The Women of Women-Owned Cannabis Brands

March 07, 2024

When NBC stated, "the future of cannabis is female," they weren’t wrong. Women have bravely advocated for the rights of cannabis use for hundreds of years, dating back to the 4th century B.C. when the first hard evidence of cannabis consumption was found in the abdomen of a teenage girl. Cannabis has been a saving grace for women dealing with PMS symptoms, childbirth, and menopause.

In 2024, women are stepping up more than ever to make a voice for this ancient herb, making it known that it’s as much a part of their culture as anyone's. They're showing that their input is vital to growth, demanding all-encompassing and intentional brands. Not only are they fighting for minority representation in the industry and educating others, but they're also ensuring the plant is respected for its abundant healing properties.

Women's Struggles in the Marijuana Industry

Despite making significant contributions, women in the marijuana industry face unique challenges. These barriers highlight the need for greater inclusivity and support within this rapidly growing sector:

  • Limited Access to Capital: Women entrepreneurs often struggle to secure financing due to gender biases in investment and banking sectors.

  • Representation Gap: Leadership roles and decision-making positions are predominantly held by men, sidelining female voices and perspectives.

  • Networking Hurdles: Predominantly male networks in the cannabis industry can exclude women from crucial connections and opportunities.

  • Wage Disparity: Women in the cannabis industry, like in many others, face a pay gap compared to their male counterparts.

  • Harassment and Safety Concerns: Women report higher instances of harassment and safety issues, creating an unwelcoming environment for female workers and leaders.

 Women Who’ve Helped Pave The Way

  • Jane West: Jane West, a pioneering figure in the cannabis industry, began her journey by hosting cannabis-friendly events in Denver in 2013, quickly gaining national attention—both positive and negative. This exposure led to legal challenges but also positioned her as a mentor for women interested in the cannabis business.

Today, she heads a successful company known for its elegant glassware, accessories, travel kits, and CBD collections. Emphasizing diversity, her company is over 80% minority-owned and has been featured in major media outlets like TIME Magazine, CBS This Morning, and Inc.com. Discover more about her journey and impact here.
  • Carolina Vasquez Mitchell: Carolina Vasquez Mitchell is a distinguished figure in the cannabis industry, celebrated for her innovative approach to creating products that address insomnia, anxiety, and pain. Originating from Mexico and now based in Los Angeles, she brings a wealth of expertise as the Founder and Chief Scientist of Ciencia Labs. Under her guidance, Ciencia Labs has developed science-backed cannabis products, emphasizing the importance of quality, safety, and effectiveness.

Notably, Vasquez Mitchell has founded Dreamt, a sleep aid that has garnered attention for its effectiveness, and Luchador, a recreational THC brand inspired by the flavors of her home country. Her educational background is robust, with degrees in pharmacology and industrial chemistry, which have played a pivotal role in her career trajectory. Vasquez Mitchell's journey reflects a deep commitment to leveraging science for product innovation within the cannabis sector, while also navigating the challenges of being a woman and an immigrant in a competitive industry
  • Enid Parham: Enid Parham, also known as Chef Sunflower, is a dynamic force in Michigan's culinary scene, bringing cannabis cooking to new heights with her catering company, Lucky Pistil. Specializing in cannabis-infused foods, Parham has garnered attention for her unique approach to cuisine, which pairs the art of cooking with the science of cannabis to create unforgettable dining experiences.

Her commitment to using organically grown cannabis underscores her dedication to quality and sustainability, reflecting a broader mission to elevate the culinary cannabis landscape. Parham's influence extends beyond the kitchen; she is an advocate for cannabis justice, working towards correcting the injustices faced by individuals affected by previous cannabis laws.
    • Hope Wiseman: CBS reported Hope Wiseman to be the youngest marijuana dispensary owner in the US at age 29, co-founder of Mary and Main. Being a POC, a woman, and about 20 years younger than other leading professionals, acquiring access to capital was made extremely difficult. Through fundraising, Wiseman made her dream possible and started not just a dispensary but a place for minorities to thrive.

    • Kate Miller: The CEO and Co-Founder of Miss Grass, Kate Miller started as a budtender in college and then worked her way through the entertainment industry finally launching missgrass.com 10 years later to help other women “get good weed.” Their content-led and community-focused approach gained the loyalty of cannabis consumers nationally and was recently noticed by Forbes.

    The 2022 rebranding of Miss Grass created an opportunity to continue the ongoing effort of growing the industry.  One dollar from every Flower and Mini purchase was collected and donated to the Women’s Prison Association in addition to donating 1% of all online purchases to a nonprofit of choice.


      Since the legalization of marijuana, the percentage of women holding executive-level roles in the industry has declined from 37% to only 22%, and even worse, less than 5% of executive positions at cannabis-focused investment firms are held by women.

      Women feel less confident entering the industry, and it's challenging to pinpoint the exact reasons. It's crucial to recognize and support the women who represent the cannabis industry, as their presence fosters an all-inclusive community around this healing herb. Their representation inspires other women, demonstrating that success in the marijuana business is universally attainable.

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