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Women Are Influencing the Cannabis Industry Both as Entrepreneurs and Consumers

Cannabis is increasingly popular with women as both a career and a consumer product.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

These days, women are as likely to vape marijuana as sip merlot. Depends on where you are, of course. But if it’s California, Colorado, Washington or any of the other states where marijuana is legal for adult use, it’s a thing.

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Rabobank, one of Europe’s biggest banks, released a study last year showing that the No. 1 reason legal marijuana could hurt wine sales is because women prefer cannabis to alcohol. About 34 percent said they expect to increase marijuana use under legalization.

The Pew Research Center poll on opinions about marijuana found 56 percent of women support legalization. That’s less than men (68 percent), but women clearly make up a large segment of the pro-legalization wave sweeping the country. It’s the same way in the marijuana industry itself. Women already have a bigger presence there than they do in many other industries. But they are vying for more.

C.E. Hutton, a consulting firm that works with minority entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, wrote that “the cannabis industry is proving to be a welcoming environment for female entrepreneurs; at the very least, more so than many other industries.”

Related: CBS Won't Air What Would Have Been the First-Ever Super Bowl PSA for Cannabis

Women in the cannabis industry.

The number of female executives in cannabis stands at 27 percent, higher than the 23 percent average number of executive positions held by women across all industries nationwide, according to Marijuana Business Daily. That’s good, but the number of female marijuana executives made up 36 percent of the industry in 2015.

Women seem galvanized. Celebrity women in cannabis are well known, such as Whoopi Goldberg and Melissa Etheridge. But below the cultural radar, more women are getting into the industry, especially on designing new products.

Female stars in cannabis.

According to the Robb Report, one of  the biggest female names in cannabis is Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine. The company runs four dispensaries. The site describes the four dispensaries as “safe” and “inviting” and say they combine “the best features of a pharmacy, community center and wellness practice.”

Nancy Whiteman of Wana Brands is another big name among female cannabis entrepreneurs. Her Colorado-based company sells cannabis edibles, including a very popular line of gummy bears. The company has expanded into Oregon, Nevada and Arizona and plans to move into Florida, Illinois and Michigan this year.

Many women are leading the way with specific wellness-focused products. For example, Kush Queen, run by Olivia Alexander, offers cannabis-infused bath bombs, tinctures and lotions. Alexander told the Robb Report that women moving into the cannabis industry “fits into the current women’s wave: running for office, running companies. Cannabis is a part of that new liberation.”

Related: 3 of the Biggest States Are Likely to Make Adult-Use Marijuana Legal This Year

Miss Grass Popularity

Women now even have their own marijuana magazine. Miss Grass is designed as “an elevated lifestyle shop and publication for women, cannabis and good living.” They describe the magazine as a benevolent guide for women interested in cannabis products and the cannabis lifestyle.

They offer a “high horoscope” and information on reading cannabis labels “like a pro.” They also offer articles on women who use cannabis. For example: “Weed Got Me Through Grad School” is written by a fashion executive who faced crippling anxiety.

Female entrepreneurs and consumers have become a large focus of the marijuana industry. How that plays out in 2019 and beyond is something worth watching.

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