According to a report published by Marijuana Business Daily, women currently hold more than one third (about 37%) of senior executive positions in the cannabis industry, compared with a 21% national average for all U.S. businesses. The number dropped to 27% in 2017, however, it has since gone back up.
Now, will this trend last and grow?
Ayr Strategies Inc. Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Drake believes, “Given cannabis is coming of age in an era of increased awareness of the importance of gender and racial equality, cannabis companies have the ability to establish their cultures with this top of mind.”
A hurdle that might get in the way of more female executives in the marijuana business is the “boy’s club” mentality when it comes to cannabis investment. Deciding the future of cannabis companies are mostly men.
“Cannabis legalization was born from a variety of progressive causes and movements, so it makes sense that, overall, we are far more thoughtful about equity than, for example, tech. There have also been a number of amazing female pioneers in the space who have ensured that gender equity has stayed front and center as the industry has grown. But, it is still a struggle.”, said Amy T. Margolis, attorney, and founder of The Initiative, a business accelerator for women-founded cannabis businesses.
Margolis made clear, “We just saw a ton of capital come into the space, mostly from white men, and we also saw a huge rush in new businesses from legalization going into effect in a number of states. Now that those states are stabilizing, we are seeing a little bit more of an equilibrium in the leadership and founder roles women are playing.
The proportion of women leaders may decline again as new states legalize cannabis and another influx of capital comes from white men, but states can prevent this by establishing social equity licensing requirements, such as those stating that a certain percentage of licenses must go to women-owned businesses, and issuing micro-licenses to help small businesses compete.”
For more on this story, read New Report Suggests Women Are Thriving in Cannabis. Are They? by Suzannah Weiss on Weedmaps.