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Women Aim to Avoid Glass Ceiling in Marijuana Industry Before It Forms

Dina Rollman, co-founder of Illinois’ Women in Cannabis, is encouraging women to get involved now in the pot industry, which she described as “too new to have a glass ceiling.”

Women in Cannabis, which was founded last August, aims to connect female professionals and entrepreneurs to business opportunities cropping up after Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2013. According to, their intention is to steer the pot industry into commercial areas, while ensuring that women’s roles go beyond being attractive advertising props or bud tenders, explained Rollman, an attorney whose practice is focused on cannabis law.

Wendy Berger Shapiro, co-founder with Rollman, said opportunities go beyond working in or even owning a cultivation center or dispensary and that lots of services are required, including staffing, legal services, marketing, public relations and caregiving for patients.

“Unless we open each other’s eyes to the opportunities, we don’t always know where to look for them,” Shapiro said.

Donna More, partner at Chicago’s Nixon Peabody law firm, said the industry’s newness creates opportunities for women because clients want people with relevant expertise. More, whose practice focuses on gaming and now medical marijuana, said being the only woman in a room full of men is not unique to the pot industry.

“It’s not an old boys’ network,” she explained. At least not yet.

And these women are hoping to keep that from happening in the future.

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