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Women in Cannabis: How Women Influence the Cannabis Industry

by Natalie, Sponsored Posts

As the fastest-growing demographic in the cannabis industry, women must be a key part of the leadership team of any cannabis company. It is also essential to incorporate female leadership into the marketing and sales of weed packs or other cannabis products, and efforts to appeal to the preferences of women. While this industry is exploding, the opportunity for large corporate players to invest is increasing. However, there are risks associated with gender bias. Read on to learn how women can successfully contribute to the cannabis industry.


WOMEN IN CANNABIS

As a woman in the cannabis industry, it can be a challenge to find a job. Many female entrepreneurs report that the cannabis industry is a male-dominated field. As a result, women in the cannabis industry are often underrepresented in leadership roles.


Many of these women also report feeling a lack of capital to start a larger cannabis business. With a shortage of capital, women in cannabis need more professional support and capital to build large businesses. A group like the Women in Cannabis Council provides women with an outlet to discuss their challenges and build their networks.


The industry has received praise for being a haven for marginalized groups, but recent reports show that the number of female executives is decreasing. Two years ago, 37% of cannabis-related companies were led by women; however, only 27% of them are headed by women. This is a problem for the industry, but some women in the cannabis industry are making strides to improve their situation. To help combat this, they've created a book that highlights the stories of the industry's most inspiring women.


FEMALE REPRESENTATION

There is underlying sexism inherent in the construction of women's roles in the cannabis industry. Gender essentialism, which operates on intersections of racialization, corporatization, and heteronormativity, shapes the way that women are portrayed in the industry. While these depictions may restrict women's participation, they are also a representation of the value placed on gender in the business.


Despite this fact, women in the cannabis industry are proving their worth in leadership roles. A recent survey revealed that women make up 41.9% of general employment roles within this sector. These positions are concentrated in vertically integrated cannabis businesses, retail stores, and ancillary services. In addition, the data is low—likely due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic that closed schools in large numbers. While these women may not have been the majority of employees in the industry, they have made great strides in exceeding expectations in their respective roles.

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The lack of female representation is a contributing factor to the lack of female mentors in the business. Without mentors, women may be left to fend for themselves in an industry with a high percentage of male employees. As a result, women may feel more isolated and less suited for leadership positions in cannabis. To overcome this, women in the industry should focus on improving the mentorship opportunities available to them. By improving the level of female representation, the cannabis industry will have a better chance of growing and sustaining the industry for its entirety.


GROWTH OF SALES

According to the recent Headset report, the female population is now influencing the cannabis industry. It has been reported that two out of five women use cannabis-based products, and 45% of this group began using cannabis more after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States. During this time, many young people used cannabis to cope with loneliness and isolation. Women are also the most recent consumers of cannabis, and many members of Gen Z are driving sales.


Among the female leaders of the cannabis industry, Dina Rollman, SVP of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Green Thumb Industries, has played a leading role in establishing the company's proactive approach to CSR. MATTIO Communications represents Green Thumb Industries. Dina Rollman has recognized the challenges faced by people of color during the early stages of the Illinois cannabis licensing process and has helped develop LEAP, which supports minority applicants. Despite these obstacles, the cannabis industry is not representative of a diverse group of individuals.

FUNDING CHALLENGES

Funding is a challenge for many women in the cannabis industry. As a minority, women are often unable to raise capital at the same pace as their male counterparts, diluting their market representation. Yet women are half the population, and they are the fastest growing demographic among cannabis consumers. They are crucial to the industry's growth by creating products and education, advocating for its legalization, and more.


While the cannabis industry is still relatively new and there is a need for additional capital, Oregon-based companies are making an effort to attract more women. Historically male-dominated, women hold fewer leadership positions than their male counterparts. A Portland-based program has focused on helping women lock down funding.


Carrie Solomon, an entrepreneur and founder of the topical company Leif Goods, launched the company in 2014. It initially sold to medical dispensaries but by mid-2016, it put out its first recreational product. By 2017, the company was experiencing rapid growth and is poised for even greater success.

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