Cannabis: Leading the Way in Women-Led Businesses?

Women matter. That’s why we’ve pledged that by the end of 2020 at least 50% of our suppliers will be woman-owned or -operated. Thank you for joining us to celebrate women on International Women’s Day—and every day. This is one in a series of articles exploring the reasons why this day exists and what we can do about it.

Every new industry has only one chance to do it right the first time. Cannabis has the unique opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by undoing decades of stigmatization and setting a new standard for inclusion.

Forbes recently addressed the need for the cannabis industry to take advantage of their opportunity to impact gender equality, not only because it’s right, but also because it’s smart business. According to research by Morgan Stanley Capital International, having women in leadership roles positively influences a company’s productivity and overall economic performance. According to Marijuana Business Daily, women make up about 36% of executives in cannabis versus 22% in other industries.

Smart business: Check. But what if the values of cannabis also carry the potential to impact the global state of gender equality? With an anticipated size of $80 billion, legal cannabis is about to become an international business juggernaut… so, in addition to making inclusion a front-burner issue stateside, it could be used to introduce concepts and working examples of gender equality to places where the need for progress is even greater.

Industry groups like Women Grow, which was founded in 2014 and has grown to a network for 45 cities, exist to rally around the women of cannabis and cultivate a new vision of business. Magazines devoted to covering the overlap between women and cannabis include all-female company MJ Lifestyle, Broccoli, Svn Space and Gossamer.

But the responsibility doesn’t need to solely rest on the shoulders of industry leaders. Some government representatives are sponsoring legislation to right the wrongs of cannabis stigmatization and boost opportunity for women. For example, The Marijuana Justice Act proposes that federal courts expunge cannabis convictions and penalize states with racially disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates for marijuana offenses, and the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act was designed to fund minority-owned cannabis business.

If issues like these matter to you, how can you help usher in change?

  • Ask what your company and companies you work with are doing to address gender inequality.
  • Spend your dollars with brands and dispensaries that align with your beliefs.
  • Consider a career in cannabis!
  • Share the industry’s unique opportunities with women and minorities you care about.

Author: April Carter Grant

April Carter GrantApril Carter Grant grew up in the rural Midwest and has worked as a creative in the advertising, gaming, travel and beauty industries. An avid walker and sometime runner, she lives in LA with a young son and spazzy dog.

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