As the cannabis industry grows, it adopts cutthroat business operations and discriminates against women. Only 11% of women find the industry equitable, and less than 20% of C-level positions are female.
Yet, women and minorities also show higher rates of leadership in cannabis compared to the national average. The flip side to working in a new environment is its malleability. Women, minorities, and younger generations can seek or invent roles that align with their dreams. They can redefine what it means to be successful.
Despite all the challenges, there’s still an opportunity for female empowerment and healing.
Here are three reasons why women will always have a place in cannabis.
1. She Can Feel Like Herself
Look at the role cannabis culture plays in women’s health and well-being. It’s no coincidence that cannabinoids come from female flowers.
Females have used the plant to manage medical conditions, menstruation, and enrich their daily lives. Cannabis enhances what a woman might need more of in her day, like:
- Feeling beautiful
For Nydia Zamorano-Torres, it helps her stay organized and compartmentalize her time. She owns three cannabis businesses: UR Wellness LLC, Got Terpenes, and Noded, Inc. As a ganjaclergy woman, the plant also enhances her spirituality.
“Women are innately creators and nurturers. I always look at women as a portal from heaven to earth.” Zamorano-Torres said. “We are abundantly able to create, and it doesn’t have to be life. It can be the ability to multitask.”
It’s always been the woman’s job to take care of the household and the family. That’s a lot to manage. It’s even more to deal with when jobs and careers get thrown into the mix.
Women have incredible spatial awareness. They’re adept at playing different roles and juggling responsibilities. These traits, along with their capacity for empathy and intuition, makes women ideal leaders in cannabis and beyond.
2. She Can Work for Herself
Cannabis provides a space for women to do what they love. And, they don’t have to touch the plant to contribute. In fact, the largest percentage of female founders and owners offer ancillary services.
Women can apply their experience from previous careers or kindle creative talents like writing or design.
“Cannabis helped me see it was possible to work for myself,” Zamorano-Torres continued. Before entrepreneurship, she was a physical therapist. Her cannabis coaching business incorporates that knowledge.
Merril Gilbert, co-founder and CEO of TraceTrust, applied her experience from the food and beverage industry. She guided food startups from concept to table and shelf. Now, Gilbert helps cannabis companies navigate product development, manufacturing, compliance, and funding.
“Cannabis may be the last industry built from the ground up that we see in our lifetimes,” Gilbert posed. “Women have been at the center of it since the beginning. To succeed, we need to bring in the most passionate, brightest, and accomplished women and provide opportunities.”
Part of achieving this mission comes from collaboration, something Gilbert knows about very well.
“Instead of competing with my competitors,” Gilbert said, “I suggested we form an alliance. We all have something different to offer that can make the industry better, which is what we’re really after.”
Collaboration also comes from in-person and virtual communities like Women Employed in Cannabis. The association seeks to pay, promote, partner, and protect women in cannabis.
Groups like these make it possible for women in states without legal access to work with cannabis companies across the country. They can launch careers in cannabis without the limitations older generations faced.
3. She Can Be Larger Than Herself
Cannabis has a reputation for bringing people together.
Women are joining the industry for reasons beyond a paycheck. They’re in it to do something they love and have independence, self-determination, and wellbeing in their work. They’re in it to pursue their communities’ goals, as well as their own.
A woman’s involvement in cannabis provides a space to connect with like-minded people. Together, they understand each other’s challenges, can offer honest advice, and make meaningful introductions.
It’s no wonder a woman’s network is her most valuable asset.
When female-founded organizations make a conscious effort to conduct their businesses with compassion and collaboration, they strengthen the network by making individual players stronger.
By doing so, Gilbert believes women can “build businesses that are better for people and the planet.”
The challenges are still there. But so are the possibilities. And to overcome them, “it’s just a matter of tapping into your own magic as a woman,” as Zamorano-Torres says.