This is not a novel concept, women growing plants. What’s novel is the fact that women are more prevalent at the C-level of a marijuana business than in any other business. How did that come about? We have some ideas, but we’ll be exploring those ideas in our next issue, out June 21st.
In the meantime, let’s look back at SXSW 2018 (South By Southwest for the uninitiated), and see how that conversation was shaped, and look forward to the MJBiz NEXT Conference taking place in New Orleans, May 9-11th.
At a conference the size of SXSW, with over 150,000 people registered last year (the numbers for this years haven’t been released just yet), what were the big topics being discussed?
A lot of programming in the Interactive track was focused on giving women a voice, on diversity and inclusion, on bridging the gap between corporations and startups, and finally, on marijuana! Yes, cannabis was the word of the day, again and again. From growers, to lifestyle designers, to investors, to futurists, all had something to say about the industry that’s shown such tremendous growth.
Why is that important? It is important because women are a bigger part of it than in any other industry. It is important because it is a $ 20 Billion a year industry. It is important because we need to be talking about it, from every point fo view, including health related issue, as well as the economic impact on the states that have legalized it for medical and recreational use, and it is important to talk about it a lot because the federal government still considers it a Schedule 1 drug, classified as damaging as cocaine and heroin. It is important to talk about it because our black communities are largely more affected by the War on Drugs even though the consumption of marijuana is about the same in the white population as it is in the black and Hispanic population, and that affects the future generations of black and Hispanic families reinforcing the poverty cycle. It is important because hemp is easier to grow than cotton, cheaper and more resistant to drought. It is important because if we look at marijuana’s medical claims even anecdotally we see that it reduces anxiety, calms down seizures, reduces inflammation and pain, takes away PMS symptoms. We really need to start testing it, and see what other benefits we can get out of it. For that, we need the federal government to legalize it nation-wide. The FDA just approved a CBD based drug called Epidiolex that treats epileptic seizures. Shouldn’t we, the people, also have access to that market at this point? When the FDA has a patent on a specific molecular structure of the marijuana plant, while making it illegal for us to use or grow or test, aren’t they being hypocritical?
At SXSW I heard one of the panelists say something like this:
“The cannabis plant is a complex plant. It works as a whole.”
And futurist extraordinnaire Faith Popcorn said that:
“If we were to discover this plant in the Amazon today, it would be heralded as a miracle plant.”
So, the definite trend is there, and cannabis, marijuana, pot, weed, whatever you want to call it, has entered the general population’s consciousness.
In a recent Gallup survey, 60% of those suveyed said that they are ok with recreational marijuana being legalized. Another survey finds 90% of those surveyed are ok with marijuana being legalized for medical reasons. Yet legislators still refuse to listen to their constituents. The War on Drugs is damaging to our communities, and hasn’t prevented much of anything, but it hasmanaged to increase the black and hispanic prison population.
Canada has legalized marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, and is the industry is thriving. They are making bank! So does every other country that has legalized it. Why are we made to just sit by and look at other countries realizing that potential?
There is tremendous opportunity for women in weed. From growing, to edibles, to packaging, to creating customer experiences, to branding, to tech, to digital marketing. This is a new industry, and “almost everything in this industry has been built in the past 5 years.” – Joel Milton – Baker Technologies
“Cannabis is a net positive effect.” – Cy Scott – Headset
“Next level in understanding the plant is genetics.” – Nicholas Cooper – TriGrow Systems Inc.
Want to learn more?
Check out MJBiz Con’s NEXT Conference in New Orleans in May. It is a conference that focuses on what’s Next for the Cannabis industry. We’ll be there listening and meeting with innovative women and men that are spearheading this industry.
Check out some of the women that will be speaking at the MjBiz Con NEXT, starting with:
Cassandra Farrington, the founder of MJBizDaily, the definitive authority on marijuana industry news. They are briging you news on the regulations, the standards, the laws affecting it.
Andi Goldman – Principal, ABG Advisory/Equitas Partners Fund – Andi has managed $2 billion in institutional investments across numerous industries and is an angel investor in cannabis. She currently consults and advises for an array of cannabis companies nationally and has launched a cannabis investment fund, Equitas Partners. Previously, Andi was CFO then head of corporate finance for FLRish’s cannabis holding company and cultivation operations. She has 20 years of institutional investment experience in private equity and lending, is a chartered financial analyst and was a corporate/securities lawyer.
Wanda L. James – President, Global Cannabis Initiative – Wanda and her husband founded Simply Pure in 2015, becoming the first African-Americans licensed to own a medical marijuana dispensary and an edibles company in Colorado.
Amanda Reiman, PhD – Vice President of Community Relations, Flow Kana – Amanda oversees community outreach and social responsibility programs for Flow Kana, a California-based branded distribution company that works exclusively with small farmers in the Emerald Triangle. She is also the secretary of the International Cannabis Farmers Association, a nonprofit that advocates for research and policies that favor sun-grown cannabis cultivation.
Nancy Whiteman – Founder & CEO, Wana Brands – Nancy founded Wana Brands, a cannabis edibles and extracts company, in 2010. Nancy directs the development of partnerships and licensing agreements both domestically and internationally and leads the company’s strategic vision.
This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impressive women that will be speaking at the MJBiz Con in New Orleans, from May 9th to May 11th. We’ll bring you the stories, the products, and the women to look up to as beacons of light in our next issue, but you should join us in learning how to bring more women into this business.
As a precursor to the conference, we will bring you a video podcast recording with Cassandra Farrington, the founder of MJBizDaily, the authority in all news related to the marijuana industry at the end of this month.
That being said, we wish you all a HAPPY 420! And wish you all to start seeing the financial benefits of the marijuana plant in your own lives.
Image: ryan lange