As demand for female representation in the workplace has increased in recent decades, many industries have continued to struggle to find gender parity, especially at the leadership level. Cannabis, however, has long been regarded as a sort of haven for women and in its early days, was home to impressive numbers of female executives in every facet of the market. In fact, according to a 2019 study, nearly 37% of executive-level positions in the field were held by women, a figure that puts to shame the 21% national average for other industries.
Several years into the legalization of marijuana in many parts of the United States and more widespread acceptance of cannabis as a consumer good, the once fertile landscape for women has been growing somewhat dry. As the marketplace continues to expand and its potential to make big money becomes even more apparent, large, corporate players have entered the space and have brought a return to gender discrimination along with. With the industry’s undeniable potential still far from fulfilled, eight leaders reflect on the challenges of being a woman in cannabis and why female representation and participation remains so crucial to the field.
Kate Miller, Cofounder and CEO of Miss Grass
“I first got involved in the cannabis space in 2008, when I worked as a medical cannabis budtender while attending university in California. I had already experienced benefits from this plant firsthand, and I was inspired to share that with others. It also felt like an exciting business opportunity to get involved in an industry that inevitably would be massive. It was a rare and perfect marriage of a deep personal passion and a business opportunity. That experience only strengthened my belief in this plant, as I saw so many patients transform their lives from it. Still, I was surrounded by weed products that only reinforced the lazy stoner stigma. There was nothing that represented the full power or history of the plant—and definitely nothing that represented the modern cannabis consumer. It was then that I bought the Miss Grass URL and planted the seed for what it would grow into a decade later.