Shattering the Grass Ceiling: Women Helping Women Lead in Cannabis

By Amelia B.
Cannabis the first billion dollar industry in history not dominated by the patriarchy. Most growers only allow female plants to flourish, either by cloning “mother” plants or cutting them out of the crop early on.

Male Plants vs. Female Plants

While it is a myth that male marijuana plants do not produce ANY cannabinoids, the majority of cannabinoids are found in the buds or flowers of the plant, which males do not have. Thus, male plants produce only a minuscule fraction of cannabinoids compared to their female counterparts. Some of the 113 cannabinoids that come from the marijuana plant include :

  • CBD: Widely known for its many health benefits, including healing cells in the body and many neurological, issues, this cannabinoid is non-psychoactive
  • THC: The popular psychoactive component in marijuana that gets users “high,” can also be used for neuropathic pain relief, nausea, and treating PTSD
  • CBG: This is the chemical parent of THC and CBD, as both cannabinoids start out as CBG. Studies have shown it can produce brain cell growth, inhibit cancer cell growth, and slow bacterial growth.
  • CBN: As THC ages, it converts into CBC, which has no psychoactive effect, which how CBC earned its reputations as “The Aged Cannabinoid.” Its other moniker, “The Anti Cannabinoid,” came about due to its anti-depressant, anti-inflammation, and anti-fungal properties.
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Not only are the female plants the boss of the crop, but female humans are trending to be the boss of the industry in increasing numbers. As legalization continues to widen its territory, women are gravitating toward cannabis-related businesses in droves. Currently, females make up a sizeable portion of industry careers as cannabis specialists in:

  • law
  • the medical community
  • culinary Arts
  • chemistry and medical research
  • Education and studies
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Accounting

Meet the Women Dedicated to Helping Women in Cannabis

Because the cannabis industry is growing so rapidly from the ground up, it offers women a unique opportunity as entrepreneurs and leaders to get ahead and help other women into positions of leadership and power. And they are taking full advantage of it:

1. Kristina Garcia, CEO of Women Grow

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Women Grow is a for-profit entity founded in Denver in 2014, serving as a launch point for women to influence and lead in the cannabis industry as more states continue to legalize. To ensure the next generation of female cannabis industry leaders are successful, Women Grow offers programs, community support, and events to:

  • Connect existing businesses and ventures by providing networking opportunities where businesses and individuals can support one another
  • Inspire, through speaking engagements from current leaders in the industry
  • Educate, by holding local symposiums and speakers bureau events on best practices and the ever-changing legal landscape in which they operate
  • Empower up-and-coming female leaders to redefine workplaces where women can flourish and create their own destiny.

Kristina Garcia took over as CEO last year and says her mission in leading this company is to use her experiences in technology and retail industries and focus on supporting new leaders in their ventures to build strong, successful businesses and form strategic partnerships.

2. Amy Margolis, Founder of The Initiative

Attorney and founder of the Oregon Cannabis Association

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Specializing in Entrepreneurial Law, this Pacific Northwestern attorney has made quite the name for herself focusing on helping cannabis industry clients understand and comply with new cannabis laws since the legalization in Oregon and several other states. She is famous for being the best in the business with her quick wit and tight grasp on the letter of the law. And that’s just the beginning...

Morgolis’ recent launch of The Initiative and The Commune give back to the community while helping women in cannabis be successful.

The Initiative is a program founded and directed by Margolis herself, designed to launch and accelerate women’s entrepreneurial and executive careers in cannabis. Launched and opened to exclusively female applicants earlier this month, the program is supported by an impressively qualified and nearly all-female board of directors, as well as foundational sponsors Hotbox Farms, iAnthus Capital, and Miller Nash. This program is available at the site of Margolis’ other venture, The Commune.

The Commune is the first cannabis-related boardroom, event, and office working space in the state of Oregon. Boasting 4.000 square feet of modern industrial style rentable space, The Commune offers:

  • Business classes
  • Workshops
  • Bootcamps
  • Incubator Opportunities
  • Event Rentals
  • Room Rentals
  • Infused Dinners

 3. Annie MacEachern, the ‘Crusader of Cannabis'

Cannabis educator and advocate

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This motivated Women and Wellness guru brings her “Cannabis 101” Workshop to various locations across Canada to educate other women on the herb’s business opportunities. She is a longtime medical cannabis patient with a passion for female-driven business and collaboration. She also helps other female business owners market their products by offering giveaways at her events.

Still a Male-dominated Industry, but with Hope For Balance

Though women in marijuana have made great strides in cannabis leadership in the last decade to affect a gradual shift in the balance of power, the cannabis remains a male-dominated industry. The great thing is, as more states legalize, the opportunity to change the face of power becomes more and more possible.

Gia Moron, who represents Women Grow in her PR business, says when she made the leap into representing cannabis businesses, she saw many instances, even within women’s empowerment-focused ventures, where female leadership was lacking.

For instance, she noticed that most of the expert and industry-leading speakers for their women’s workshops and conferences were men. She was able to point out these idiosyncrasies and help change the status quo. Today, thankfully, there are more female industry experts out there to choose from.

Gia, who is increasingly hopeful for the future of women in cannabis, quips,  “Now you’re seeing more successful, leading women in this space that are not only making serious inroads, but they’re going well beyond the ceiling that’s been placed over our heads and saying, ‘We’re more than this, and we deserve to be at the table,’” 

Citations

1.E. P. M. de Meijer The inheritance of chemical phenotype in Cannabis sativa L. (II): Cannabigerol predominant plants. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10681-005-1164-8#page-2

2.Nebula Haze Male vs Female Cannabis Plants. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://www.growweedeasy.com/marijuana-boy-girl

3.Kristina Garcia Women Grow: ‘Together, We Have More Power’. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://www.freedomleaf.com/women-grow-kristina-garcia/

4. WOMEN GROW BOARD OF MANAGERS. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://womengrow.com/mission/

5.Warren Bobrow Why You Should Know The Initiative & The Commune Founder Amy Margolis. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenbobrow/2018/08/23/why-you-should-know-the-initiative-the-commune-founder-amy-margolis/#4bfa73cd7ae7

6.Haley Ryan How this ‘crusader of cannabis’ is helping women step up and shape a new industry. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://www.thestar.com/news/cannabis/2018/07/26/a-canadian-cannabis-educator-on-the-importance-of-getting-women-into-the-industry.html

7.BECKY BOHRER Women look to make mark on male-dominated marijuana industry. Retrieved September 26, 2018 from https://apnews.com/9b869665ae8d45a39dfc1a99ba6d600e

About the author: Amelia B.

Amelia B is a wife, a preschool teacher, and a mother of two young children. She enjoys camping, hiking, cooking, reading, traveling, listening to live local music, refurbishing furniture, and creating works of art.