Today is International Women’s Day and HIGH TIMES would like to recognize and salute the women in our community who have worked shoulder-to-shoulder to help bring about the legalization of cannabis in its various forms.

Legalization, decriminalization and putting an end to the injustices of marijuana arrests have been a special and constant concern for women.

CAN-DO founder, Amy Povah, has been on the forefront of this struggle for years while seeking clemency for female pot prisoners who seem to get passed over when presidential pardons are issued. The CAN-DO Foundation is a nonprofit that advocates clemency for all nonviolent drug offenders.

Female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry are also making an impact that is unmatched in other business sectors.

According to data collected by Marijuana Business Daily, women account for 36 percent of all executives in the cannabis market. This exceeds the 22 percent national average for women in executive roles across all industries, according to Pew Research Center.

An especially popular area for female leadership is in laboratories, where women hold leadership positions in 63 percent of potency and safety testing labs and in nearly half of companies that make and sell edibles and other products.

We’re Working it and Smoking It

Women account for 40 percent of annual cannabis users, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which means that 13 million women in the United States have used cannabis in the last year, compared to 19.9 million men.

The Direct Cannabis Network interviewed several women entrepreneurs and leaders in the industry and discussed such issues as gender equality and goals for future generations.

Take a peek at some of their news and views:

For Christi Strong, marketing communications manager at Kiva Confections, gender equality has everything to do with addressing sexism in our culture, starting with teens, and does mean bypassing men.

“To meet today’s evolving challenges, we simply need all hands on deck,” Strong explained. “Men who understand this are going to feel far from threatened—they are going to feel partnered and supported in reaching our common goals, and they are going to become women’s greatest advocates.”

Melonie Kotchey, co-founder of Compassionate Certification Centers, believes that reaching gender equality should start with something basic: equal pay for equal work.

I can not imagine going into a social, economic or cultural environment with the mindset that I am not equal,” she said.

Want more about women’s success and contributions to the weed industry? Check out Complex’s list of 15 of the Most Powerful Women in the Weed Industry, HERE.

Important Organizations

Women Grow is a non-profit founded in 2014 in Denver to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders. Women Grow serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale.

The Women’s Cannabis Chamber of Commerce gives entrepreneurs the educational programs, marketing tools and networking to launch and sustain cannabis and cannabis-centric businesses, while addressing the needs of the business community in an ever changing political climate.

NORML Women’s Alliance is a nonpartisan and diverse coalition of women who believe cannabis prohibition is a self-destructive and hypocritical policy that undermines the American family, sends a mixed and false message to our young people and destroys the cherished principles of personal liberty and local self-government. The group believes the the prominent role of women in the effort to end marijuana prohibition is pivotal, necessary and long overdue.

And let us not forget Moms for Marijuana International, who can be visited on their Facebook page.

Women rising to their natural position of equal opportunity, said Strong of Kiva Confections, would naturally restore a balance to the world that is hard to quantify.

So let’s keep rising. Happy International Women’s Day!

For all of HIGH TIMES’ culture coverage, click here.

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