As the legal cannabis industry booms throughout California, and the rest of the country, we’re starting to see changes in the demographics of the business. In particular, more women in California seem to be flocking to legal marijuana related jobs. This new trend has gained some media attention in the San Francisco Bay area, and has coined a new phrase for the gap in gender representation in the cannabis industry, “The Grass Ceiling.” This gap is being reduced though as more and more women decide to try their hand in the bud business.
“Women are natural healers…we’re the people who are typically in your home when you are sick, you know you go to mom,” said Andrea Unsworth, owner of a medical marijuana delivery service in the East Bay area called Stashtwist. Unsworth is a mother of 3 children, and the owner of her own business which amounts to a full-time job and then some. Unsworth told a reporter that she works 13-14 hours on an average day. The interesting difference between Unsworth and other women in the cannabis industry, is that Unsworth has a MBA and a history in finance. Her prior experience at Moody’s illustrates her competence in the financial sector. However, there are other women across California that have also left professional, corporate jobs to work in the medical marijuana industry, and the trend seems to be continuing.
“There are not many industries that are female led, and in this setting up of a brand new multi-billion dollar industry, we saw an opportunity to let women lead where they have never led before,” said Jazmin Hupp of the organization Women Grow.
Women Grow was originally started in Colorado, but it’s grown to 35 chapters in the U.S. and Canada since it’s birth in 2014. Their organization’s goal is to advocate cannabis jobs to women, and to link together professionals throughout the marketplace. “Women Grow is an organization that connects educates and empowers women in the legal marijuana industry,” Hupp said.
Although the organization is aimed at increasing representation of women in the cannabis workplace, they’re not exclusive in membership.
Women Grow’s estimates claim that 40 percent of executives are women in the cannabis industry. One special focus of theirs is educating would-be entrepreneurs and guiding them in the process of starting their own business. This help could be anything from legal/financial advice to patent/trademarking advice. All of these aspects would be daunting to a person standing alone, but with Women Grow, they’re making it easier for the layperson.
It also should be said that men aren’t barred from attending Women Grow events. Although the organization is aimed at increasing representation of women in the cannabis workplace, they’re not exclusive in membership. All in all, I think it’d be great to see the Cannabis industry gain the title of being the most equally represented job market in the country. The cannabis industry is a great way for anybody to make an independent living. As Bay Area entrepreneur Daisy Odim said, “This is a really great way to show women that you can get involved. You can have a business in the cannabis industry.”