females were even permitted to hold such high-level positions, legalized cannabis is the first industry in the country where female executives are actually in the majority.
Women have been trying to overcome professional hurdles since they first entered the business world. However, since societal norms were not always so accepting of females having a life outside of the home, women were late to the game, so to speak. Of course, this made breaking into the professional world incredibly difficult as all the high-level positions were held by men who had already established their careers.
However, the legal cannabis industry is a Tabula Rasa. The entire sector is a frontier of possibilities without any pre-existing prejudices. For women especially, this opportunity is a game changer and one that, as Newsweek hypothesizes, could make the legal cannabis industry the “first billion-dollar industry not dominated by men.”
While stricter regulations are sure to come in the next several years, in the early days of weed legalization, much of the potrepreneur world is learning along the way. But without a pre-established set of rules dictating who can and cannot enter the market, it is really a matter of trial and error, and for some reason, women are also more willing to take risks in this field than men.
Without the barriers to entry that exist in other formerly established industries, women have been able to get in on the ground floor and are starting businesses that are truly unique to the female perspective.
Women aren’t waiting on governments to make their marijuana-based businesses a reality.
The New Tupperware Parties
Jordan Person, a former nurse and self-described “grandmother of cannabis massage” is the founder of Primal Therapeutics, a cannabis-infused massage therapy business. In Colorado, where Person’s lives, the recreational sale of weed is completely legal. However, public consumption is not. This has led Person, and other women, to utilize what has come to be known as the “Mary Kay” model of business, a thought that never occurred to many male potrepreneurs.
Since Colorado residents can only smoke marijuana on private premises, Person’s entire business is still technically illegal, unless she is giving her reefer rub-downs in private residences. And while this constant movement is not as ideal as having a permanent location, Person does at least save on overhead by making house calls to her clients.
Similarly, Kendal Norris launched the company Mason Jar Events, which specializes in upscale pot-themed parties. Like Person, Kendal’s business also relies on making house calls. These are solutions to problems that women have been coming up with on their own. They have taken a model that originated in a time when women were just beginning to venture outside their own homes by hosting “parties” in the homes of other women. Whether it was Tupperware or makeup, women found a way to create businesses which, at the time, allowed them some freedom from the societal norms that kept them out of bigger sectors.
While these companies were often viewed as “cute” attempts at business female ventures by men, as it turns out, the model itself is now being used in modern times to advance the weed industry in ways many males never even fathomed.
Women aren’t waiting on governments to make their marijuana-based businesses a reality. Instead, they are forging out on their own and taking the risks needed to really pave the way for the cannabis industry to gain relevance in the future.
On the 83rd anniversary of the end of prohibition, the nonprofit organization Women Grow hosted an event that attracted droves of women from a variety of backgrounds and age groups. Featuring panels ranging from topics on marijuana-centered philanthropy to the cultivation of cannabis plants, women come from all over to learn how they can impact this new burgeoning sector.
The significance of this event should not be lost on anyone. For the first time ever, women are being given the opportunity to take the lead in an industry that they have proven themselves well-suited for. And while many politicos await the day a female enters the White House, I for one cannot wait to see women dominating the grow house.