Businesswomen Are Becoming A Driving Force In The Marijuana Industry

By Dorri Olds 07/01/16

Women are more likely to hold executive positions in the fast-growing marijuana industry than in the general workforce. 

Businesswomen Are Becoming A Driving Force In The Marijuana Industry

A recent Atlantic article examined the budding marijuana industry's appeal to female entrepreneurs. With the glass ceiling remaining a major problem throughout the global workforce, many women are creating marijuana-centric businesses where they can find unfettered success on their own terms. Data from Marijuana Business Daily states that women account for 36% of executives in the legal marijuana industry, yet they only make up 22% of senior managers in other industries.

Becca Foster, who works as an independent contractor with an in-home cannabis shop, told the Atlantic, “It’s a new chance for many women who have been in the corporate world who couldn’t get to the next level.”

The Fix reached out to a few cannabusiness entrepreneurs. Jordan Person, 35-year-old executive director of Denver NORML, founded the successful company Primal Therapeutics. “We are a mobile service,” she tells The Fix, “which is the best way to be compliant with the current law.” Yes, those laws can be tricky. All of these businesses have to work within the regulations.

Person, who worked as a nurse for 15 years and a massage therapist for a decade, said, “When I was working at a medical marijuana dispensary, I decided to find my niche in the cannabis industry. And that’s how cannabis-infused massage therapy was born.” She explained that she combined her knowledge of nursing, anatomy, and physiology with what she already knew about the healing aspects of the plant.

Her topical products contain a mix of essential oils and cannabinoids CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The blended aromatic oils are used during her deep tissue massages.

“I feel empowered every morning,” said Person. “This is an industry that encourages women to just go out and seize the day. Most industries are male-dominated but this one is not. It’s one of the most welcoming industries I have ever been a part of.”

Heidi Keyes, the owner of Denver-based Puff, Pass & Paint told The Fix, “Marijuana became legal here and I was working as an artist. One of my friends said, ‘Hey, you know those wine and paint classes? You should do that with cannabis.’ So I put some feelers out and [business] picked up right away. It started as a very small business and now it’s in Denver, Portland and D.C. We’re going to be in Las Vegas, Arizona and California soon."

“What started as something I was passionate about and was fun to do, turned into a very successful business that is now nationwide," said Keyes. "That’s pretty cool to be a part of. It’s a really exciting time to be in this industry. It has the highest amount of women CEOs and owners. It’s a billion-dollar industry and women aren’t asking for permission from men anymore to succeed. We’re coming up with great ideas and bringing them to fruition on our own.”

Kendal Norris, the founder of Boulder’s Mason Jar Event Group, described the rise in female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry as a grassroots (pun intended) support effort. Norris told The Fix, “There are organizations like Women in Weed and Women Grow that saw the opportunity for women to become the driving force in the cannabis industry, and they’ve been very successful in bringing together female executives and women who are curious about the opportunities. Whatever questions I had, there were so many women to reach out to.”

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Dorri Olds is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day and several book anthologies. Find Dorri on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.