Female Cannabis Entrepreneurs Are Pioneers in Science, Finance and Fashion
Cannabis still has the opportunity to be genuinely equal opportunity.
Is cannabis yet another rapid growth industry that is essentially a boys' club? Opinions differ. Some have praised the marijuana industry as a fantastic opportunity for female entrepreneurs.
Others report that it's still unclear how many opportunities women are getting for executive positions, such as this Associated Press article which states: "Cannabis remains a male-dominated industry."
Certainly, there have already been notable achievements by women in the cannabis world. They range from the well-known, such as Whoopi Goldberg co-founding the Whoopi & Maya line of cannabis-infused products, to the emergence of people such as Emily Paxhia who co-founded Poseidon Asset Management, the first investment fund dedicated solely to the cannabis industry.
There are many women on the science end of the business. For example, Julie Kowalski is the director of science and research for Trace Analytics, a testing laboratory in Spokane, Wash.
The potential for marijuana jobs has led to formation of groups such as the Women Grow organization and the OG GirlsClub in Los Angeles. The club's invitation-only parties allow professional women the chance to socialize and support each other in marijuana-related business ventures, as well as create new partnerships.
Valery Sepulveda, co-founder of the OG GirlsClub, told L.A. Weekly the club attracts professionals both inside and outside of the cannabis industry who are "fighting gender inequalities in a system that has been ruled by a 'boys club' for far too long."
The Anti-Stoner Movement
Against this backdrop, one of the newest areas for female entrepreneurs is beginning to emerge: fashion. It's part of an overall cultural shift in tone away from pot being associated with stoners and instead associated with professionals. Much of this shift is being driven by women.
Cannabis fashion designer Emma Baron told CBC that one of the inspirations for founding her company, Milkweed, came from meeting older women who use marijuana but are embarrassed by cannabis fashion that screams weed. Milkweed focuses on making cannabis accessories for women that are both elegant and discreet. They include hand-crafted tins, ceramic pipes and embossed, pre-rolled joints.
Embracing Beautiful Design
In the U.S., Seattle-based Van der Pop, founded by designer April Pride, is doing much the same for women who use marijuana but don't want to carry around the type of paraphernalia that's been associated with weed for decades. Their products include sleek tools for rolling joints, cleaning pipes and attractive cases for carrying pot.
The Van der Pop brand is sold exclusively on Tokyo Smoke, a Canadian company that bought Van der Pop in 2017. Tokyo Smoke sells cannabis-related products online and in brick-and-mortar stores in Toronto and Calgary. The site offers a good example of how elegant design is moving into the cannabis industry. The focus is on products for those who "embrace beautiful design along with alternative states of mind."