Women are getting in on the ground floor of the booming pot industry and plan to stay on the elevator as it rises to the top.
One study showed that in Colorado and Washington, the key demographic in the legalization movements were 30-to-50-year-old women who are continuing to move into key positions at an unprecedented rate.
“I think women can help demonstrate that it’s a reasonable choice for a lot of people,” drug reform activist attorney Shaleen Title told Newsweek. “I am especially seeing more women with corporate ‘mainstream’ experience looking to join the marijuana industry.”
While the soon-to-become billion-dollar industry is still predominantly male and employment statistics are unclear, the power and influence of women are on the rise.
In the summer of 2014, Women Grow launched with only 70 people. Today monthly chapter meetings in 30 cities are attracting thousands of women nationwide. Seattle-based Marijuana Business Association, a B2B trade group, started a Women’s Alliance in 2014 that now has over 500 members. In just two years, Women of Weed, a private social club in Washington, has seen its membership jump from eight to 300.
Women have also been key players in crafting and implementing the legalization measures and campaigns that are sweeping the country.
“It’s one of the fastest-moving social issues I’ve ever seen,” said Nevada Representative Dina Titus, a pot advocate in Congress.
There are female cannabis doctors, nurses, lawyers, chemists, chefs, marketers, investors, accountants and professors. Women are not only getting ahead in the industry, they are helping to organize it as a viable business.
According to ArcView Market Research, pot revenue is projected to reach nearly $11 billion in the next five years.
Women say they want to be in on it this time, unlike the male-dominated tech boom.
“In cannabis, what would take 10 years of climbing the corporate ladder for a woman is so much more accelerated,” said Brooke Gehring, founding member of Women Grow. “Women entrepreneurs can come in with their skills and ideas and make them their own.”