This 4/20, discover the female-led cannabis businesses that are making an impact in the weed industry.
Since states began legalizing recreational marijuana in the U.S. in 2012, the cannabis industry has boomed—and women make up over a third of the leaders in this market. According to a 2019 survey by Marijuana Business Daily, 37 percent of cannabis executives are women, ranking higher than the 21 percent national average of women in executive roles in any business. Although the industry as a whole is still dominated by men, there’s a sizeable amount of pot-loving women who are transforming how the world views weed.
“Women in the cannabis space are incredibly supportive of each other,” says Imelda Walakalvar, co-founder and CEO of cannabis brand Pure Beauty. “It’s inspiring and bolstering to be part of this. At the same time, the conversation and attention that ‘women in weed’ receive does not reflect what is actually happening. Cannabis is still dominated by white men and this does not seem to be improving.”
As more women make waves in the marijuana industry and join forces in an effort to destigmatize the green bud through education, art, culture, and CBD-infused wellness and beauty products, the easier it becomes for female-led cannabis brands to navigate the complexities of this business. And there’s strength in numbers: “My advice is to find allies; having strong and supportive partnerships and relationships in this industry is the key to survival,” Walakalvar says, sharing some widsom for women who are thinking about entering the cannabis arena. “Look for like-minded people that value the same things as you, in all partnerships, no matter how small.”
In addition to supporting other women in the marijuana industry, there is also a movement to address the inequities and policing around the recreational drug that have targeted marginalized groups. “As cannabis businesses we have an even greater responsibility given the systemic racism perpetuated by the war on drugs and incarceration policies including the disproportionate rates of incarceration for, specifically, Black and Brown communities,” the Pure Beauty founder states. “It is not only important, but it is our duty as an industry, as well as an opportunity to get it right.” Both race and gender have an impact on individuals’ relationships to cannabis, and many female-led companies, including Walakalvar’s, are working to give women and minorities a safe space and platform in the industry.
Published: April 20, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News