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How the Cannabis Community Can Celebrate International Women's Day & Women's History Month

Women have played a critical role in bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the light. Here's how we should honor them in 2021.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Women have historically played critical roles and made enormous sacrifices bringing cannabis out of the shadows and into the light. They continue to nurture, support, and lead in our movement and industry.

Vitalii Abakumov | Getty Images

But women must continue to gain more ownership and positions of influence in the global cannabis industry. To me, this is the best way of recognizing International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The opportunity is before us to create a new kind of industry with women and BIPOC leading the way. We have that chance and obligation. And if we do our job right, it should be a lot of fun, too. If we can look back and say, we did it many years from now, isn't that going to be the best reward of all? 

Inspired by my colleagues, let’s observe the occasion with their insights and wisdom.

Related: The 35 Most Influential Women In Cannabis

Honor those who have paved the way 

"Women's History Month makes me remember the longevity of Cicely Tyson, the rhythm of Celia Cruz, the cadence of Maya Angelou, the grace of Michelle Obama, the resilience of Fanny Lou Hamer, the vision of Shirley Chisolm, the audacity of Winnie Mandela, the melodies of Marcia Griffiths, the creative eye of Ava DuVernay, the energy of Donna Summer, the leadership of Assata Shakur, the imagination of Shonda Rhimes, the entrepreneurship of Oprah Winfrey, the strategy of Harriet Tubman, the stewardship of Mary McLeod Bethune, the timelessness of Lauryn Hill, the justice of RBG, the tenacity of Kamala Harris, the ingenuity of Nanny of the Maroons, and the hands of my mother. In Women's History Month there must be a blending of the past and present which inspire and birth the future."  — Scheril Murray Powell, Esquire

Celebrate the wins while recognizing the challenges                                                               

“Cannabis is unique, having more women in C-Suite positions than in any other industry by far. The exciting part about that for me as a female founder in cannabis, is getting to know all of the incredible women pioneering an entire industry from the ground up. However, it's important to recognize the challenges, too...because there's always room for improvement. That's why I'm excited to be on the upcoming SXSW panel, Overcoming Bias in a Limited Capital Industry, with colleagues Imelda Walavalkar of Pure Beauty and attorney Amy Margolis of The Initiative. We'll be sharing personal experiences, as well as discussing the challenges of not only raising money in an emerging industry, but doing it as female and BIPOC founders. Join us in creating a more equitable industry.” — Julia Jacobson, CEO of Aster Farms


Recognize the importance of unity                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

“In this industry, I am proud to see so many women standing up for themselves and sticking together. We are stronger when we lift each other up and challenge the constructs that keep us down. Women have a lot of buying power, so I challenge people to remember that when making purchases by shopping with and supporting women-owned businesses.” — Harlee Case, COO of Ladies of ParadiseLady Jays

Embrace the role of creators, innovators, and educators                                                                                                                    

"We owe a lot of major milestones in cannabis and agriculture to women. From ancient times to current, women have been creating, innovating and educating communities on all of the potential that the plant holds. Queen Victoria for example, used cannabis to treat menstrual cramps. Fast forward to today, there are now loads of cannabis products to help with PMS and other chronic pain, in addition to the large number of cannabis-infused “sensual lubes” on the market. When it comes to advocacy for social equity, I find that women have louder voices. I also find that when it comes to destigmatizing through art, creating for a brand for example, women are leading the way in this realm. Shout out to Anndrea Hermann and Joy Beckerman, two goddesses that have been fighting for decades and educating on industrial hemp for food, fiber and grain long before hemp/CBD was cool. I learn so much from them." — Cait Curley, Entrepreneur & Activist 

Acknowledge that perseverance is key                                                                                                                                               

 "Don't give up on your dreams because THEY DID." As Paper Planes said best, "#BetOnYourself.” As for women who inspire, I choose MD Numbers’ Marie Montmarquet, Success Centers’ Angela White, and also, coming soon to Sacramento, my cannabis friend Naweh of Aequilibrium Delivery!” — Reese Benton, Owner, Posh Green Cannabis Boutique