The number of women entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry is on the rise. So too are the number of groups being created to provide these business leaders with resources and networking opportunities.
What do burgeoning new industries need? Associations.
Such is the case with the growing marijuana industry, which has recently seen the launch of several associations to meet the needs of those in the cannabis trade. There’s also been a boom in women-related groups.
With medical marijuana now legal in more than half of the United States, and with recreational use legal in four states and Washington, DC, the industry is seeing a rise in women business leaders and entrepreneurs, according to a recent Newsweek article.
“As pot legalization spreads, women are taking over more roles in the industry,” Gogo Lidz wrote in the article. “There are female cannabis doctors, nurses, lawyers, chemists, chefs, marketers, investors, accountants and professors. The marijuana trade offers women a shortcut to get ahead in many avenues, and women in turn are helping to organize it as a viable business.”
Groups, such as the Seattle-based Marijuana Business Association, are feeling the effect. MJBA has seen its Women’s Alliance group that launched last year grow to 500 members. And, the Washington state private social group Women of Weed has cultivated 300 members, up from eight two years ago when the group was founded.
Meanwhile, the networking group, Women Grow, has seen its membership balloon from 70 when it launched in 2014 to more than 1,000 women throughout the country. It hosts professional networking and local social events, regional education symposiums, and national speaking circuits to help aspiring cannabis professionals connect with those already in the industry.
“Women Grow is a for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale,” the group states on its website.
A year in, Women Grow has chapters in 33 cities in the United States and Canada, held a Leadership Summit with more than 120 attendees, and hosted a lobby day in DC in February. It also has plans to launch a membership directory spanning a wide variety of business categories, including accessories, cultivation, and marketing.
To help combat what it believes is a stigma against cannabis, and to work for wider legalization of the substance, the NORML Women’s Alliance—a nonpartisan coalition—works to create support for marijuana law reform.
“We are working to bring a contemporary approach to the public policy debate, while proudly representing the interests of modern, mainstream women who believe that legalizing marijuana will protect our children, keep our neighborhoods safe and put people back to work,” the group states on its website.