The past few years have seen women make great strides in fields such as real estate, politics, medicine and tech. According to Forbes, women hold 30% of board seats in Fortune 500 companies, and outnumber men in the prestigious C-suite, including CEO and CMO. But while women are making strides in the workforce, recent statistics show that marijuana strains with higher concentrations of the active ingredient THC—the chemical that makes you high—are being marketed to women at a lower price than men, according to a recently published study by the National Women’s Law Center.

Women are losing power in cannabis at an alarming rate. If you’ve been following the news, you’ve heard how female-oriented strains continue to be crushed by more masculine-focused ones, women are losing out on business opportunities, and even being replaced on the shelf in many dispensaries.

The cannabis industry as a whole is experiencing a radical change in the past few years. Once the exclusive domain of men, it’s been rapidly transformed into a space where women have been given the opportunity to express their creativity in the field of botany and agriculture. With this, women have also been introduced to the changing tides of the industry and the impact that it can have on their lives. Among other things, women are losing power and influence in the cannabis industry at an alarming rate.



The findings of a poll on women in the cannabis business were published in October 2017 by Marijuana Business. According to the study, women occupied 37 percent of executive-level positions in the cannabis sector. This was a watershed moment for women in the business, as many women executives started to plan a route to 50 percent in five years. 

These numbers were used to encourage women across the country to leave their traditional, corporate jobs and find a place where they could contribute their skills to the growing industry. The high gains made activists believe that women really could hold power in a lucrative and dominating industry. The numbers inspired women to apply for licenses and open ancillary businesses, hoping to be among those benefiting from such strong industry support. 

When Marijuna Business reported that those figures had fallen to 27% in August 2017, the bubble popped. Even yet, it was deemed a victory since women only make up 24% of executive posts in the United States. But it wasn’t a victory; rather, it was a setback that resonated across the community. Women began to leave the cannabis industry at a quicker rate than they were entering it. 

Then there was a third strike. Only 17.6 percent of women questioned in a Vangst study in 2019 had a Director or Executive Role. Women in the United States have been leaving the labor in droves since 2020, and one in every four is contemplating not returning to work. Female talent is being lost across the board, not just in the cannabis business.

For those women who are still working in the cannabis industry, the future seems bleak. Only 8% of cannabis CEOs are women, according to a study published by Benzinga in March 2021. In the cannabis industry, women are rapidly losing momentum. 

So, what is a woman to do in the face of this loss of power? How will they be able to stop the power outage from continuing? How terrible can things become if nothing is done? If they go in and fight for it, what great opportunity are they protecting? 

The possession of power, authority, or influence over others, according to Merriam-Webster. Possessing power, seeking power, and desiring power are all seen through this lens as a means of exerting control over others. For women, this may be uncomfortable or frightening, making them reluctant to hang on to power or use it successfully. 

A source or method of providing energy is another meaning of power. If we look at it through this lens, we can see how our flow of energy has aided in the development of the sector. It’s not just about having power, but about having a steady and powerful flow of energy – especially from women – flowing through the cannabis business. This is how women will build the industry that has been a dream of theirs since 2017. 

Collaboration, or working together for a shared objective, is one of the most powerful tools women have for gaining greater influence. To collaborate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not directly linked, according to Merriam-Webster. 

Collaboration is full of challenges. From personality clashes, to broken promises, and failed expectations, working with others is full of pitfalls. It’s also the key to creating a power source that has an impact. If women align themselves for a common purpose, to Pay, Promote, Partner & Protect one another, their power or energy source will be strong and undeniable in the industry. 

The Women Empowered in Cannabis (WEIC) Leadership Summit: Power & Collaboration will be taking a deep dive into the power dynamics and collaboration challenges along the cannabis supply chain. While it’s easy to see from the statistics from a top level it’s not as obvious how these power losses are occurring throughout the industry. Examining the unique dynamics on each part of the supply chain and shining a light on them is the first step in taking back the power women have lost over the last few years.

A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that women are now the majority of those who smoke a joint.  While the survey, conducted in 2014,  did not  analyze the reasons for this, it is not  the first time that women have been found to be a significant number of cannabis users. In the 1980s,  women were called “potheads”  by men, who believed that women were less likely to use cannabis due to the stigma associated with the drug. This was also the time when cannabis became more popular among women. Women cannabis users have been found to have higher educational levels, and to be more critical thinkers than men.. Read more about effects of smoking on the teenage brain and let us know what you think.

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