It seems only natural that a plant called “Mary Jane” would build an industry around itself that will say no to patriarchy. After all, it is a plant where females rule – only female marijuana flowers produce cannabinoids such as the potent and psychoactive THC that gets users buzzed or medical wonder CBD that has amazing healing properties. Finally, there are pot farmers who strive to keep their entire crops female through flowering female clones of one plant, called the Mother.
A girls’ club
Marijuana legalization has been swirling through the states in the past three years faster than most people can say “OG Kush.” “It’s one of the fastest-moving social issues. Perhaps ladies in cannabis industry were inspired by the show Weeds that featured a young woman running more or less successful cannabis operation – although her was illegal. Though the industry is still predominantly male and employment statistics are somewhat vaporous, the power and influence of women are, by all signs, on the upswing. In the summer of 2014, Women Grow—a professional marijuana women’s networking group—launched with just 70 people; today, the monthly chapter meetings in 30 cities attract more than 1,000 women nationwide.
Women taking over more roles in the industry
Despite its illegal federal status, the marijuana business is one of the nation’s newest and fastest-growing industries. Regulated weed (medical and recreational) made $2.7 billion in nationwide revenue in 2014 alone, up from $1.5 billion in 2013 (medical only, the first recreational shops weren’t open in Washington and Colorado until January 2014). By 2019, the pot sold in all states and districts is projected to reach nearly $11 billion yearly, according to estimates by ArcView Market Research. As pot legalization spreads, women are taking over more roles in the industry. 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.
A compassionate industry
Among the most successful pot pioneers are the women who spot a void in the marketplace and fill it. Cannabis science seems to be where women are making the most progress the fastest. Genifer Murray, a scientist who runs a Colorado cannabis testing facility called CannLabs, says she employs mostly women with advanced science degrees. “In a typical science, like environmental or medical, it would take them 20 to 30 years to become something,” she says. “We’re in the infancy. My scientists are going to be cannabis experts—some already are.” Many believe that women are better suited for the cannabis industry and will keep flocking to it because it is a compassionate industry, for the most part, especially if dealing with the medical side. We still need to see how the perception will change with the introduction of recreational marijuana to the market.