cannabis-industry-women-entrepreneurs

29 Female Entrepreneurs and Professionals May Reshape The Marijuana Industry - 2018

January 15, 2018 4 Comments

By Ayad Maher

In general, women representation in executive positions has shown to be a hurdle in the U.S. in comparison to the "first world" countries, however, when it comes to the marijuana industry, things seem to be a bit different.

The percentage of women in executive positions is only 22% nationally, however in the marijuana industry, that number is vastly outpaced at 36% a joint report by the Pew Research Center and Marijuana Business Daily confirms. Furthermore, the report shows that those women executives are very diverse in terms of their roles, responsibilities and the sects they work in.

More interestingly, numbers are vary among the different sectors within the cannabis industry. For instance, same survey showed women are in leadership roles in almost 63% of marijuana potency testing labs, and in about 50% cannabis-infused foods makers and sellers.

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Though women constitute 50% of the US workforce in general, i.e. gender equality is still not where we want it to be in the weed industry, but the data does tell what's going on, and optimistically predicts what may happen, in the cannabis industry. 

RELATED: Why Women Are Choosing Careers In Cannabis Industry.

According to another and more recent poll by Marijuana Business Daily, however, there is a drop from 36% to 27% in the last two years of women in leadership roles in the Cannabis Industry.

The good news, women professionals still hold a good share of executive positions in the marijuana industry than all other U.S. industries as a whole. The bad news, this number may continue to drop primarily because women get a ratio of approximately 58 to 1 in investment money. According to , "The investment sector of the cannabis industry also is heavily dominated by men, as females hold just 10% of executive roles in this area." 

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Photo Credit

Now, let me introduce only few of the pot industry female cannapreneur leaders and professionals:

Giadha Aguirre De Carcer

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The industry is on an exponential growth pattern, with an estimated value of over $5 billion in 2015, compared with $1.8 billion in 2013. Giadha Aguirre De Carcer  is a serial Entrepreneur, experienced executive, and avid supporter of Female Entrepreneurship. Giadha founded New Frontier in August 2014 and holds the CEO position. She offers this insight, “The cannabis industry is so new that there are very few barriers to get in, especially for women.”

This is in contrast to many other fields which are predominantly male dominated, and are more difficult for women to rise to the top levels.

Interesting fact about Giadha, She was born in Italy, raised in France and Spain, and has traveled to, and worked in, over 25 countries. Ms. DeCarcer speaks five languages fluently and now resides in Washington D.C. - Damn impressive.

Adelia Carrillo

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"We as women has a strong connection with this plant which helps propel the voice of the medicinal aspects and the overall benefits this plant can bring to society."

Adelia is the founder and CEO of Direct Cannabis Network (DCN), a leading digital B2B news network highlighting the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry. DCN is on a mission to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that elevates the ideas, connects the communities, and raises the expectations of the cannabis industry.

DCN received an award as a "Cool Company for 2016" with San Diego Venture Group, DCN is being viewed in all 50 states and 154 countries and have highlighted over 100's of entrepreneurs and over 1,000's of products and brands through the creation of quality original content. 

"Being an entrepreneur of any startup is hard, but building a business in a industry that is just barely becoming an industry is 10x harder." Adelia says. "We have a lot of hoops to jump through and things to figure out. However, I have also seen a bigger opportunity for entrepreneurs in this space if they have the passion and are willing to give it time, patience and hard work." 

Cassandra Farrington

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Cassandra Farrington is the co-founder (with Anne Holland) and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily. The former VP at Citigroup considers herself a fugitive of corporate America saw a nascent industry that lacked reliable, unbiased news coverage, was underserved with regard to connections between the business individuals, and needed a repository for industry-wide business data. Cassandra has been recognized as one of Top Women in Media 2016 by Folio: Top Women in Media Awards for her entrepreneurship.

Marijuana Business Daily, founded in 2011, is the leading B2B publication and event producer in the cannabis industry. The publication company was named at The Inc 500 in 2016 and Inc. 5000 in 2017, at #528. Marijuana Business Conference & Expo (MJBizCon), the company’s trade show, has made top rankings as the Fastest Growing Trade Show in the U.S. by Trade Show Executive Magazine in 2015 and 2016.

“I’m lucky enough not to have a personal story in my background that compelled me to marijuana: no sick child or parent, no friend or sibling affected by a long prison term for a non-violent drug offense, no family members released from military service with PTSD.” Cassandra says. “Rather, I saw an opportunity to do what I know I can do well: to help people run their business better. I saw a nascent industry that lacked reliable, unbiased news coverage, was underserved with regard to connections between the business individuals, and needed a repository for industry-wide business data.”

Cassandra continues “While women have today become broadly accepted as competent equals in one-on-one situations, most industries retain that legacy male-dominated upper executive playing field. In the nascent marijuana industry, that male-dominated hierarchy was never established (and won’t be). As such, I see the marijuana industry as a harbinger of what’s to come in the broader economy as those playing fields are changed by retirements, job changes and other changes.”

More about Cassandra and MJBizDaily here.

Khadijah Adams

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Khadijah is an investor and former founder of MIPR Holdings, LLC. After selling the company, Ms. Adams along with two other partners founded The GreenStreet Academy (TGSA). TGSA is an online educational platform that teaches the basics and fundamentals of investing in marijuana stocks.  The platform launched in November 2017, and has received tremendous attention from people excited about learning the basics of investing in marijuana stocks.  Due to the demand, Ms. Adams has decided to bring on other industry influencers to help develop more advanced courses.  Disclaimer: Ms. Adams is not a financial advisor or broker.  The TGSA platform is for educational and information purposes only, and does not sell securities of any kind, nor does it give financial or legal advice.

"Having had the privilege of being at the beginning of new companies in the past, I understood the importance of 'timing and positioning" said Ms. Adams.  "I could only imagine what being in at the beginning of an entirely new industry would do and when Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational consumption, I knew it had changed the industry and would open up myriads of new opportunities. So I decided to sell everything in my possession except for my car, cell phone, clothes and computer and took the leap from Sugar Land, Texas to Aurora, Colorado to get positioned in the “Green Rush” of 2014!"

"Currently, I'm working on one of the largest projects of my career alongside TGSA; and planning to launch within the next few months.  I believe that 2018 is the “Year of the Woman” especially in the cannabis industry, and I’m super excited to be a part of the journey."

Media Inquiries: media@thegreenstreetacademy.com

Danielle Rosellison

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Trail Blazin' Productions is a licensed business venture started by local Whatcom County professionals looking to meet the demand for legal cannabis while maintaining a safe environment and following the letter of the law. The company cultivates, processes and packages pesticide free, award winning, sustainable grown legal weed.

Danielle and her husband started the company in 2013, along with a married couple who acted as investors. Danielle has also been elected president of The Cannabis Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to the advancement of a sustainable, ethical and vital cannabis industry, two years in a row.  

Trail Blazin' has earned so many acheivments, it have been on the cover of Marijuana Venture and featured in Dope Magazine. It was nominated Best Indoor Grow and named Activist of the Year by Dope Magazine and won Ambassador of the Year at the Whatcom Chamber of Commerce.

"I've noticed that while men tend to look at capitalism as dog eat dog, the women tend to have a more empathetic approach, trying to raise all ships." Danielle says. "Neither is wrong; you need a balance of both to be successful. Both both should be given equal weight and factored into the bigger business model."

Kate Quackenbush

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Kate is the founder and CEO of Fractal LLC, founded in 2015, a "plant touching" processor - take in trim and sugar leaf and sometimes flower products from some of the best farms in WA state, process that material into concentrates or food grade oil, and then package the resulting products for sale to 502 retailers.

Kate is a real entrepreneur, started Fractal with funds from selling her house, from there she's mostly worked with friends to build the business. The company focuses on delivering purely delightful infused products to the cannabis consumer. Currently they make sodas, sparkling waters, coffees and concentrates, AND full lineup of new products in the pipeline including Terpene Tonics and cannabis-infused sports performance drinks.

Fractal most notable achievements was winning The Dope Cup for Best Liquid Edible in 2017 for their Orange Cream 10 mg soda, followed by achieving reach to more than 100 stores in WA State.

"I'm excited about the opportunity in front of us to design a new industry that doesn't relegate women to supporting roles only as in so many other industries." Kate says. "I interact with dozens of women CEOs, store owners, buyers, and other executives and it's really refreshing that women are finding so many growth opportunities in this industry."

"There are definitely still some constraining attitudes out there and one of the real negatives of being a woman in this industry is that I often have to wait out people who try to play hardball with me or who try to work around me under the assumption that someone else in our organization actually makes the key decisions. It's mostly just time-consuming. On the positive side, I think women in leadership positions in cannabis gives everyone - men, women, and children - new types of role models to help shape their world view." 

Jane West

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Jane West is the CEO of the eponymous cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West. At Jane West, she develops sophisticated, user-friendly cannabis accessories and home goods including the Jane West Collection, the company’s debut line of proprietary accessories, brand collaborations with leading designers and manufacturers, and more. Jane West products invite women to experience the benefits of cannabis and take part in the legal lifestyle that West enjoys in Colorado, the world’s first legal, adult-use cannabis market. West is also the founder of Women Grow, the cannabis industry’s largest professional networking organization. Since the launch of her consumption-friendly cannabis events company Edible Events in 2014, she has emerged as a prominent figure in mainstream cannabis culture.

An experienced executive with a broad management background, West is committed to changing the perception of women in cannabis, both as consumers and as business leaders. West is a leading influencer in the cannabis industry, shifting mainstream perceptions by providing insider access to the modern legal lifestyle. She first became a marijuana media darling early in 2014 with her breakthrough “On a High Note” collaboration between the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and her other business, Edible Events Company, Colorado’s premiere cannabis event production company.

Before joining the cannabis industry, West was a working mother rising through the management ranks as a corporate event planner. After her employer spotted her vaping on CNBC, she was quickly fired. Immediately, West embraced the opportunity to dive headfirst into the cannabis industry as an outspoken advocate for cannabis legalization. In the two years since Colorado legalized cannabis, West has become a fixture of mainstream cannabis coverage on CNBC, NBC Nightly News, and in the New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, TIME, the Guardian, and many others. 

Cheri Sicard

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Cheri is a writer and educator specializing in cannabis in general, and cooking with cannabis specifically. She has started two very successful educational websites; Cannabis Cheri and Cannademy

Cheri focuses on the home consumer and giving them the power to make informed decisions about marijuana and the power to create their own edibles that meet each consumer's individual needs.  

She's also the author of 8 published books. The last 3 were on cannabis:

  • The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook, 2012 Z-Dog Media
  • Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, 2015, Seal press;
  • and The Easy Cannabis Cookbook (to be released January 2018, Callisto Media)

Cheri-Sicard-cannabis-marijuana-industry-women-entrepreneurs-professionals"I came late to the party." Cheri said describing her experience in the marijuana industry and how she got into it. "Other than a rare toke at a party, I did not use cannabis until my late 30s when my doctor recommended it for a medical condition. It cured that plus a few others I didn't even I was taking it for. But I had been raised on reefer madness and was scared I was harming myself. So I started researching it and found everything I had been told was a lie! That pissed me off. Big time."Furthermore, she's the creator of a 2 hour online comprehensive cannabis cooking course for home consumers, Cannademy, and a Free Online Dosing class that teaches consumers how to estimate how many mgs THC is in their homemade edibles.

Cheri continues "My earlier books were about patriotism, government, and citizenship, and the drug war has taken us about as far away from the "American Ideals" as possible. In 6 months I went from the typical closeted smoker to an outspoken activist, and I haven't looked back since."

AC Braddock

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Eden labs was founded in 1994. AC Braddock became involved in 2006 as a business consultant and was asked to step in as CEO in 2009 to take the company to the next level.  She immedialtey recognized that Cannabis was a catalyst for change socially, medically and economically.  “Cannabis was being legalized on a medical platform, but without a pure product and ensuring safety for the operator as well as the  patient the legalization effort would be drastically stalled. We offered soltuions that no regulator could argue with so the industry could prosper”.

Eden was the ONLY company providing supercritical CO2 extractions until 2012.  Eden's mission has been pivotal in legalization and normalization of cannabis as well as other healthy forms of providing safe human consumables.  Eden also pioneered reliable affordable equipment for start ups and can now scale these business's to grow to industrial scale up to 6000L’s.

Politically, AC is on the Board of Directors of The National Cannabis Industry Association, The Federal Policy Council, The Cannabis Alliance, as well as supporting Women's organizations. 

“Women have given the industry legitimacy and a platform for growth for several reasons.”  AC says. “First, women make the majority of buying and health decisions for their households. Second, the industries or jobs that women dominant in are building blocks for this industry. Third, women tend to work collectively.  So women support the industry as a whole, but also are team builders where they work. 

Jamie Cooper

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Jamie is a serial entrepreneur, started her first company, Canna Media Works, in early 2015. Canna Media Works was intended to be a full-service marketing company for the cannabis industry in Michigan, until she realized the industry doesn't exactly make marketing a priority. As the industry continues to grow, Jamie feels companies will eventually be forced to market themselves, like most industries.

Jamie decided to make herself a resource for licensing in Michigan. Started off with creating a Facebook group that became later one of the best resources out there for cannabis business professionals in Michigan. In an effort to reel things back in, Jamie developed Cannabiz Connection, a one-stop shop for business owners looking to start or grow their business in the cannabis industry, building a resourceful community that provides education and a place for business owners to connect and help each other build thriving businesses. Jamie also developed the Women Entrepreneurs in Cannabis Facebook group and is the Marketing Director for Kadin Academy, a startup boot camp for women cannabis entrepreneurs.

"I truly believe women are a huge driving force for changing minds, stigmas and building businesses." Jamie says. "Women have such an amazing ability to connect and help build others up and I truly think that's what's really needed in this industry."

On the other hand, Jamie continues; "women often have a harder time getting funding than men and there certainly aren't enough women supplying funding either. I really hope this changes."

You can contact Jamie via email at jamie@cannamediaworks.com.

Kathleen Sullivan

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President of Forever Green Indoors, Inc. Kathleen launched the company as Washington State approved recreational cannabis production. Forever Green Indoors focuses on provide horticultural equipment that is energy efficient. Primarily focused on LED lighting.

Kathleen founded the commercial lighting branch of the company in 2010 after a career in litigation, primarily construction law. Then founded the marijuana specific division in late 2013 to provide energy efficient alternatives to the emerging grow industry. Her role is to manage all operations related activities and employees, manage inventory, warehousing and the relationship with the company's manufacturing partners.

Forever Green Indoors works nearly 100% within the cannabis industry and its lighting was developed specifically for the cannabis plant.

"This industry has been a revelation for me in terms of how people treat each other." Kathleen says. "Coming from the legal field and the construction industry, this is the first time in my career that the men in the field don't seem to have any preconceived ideas about male-female roles. My previous world put me soundly in the #metoo category. But not here, not in cannabis."

Kathleen continues "I've found our clients to be incredibly respectful and open to working with a woman in an executive position as well. The marijuana industry seems to be more about "what do you know that can help me be successful?" rather than sexism about your job title."

Dr. Kimberly M. Lincoln

Dr. Kimberly the chemist who's responsible on GLAUX CHEM's R&D of all of the company's formulations and extraction methods. She learned about the over whelming benefits of cannabinoids in graduate school and decided to pursue starting her own beauty company and everlasting her desire to help others.

GLAUX CHEM's mission is to help those with skincare needs by developing natural products that are inspired by mother nature. Kimberly and her business partner, Ashley, founded GLAUX CHEM in April 2015. Their most notable achievements are launching the product for sale on the market, actual product sales, and the numerous positive reviews about our product from customers!

"The marijuana business is tricky to get involved in due to the illegal status of the Cannabis plant." Dr. Kimberly said. "We had issues opening a bank account even though our current product line is only hemp-based and not derived from cannabis oil. There is a lot of misconception about hemp oil versus cannabis oil; hemp oil is not concentrated with THC and other cannabis like cannabis oil and there is constant education needed to make this distinction clear."

Shawn DeNae

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“Shawn takes on the role of CEO of Washington Bud Company; performing a variety of duties including Sales to Payroll, Marketing and Brand/Packaging design, Advocacy to Industry Work-groups, and more. 

Washington Bud Company, is a family business employing only 8 people and has serviced the medical safe access points since Feb 2012. They are propelled by the vision of prospering as a multi-generational company while establishing a legacy in the future of the cannabis industry.

Right off the bat, Washington Bud Company was one of only 5 brands which has proven a key achievement in the recreational market as budtenders across greater Seattle recognize them as providing quality, clean grown cannabis. They even go through the WA State Dept of Health testing process to prove their flowers are poison free.

"The cannabis industry is new in this legal form," Shawn says; "I believe that women have the best shot of influencing an industry now than ever before and I believe the cannabis industry is among those that women are and will be able to continue to influence; as owners/managers or politicians."

Her advice for the legacy growers in the cannabis industry; "when trying to influence lawmakers and regulators DO NOT SMELL LIKE WEED!"

You can contact Shawn via email at shawn@wabudco.com.

Jessie Gill

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"My life was improved drastically by this medication, even when I was skeptical. My personal experience inspired me to take action."

Marijuana Mommy was born, as Gill describes it, "out of tragedy and anger." In 2012, after seriously injured as a hospice nurse, Gill was left disabled, suffering, and lost her career. She started blogging, and as a holistic nurse, her blog quickly turned to wellness. In 2015, Gill became a medical marijuana patient, her life changed immediately and caused her to shift her focus into cannabis. With a new life mission, she joined the American Cannabis Nurses Association, and in February of 2017, MarijuanaMommy.com was officially born. Marijuana Mommy educates about medical marijuana while challenging the stigma against cannabis.

Gill's story has appeared in many websites like GoodHousekeeping, Vice, Cosmopolitan, and MSN. She's been also featured on Viceland and she recently filmed a cooking segment with the team at Magical Butter.

When I asked Gill to speak a little bit about women role in the work place specifically in the marijuana industry, Gill said; "Women can succeed in ANY industry. Women DO succeed in ALL industries. However, I suppose cannabis does present a unique opportunity. Thanks to prohibition, men and women all start on the same bottom rung of the ladder. We still fight socially instilled patriarchal dominance, but it's not as rampant as it is in many other industries. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. I can't imagine anything else." 

Fiorella Alvarez

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Fiorella (Fio) has always been involved in the industry and being a science major, she found herself constantly passionate about the evolution of the plant and the industry. "I was given the opportunity to move to Colorado and took advantage that it was a legal industry and I haven't stopped since." Fio said.

She is the owner and CEO of Ocean Growth Distribution (OGD) taking over on several roles including Compliance Officer, Operations Manager and Business Marketing. 

Fio founded OGD in Oregon 2017 when she saw an opportunity to use the experiences and resources of farmers, processors, and producers, to create a more efficient delivery system for the products OGD distribute. OGD creates stability in the market and allows all groups to focus on what they do best, whole aiming to represent with best presentation, advocacy, educational and integrity in the industry. OG Distribution strives to set a precedent and lasting impression upon the industry as a whole (not only in the State of Oregon). Ethical and meaningful practices set the company apart; by providing easier access to various products and create trust and loyalty through reliable partnerships.

Fio spoke about the women role in the marijuana industry; "Primarily this industry was known as a man's industry." Fio said; "it didn't take too long to discover that Woman can build, cultivate and sell. Woman are often undermined, not taken serious or worse only valued for the way they "look" ascetically. On the contrary, woman often are the most meticulous and organized. Woman tend to be able to multi task and be able to delegate when needed." 

Cindy Lee Knutson

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Cindy is the co-manager of Tacoma House of Cannabis & Certified Medical Consultant. Tacoma House of Cannabis, founded in March 2017, is dedicated to serving customers with a wide array of Cannabis flowers, RSO, Concentrates, Edibles, Topical's, Vapes, Drinks and glassware for Recreational and Medicinal purposes.

Cindy started off there as a front desk customer service position by doing general office work, checking in patients, answering phone calls, filing and it eventually led to a back up bud tending position and that is where she started to learn a lot more about cannabis. "But the most satisfying outcome of the business was" she says; "helping cancer patients that came to us from all over the State for alternative medicine." 

"There are pros and cons to starting a business in this industry." Cindy continues. "There are Laws, Compliance and Regulations and heavy taxes that are the owners responsibility and this can cause a lot of stress and uncertainty about the stores future. The business is ran as a retail store but you have to constantly be aware of any changes in the regulation of Cannabis or it may result in some hefty fines personally and for the company or worse, you can be shut down. On the other hand its very exciting to watch the business grow monthly and to start some incredible relationships with your customers, Vendors, Sales Reps and employees. Its a very fast paced environment. We are constantly pushing forward and we work as a team and I believe that each one of us here at Tacoma House of Cannabis is in Love with their job and that is what makes this business flourish!"

Cindy is looking forward to have full legalization in the US and worldwide. "It would be a wonderful world to be full of this powerful medicinal plant available to everyone."

Pam Haley

Pam is an overachieving serial cannapreneur; she founded Trava Holdings LLC, Pam's Plant's LLC and Gardenextracts.com. She descries herself as "Exceptional autodidact educator of cannabis sustainable farming, extraction and aromatherapy.

"It's undeniable Pam has done a lot in her life for the cannabis industry, for now I will only touch on few milestones, but I'm working on a whole post to outline throughly her achievements for the industry.Pam's Plant's was founded in 2002 as a parking lot plant stand "to help me cope with the loss of my mother to cancer." Pam said.

In 2006, she saw an increase in no-knock home raids of medical cannabis patients that were destroying already fragile lives. That prompted a critical mass of court room observations of these cases that influenced the jury and judge decisions. This critical mass established the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC). "As a co-founder of the CDC a 501c3," Pam continues; "we organized the medical cannabis community to facilitate the change of policy that has journeyed through legislature for the past 10 years."

Since 2012, she has also been working as a consultant helping companies determine extraction equipment, help with the build-out of facilities to meet compliance, develop standard operating procedures, and assist in product development to meet current good manufacturing practices established by the FDA (known as the FSMA).

Pam talked further about her experience as a women in the marijuana industry; "In the beginning it was very positive. There were a few groups that formed and still exist that are exclusively women. This is a brand new industry with lots of good and bad ideas. It comes down to how deep of an understanding the person has of the business and handling their anxiety when realizing the complexities. Both men and women have given me a lot of stress but it has been the women that have committed crimes and hostility towards me, not the men. The men, however, have made more back room deals based on our commission that undermined the equality of the pay more than the women. When it comes to sharing ideas about product development Women hands down rule the day, there are few secrets, mostly the base line of conversation is "let's make it safe". Men seem to not care about the safety of the product.

You can contact Pam via email at pamsplants500@gmail.com.

Wanda James

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Wanda Jame not only a cannabis consumer for decades, but also a passionate individual for social justice; She’s a former Navy lieutenant and political campaign manager who was appointed to work on President Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee, impressive! James and her husband, Scott Durrah, a former Marine and certified chef, were the first licensed African Americans in Colorado, one of their most successful businesses she and her husband built together in the past couple of years is Simply Pure dispensary

Wanda James doesn’t like to think of herself as “the first.” -

"When somebody brought it to our attention at some point or another, it was completely shocking to me,” James told The Root. “I just don’t think any black person should be the first and only in this industry in 2016. You know what I mean?”

One of the main reasons drew her attention is the the issue of mass incarceration, especially when her brother was arrested in 1999 on a possession charge of 4.5 ounces of cannabis, and eventually he did more than 10 years in prison. Source: The Cannabist.

The High Times had a fascinating interview with Wanda in 2016, check it out here.

Zahra Kohl

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After starting several medical marijuana retail shops, and for the purpose of progressing in the marijuana industry, Zahra co-founded, with her husband Andrew, American Hash Makers (AHM) in 2015. Hash is a solvent free extract, the company most notable achievements was winning the 2016 Seattle Terpene CUP and one of the few 5* dabbable certified clean green products available in 502

In summer of 2017, Zahra also founded Advanced Medical Insight (AMI) with her Husband and her cousin, Angie Tyree RN. The first medical symposium in WA state to offer CMEs to healthcare professionals about practical cannabis use; as well as specific language doctors and physicians can use with patients without jeopardizing their license. Now Zahra takes the role of Team Leader, CFO, and Director of Marketing. 

"It is imperative for health care practitioners to have this knowledge as the reports show 50%+ of their patients use cannabis.' Zahra said. "Unfortunately the AMA gave a blanket directive last year that if an MD is found with THC in their system their license can be revoked. We are proud to offer a safe space where educating can be shared freely."

Zahra also gave her insight about women in the marijuana industry; "Thankfully I have never encountered any negative aspects as a woman in any of the interactions within the cannabis industry. From 2012 medical - today I have been treated with more respect, dignity, and honesty than in my non cannabis business relations."

"I feel so grateful to be part of the cannabis community. I'm never fearful to attend events or meetings alone. This is not the case for my non cannabis companies."

You can contact Ashley via email at zahra@advancedmedicalinsight.com. 

Deborah Howlett 

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A passionate industry leader about cannabis and what the plant has the potential to do for people, animals and the planet. Deborah is Director and the Senior person in Charge (SPIC) of Grey Bruce Farms. Deborah and her husband, Dan Main, came up with the idea over coffee at her kitchen table one morning in April of 2014 to start a company for the purpose of applying for a commercial cannabis grow license. The company was incorporated in Sept of 2014 in Ontario. Our goal as a company is to simply grow exceptional cannabis for Canadians at a decent price." Deborah says. 

"We are seeing a bit of a revolution with women leading a lot of cannabis companies in Canada and the US. I believe part of the reason we are seeing more women in cannabis is because this is really a new industry, there are no “old boys clubs” established. Women and Men are still navigating through new laws/ rules and regulations around cannabis and figuring out how they fit into the industry. An end to prohibition opens doors for so many people not just women but minorities, disabled and disadvantaged people in general. Women all over are seeing an opportunity to carve their piece out. Even though cannabis has been around a long time, and yes people have grown it, sold it used it for centuries."

You can reach out to Deborah through her company's website.

Jennifer Germano

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Jennifer is the CEO of ICS Consulting Service, a compliance support based company for licensed facilities in any legal state in the U.S. Jennifer’s goal is to take on compliance in a whole new way, and instead going the old route of putting fear into regulation, she’s working to normalize it and take away the fear through hands on training, auditing and being a public speaker.

ICS Consulting Service was founded in 2015 when Jennifer made the transition from being an employee in the marijuana industry for 6 years, slowly working her way up the ladder through management positions working in dispensaries, to an owner of an ancillary business. ICS’s most noticeable achievements come on a daily and weekly basis. Reaching a licensed owner and their employees to look at compliance in a whole new way, with passion, care, and taking ownership to be compliant is a constant re-commitment for all involved in the process. Jennifer says "there is nothing more rewarding then seeing owners or employees faces light up with ease and understanding."

When Jennifer started in the industry in 2009, she didn’t know a lot of women in the industry. "In fact, in the beginning it reminded me of my career in the food service industry, male dominant and women not being taken seriously." Jennifer says. "Back then, it was more about looking and dressing like a hooters girl and the only role available was being a receptionist or a bud-tender. I remember applying for jobs where they would ask for a full bathing suit shot before you even had a chance at an interview. Now, I believe women are naturally flourishing in this industry in a vast spectrum of productive roles. The marijuana industry is an opportunity for all women, to be themselves and love what they do. There is not a glass ceiling anymore that says, you can’t do that. I know a lot of women leaving their jobs as an employee or careers and crossing over and killing it."

Salwa Ibrahim

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Ms. Salwa Ibrahim a Senior VP at Terra Tech Corp (founded in 2010) focusing focused on developing and building the medical cannabis division for the company. She is also the Executive Director of and a Partner in Blum Oakland, CA. At Blum, she serves as chief strategist and spokesperson, governmental affairs liaison and oversees patient 

welfare.

Throughout her career, Salwa has been an active Cannabis advocate and a coalition builder within the community. She cares deeply about patients with medical marijuana needs and has been successful in meeting their needs at Blum in Oakland, where she has the privilege of serving and assisting approximately 800 patients a day. In addition, Ms. Ibrahim is very active within her community and has conducted fundraising for 35 political and charitable organizations. Source

Kimberly Stuck

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"It truly is an amazing phenomenon that is taking place in the cannabis industry when it comes to how many women business owners are out there."

Kimberly was the first Cannabis regulator in the nation for a public health authority, worked for Denver Environmental Health as their Marijuana Specialist for a couple of years before deciding to launch her own company.

Kimberly founded Allay Consulting, a cannabis compliance consulting firm, in July 2017.  Allay is known for saving companies millions of dollars in potential losses due to non-compliance, and hosting events such as happy hours for Alan Kennedy Shaffer for state senate. The Founder Has helped advise on regulations in Colorado and California, she's also on the advisory board for Redfield Proctor, a cannabis reclamation and composting company. Allay has clients throughout the US and we are always looking for new challenges and territories.

"It's a brand new industry where gendered roles haven't been established for hundreds of years. Kimberly says. "There are no jobs in this industry that are typical men or women roles. It's still a male dominated industry, but more and more women are presented with opportunities." 

Kimberly now is focused on helping companies become the best of the best when it comes to compliance.

Ashley Priest

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CannaLance is a small family founded, owned and operated by Ashley and her husband. The Company was originally founded in 2015 under the name Marijuana Writers then rebranded in August of 2016. CannaLance provides freelance writing and social media services to cannabis businesses, brands, and organizations around the world. As a co-owner of the company, Ashley is involved in almost every project and business decision involves her in one way or another.

Ashley and her husband started their business after suffering the loss of their 11 month old son Xander who was born with a rare genetic disorder known as Menkes Disease which has a life expectancy of 3-8 years. Menkes is incurable and causes a plethora of different ailments including severe seizures of different types. Xander suffered hundreds of seizures daily and this is ultimately what took his life at such a young age. After losing Xander Ashley and her husband discovered the benefits that children were seeing with cannabis treatments and with CBD particularly. Had they known, there is a possibility that they could have sought out cannabis treatment for Xander and increased his quality of life or possibly have even seen him reach his 1st birthday. They wanted to make sure the world knew the benefits that CBD and cannabis offer for seizures so that no other parent would have to ask themselves the question, what if?

"I think that women have a powerful place within the cannabis industry. I think that our passion, dedication, and caring natures are what will ultimately drive the prohibition of cannabis out of the picture." Ashley says. "After all, it was women that helped end alcohol prohibition in the United States."

You can contact Ashley via email at cannalance@gmail.com.

Angie Tyree

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Angie is the VP of operations and medical liaison for Advanced Medical Insight. Angie founded the company along with her cousin and cousin's husband, Zahra and Andrew. Angie has been a nurse for 12 years, started her career on the medical floor of a local hospital in eastern Washington. Then 8 years in Rheumatology where she was one of the first nurses certified in Rheumatology Nursing. She participated in the creation of our Scopes and Standards which led to certification for her specialty, and for the past 2 years, "I’ve had the pleasure of working with cancer patients." Angie said.

From a medical standpoint, she realized most of those in the medical community don't know much about cannabis and so many providers were still holding on to stereotypes. Angie continues: "It’s ironic, and almost embarrassing to say, but I used to have a HUGE prejudice about marijuana. I used to roll my eyes when Zahra and Andrew would call some of their clients “patients”. Then I met them, I listened to their stories and it completely turned me around. I was a witness to Zahra and Andrew’s dedication to quality and their passion for product. I felt it was time to legitimize the benefits, bring the and decided that it was time we push for better options for patients. So in the summer of 2017 we started planning our cannabis conference."

However, as medical professionals, they are held to a federal law against marijuana use or prescribing, "it automatically puts us in a disadvantage for educating our patients about all their options for treatment." Angie said. "I’ve seen so many instances in Oncology and when patients are receiving chemotherapy that I know cannabis can help their symptoms. 

"It’s my goal we will be able to reach out and educate more healthcare professionals so they in turn can educate their patients."

You can contact Angie via email at angie@advancedmedicalinsight.com.

Michelle Mangione

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Michelle Mangione is the founder and owner of HIGH HEALS INC (also check the company facebook's page here), a savvy and sophisticated cannabis business. Securely embedded in the brand are a wide range of cannabis disciplines. Michelle is also working with ASTM to create international standard, Dosey Dough, for dosing Standardization of THC and CBD  for Cannabis and Hemp (Patent Pending in USA and Canada). 

The beginnings of Michelle’s enterprise were more of personal journey as she had been suffering from an illness called Cushing’s disease. Some of the debilitating effects include weight gain, high blood pressure, migraines, joint and muscular pain, general fatigue and anxiety. Severe pain was a constant reminder of her illness and opiate based, symptom masking prescriptions were not the cure.

Many obstacles presented themselves including a diagnosis of terminal cancer, two separate pituitary surgeries to name a few but she was resolute to not just survive but also to flourish. Medications that covered up symptoms was not what she was interested in Michelle was seeking a cure. Though skeptical at first Michelle began using various products made from the extracted CBD compounds found in medicinal marijuana. She quickly discovered that the responsible use of cannabis was changing her life! 

An accomplished baker she naturally began making small batch edibles that offered a viable solution for chronic pain relief. Michelle’s compassionate spirit also guided her to infuse pet products with CBD for animals. Michelle’s heart’s desire is to own and help operate a sanctuary for wounded, abandoned and abused animals. In her mind’s eye this peaceful haven could be a place that brings harmony to both volunteers and animals alike.

Because the needs are so great Ms. Mangione’s desire to see that all end users have access to dosing properly drove her to set the groundwork to aid everyone everywhere to safely and consistently dose infused products using her Dosey Dough app which is patent pending.

Ms. Mangione’s sensed the deepest needs within the cannabis culture is uncanny selflessness. “If it is truly medicine we need a pipeline that permits transparency and accountability!’ Michelle’s greatest reach thus far is her pioneering a pathway to the most comprehensive, cloud-based tracking system. This patent pending system will create transparency regarding origins, quality and potency into the hands of every concerned patient’s hands.

You can contact Michelle via email at Michelle.Healskitchen@gmail.com.

Kris Morwood

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Kris Morwood is the co-author of Callie Cannabis and Hana Hemp.  Kris is grateful to be able to combine her passions - education and philanthropy, in the Callie and Friends book series.

Kris is a cannabis consumer, not a patient; "cannabis alleviates pain, induces relaxation, creativity and is a social activity that I enjoy." She said.

She has gotten into this industry in 2014 right after legalization in Colorado. As a consumer, Kris wanted to see if it was possible to have safe products and rules and regulations that actually made sense and moved the industry forward. "The rules are changing on a monthly basis." Kris said. "There is NO congruent set of Best Practices or Standards, nationwide or worldwide - therefore you must get yourself up to speed on every county, state and country you are working in."

One of the struggles Kris is facing in the marijuana industry, as a professional, is not "taken seriously." by the public in general - She continues "People who do not work in the marijuana industry still have a very negative stereotype of the industry and the plant. Education is lacking. Mis-information is everywhere." - as a women in the industry, however, she thinks if someone is professional, has good references and a great work ethic it does not matter the gender - however, "it is an emerging industry. Women tend to be problem solvers and come up with out of the box solutions for many pressing problems." Kris said.

Ms. Morwood is a consultant specializing in mentoring community relations and charitable donations, fostering best practices of corporate social-responsibility all while connecting the for-profit cannabis and hemp communities, through philanthropic networks.

Jena Perez

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What's unique about Perez, she got into the marijuana industry through candy, not cannabis, which was her pathway to the marijuana edibles industry. "I didn't have much relationship with cannabis," she says. "But I've always been passionate about high-quality sweets."

It's indeed an inspiring story, "My brothers and I started a toffee company years ago out of tragedy,” says Jena. “Both parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and in a desperate moment, we wanted to make some extra cash. We started selling my mom’s toffee recipe to a family friend and although [the company's] had ups and downs, it took off in a way that we never would have imagined.” Source

Her first storefront, Sweetbricks, small cafe style founded in 2010 and locted in downtown San Diego, where she served coffee, food and her family's toffee recipe, when Jetty Extracts, a major producers of high-end, solvent-free cannabis extracts, reached out to her with an idea for a collaboration. "They said, 'Hey, want to put our oil in your toffee, make edibles?' - " she recalls. A year later, her Mind Trick Toffees are in 200 dispensaries statewide. "Being at the forefront of something like this," she says, "as a woman, is unbelievable." Source: Rolling Stone.

Sweetbricks has branched out to create a medicated line of toffee known as Mind Tricks.

Check out Mind Tricks: Family Recipes with a Twist with Jena Perez.

Grace Noe

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Grace is a hard working, go-getter from Louisville, Kentucky; moved to Colorado in 2012 to have easier access to marijuana as it helps her with health issues, without the intent of working in the industry. However, she found herself working for leading companies in the cannabis industry for almost 5 years, and once she found her niche in the business, Grace co-founded her own company; CanCom Consulting

CanCom is a consulting firm that offers a wide variety of services, from inventory audits to SOP writing to helping companies in the industry to obtain licenses and adhere to compliance and regulations.

"The rules still aren't written in ink, we have more time to shape and mold this industry as it grows and changes." Grace says. "Alcohol is established, automotive is established, and there's already a pecking order, if you will, in those industries. The newness of marijuana means that we can change things for the better."  

"Passion for the principle of access to safe medicine." She continues, "as a cancer survivor I believe wholeheartedly in what we are all working towards and the medical freedom we deserve." 

You can contact Grace via email at gracenoe@cancomconsulting.com.

Teresa Chilelli-White

Teresa is the owner and founder of White Rabbit Cannabis, a marijuana retail shop with a medical endorsement, founded in 2013. She built the company from the ground up, including the building that sits on what use to be vacant land.

As a medically endorsed retail store, Teresa is connected to all aspects of the industry, she works with producer, processors and regulators as well as assuring not only professional, but also personal connections with her clientele. White Rabbit Cannabis is now employing 15 staff members.  

Before Teresa started White Rabbit Cannabis, she was a general contractor in the construction industry. During the rough construction times during 2007, a colleague of hers suggested then to start growing medical marijuana, and that's how it all started. "How often does an opportunity like this arise. To be a pioneer in a new industry that will change history!" Teresa says. 

The positives of the industry is that it is new," Teresa continues. "There are no preconceptions as to what gender should be in charge. There are a great deal of women in the industry and they are a driving force."

"Playing by the rules and being successful is a top priority in order to remove the stigma the marijuana industry carries with it. I am excited to be pioneer in this industry." 

You can contact Grace via email at whiterabbitretailers@gmail.com.

Jennifer Gote

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There is room for improvement on the cultivation side however. Jennifer Gote says a friend suggested she work as a trimmer at a cultivation facility where she learned about growing, harvesting, packaging and distribution. Gote went from bud trimming to managing her own company in less than 2 years. When asked about her new company, AOW Management, Gote says, “I would love to hire women. In fact I would hire women right now with no experience. This way I can teach them from the beginning everything I learned."

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated as needed for accuracy and comprehensiveness.



4 Responses

Jessi Cox
Jessi Cox

January 09, 2018

Check out Ophelia Chong – Stock Pot Images
& toot toot… check me out. Mother of four children, two with autism… built CannabiStaff without any startup capital and I was one of the first to come out of the closet professionally on LinkedIN regarding cannabis. I love helping others find meaningful employment in the cannabis industry! If this is you… message me at jessicox@cannabistaff.com #Cannabistaff #Staffing

Shawn DeNae Wagenseller
Shawn DeNae Wagenseller

January 07, 2018

Thank you!

Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel

December 17, 2017

OK.

Bill
Bill

November 30, 2017

You should take a look at Jamie Cooper of Canna Mediaworks http://www.cannamediaworks.com/

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