Are Women Second Class Citizens In The Cannabis Industry?
When recreational use of cannabis became legal in Colorado in 2014 it was common to hear the phrase “We’re not just a new business, we’re a new way of doing business”. It was all blue-sky optimism about the business culture cannabis companies would create. In 2020 how has gender diversity figured into the development of those businesses?
Sex Sells Cannabis
Some of the first notable images of the legal cannabis industry were highly sexual representations of women. At both trade shows and in advertising, females were portrayed in various states of undress and sexy pouts exhaling smoke. This spoke directly to the target of those ads; a 26-year-old male who purchased weed daily (via Persuasium Research). In 6 years, much has changed; the business has evolved to attract active healthy lifestyles benefitted by the use of cannabis. Many of these users are female. More advertising and package designs reflect a female ethos with brands aimed at women having emerged and succeeded with visionary females at the top. That said, it’s too bad only 7 out of 99 cannabis companies have a woman in the C-Suite.
Corporate Gender Bias
While cannabis is a nascent business it reflects the same institutional gender bias modeled in corporations worldwide. Dope Magazine noted that the influx of male-dominated industries is a significant contributor to that in addition to deeply established social mores.
On the other hand, women are making serious inroads in the business too. From magazines like Broccoli, to organizations like Tokeativity, and brands including Garden Society and Lord Jones women are showing up in increasingly visible positions and speaking out about inclusiveness and diversity as part of a socially responsible organization.
Challenges Women Face in the Cannabis Industry
One of the challenges facing women in cannabis is that they can face significant hurdles trying to get conventional funding, according to Rachel Colic of Boss Ladies Of Cannabis. Another challenge is the emergence of Wall Street institutional money which tends to be aggressive and particularly male. The cannabis industry doesn’t have to be stuck in a moment though, there’s time to change and bring true diversity to the table. A much talked about idea is to nurture more woman-owned organizations. It’s a great idea but how do we execute on that?
Can the Cannabis Industry Become More Inclusive
The industry is growing fast. It requires professionals from marketers to salespeople from lawyers to lobbyists. Rachel Colic said, “Whatever your passion or skill set there is an opportunity for you”.
We’re a long way from being legitimately inclusive. However, as we develop this new world, we have to keep inclusion writ large.
Keep it Loud
We hope you enjoyed this article on gender diversity and women in the cannabis industry. We also explored the issue of racial diversity in the cannabis industry a few months ago. Here at Loud News Net diversity is a key cornerstone of what we are trying to accomplish. Stay to tuned for regular content and engage with us on social media @loudnewsnet on all major platforms (or click the social icons on this page). Thanks for reading.