Humans have had a sacred relationship with cannabis long before its prohibition or its pivot to legalization. Through cultural, political and technological shifts, women have played an integral part in reframing the discussion surrounding cannabis and paving the way forward in an evolving industry. In recognition of women in weed, Gage honors the female pioneers and leaders of today from coast to coast.
Cannabis in North America: A Herstory
With rapid cultural, political and technological changes in North America, women pushed the envelope as cannabis advocates, activists and educators responsible for reshaping public opinion. Post-civil rights movement, notable public figures including author Maya Angelou detailed their experience with cannabis: “From a natural stiffness, I melted into a grinning tolerance” (Tokin Woman, 2014). Along with anthropologist Margaret Mead, these women served among some of the first female activists fighting for cannabis legalization:
“I believe that we are damaging this country, damaging our law, our whole law enforcement situation, damaging the trust between the older people and younger people by [marihuana’s] prohibition, and this is far more serious than any damage that might be done to a few overusers, because you can get damage from any kind of overuse.” (Mead, 1969)
Long before science could provide more insight into the plant, Mead understood the cross-cultural importance of cannabis and the benefits it brings to humanity. Later on, with the help of compassionate activists like Mary Jane “Brownie Mary” Rathbun, cannabis earned its place as a medical treatment for appetite stimulation in patients by the turn of the century (Alexander, 2019). Rathbun’s contributions paved the way for medical cannabis and recreational use in the 21st century.
Women in Weed: Rooted in Change
Using all parts of the plant, women across industrial, medical and recreational markets in North America are finding new ways cannabis can empower their experience and make a positive impact in their lives. In 2019, nearly 37% of executive-level jobs at cannabis companies are reportedly held by women (Marijuana Business Daily, 2019). This hopeful statistic also gives professional women outside of cannabis the opportunity to advance their careers and sharpen their skills in a growing industry.
Through career evolution and policy change, women from all professions in Accounting to Retail Merchandising are finding their place in cannabis. As cannabis becomes more widespread, more women from cross-functional industries will have the opportunity to flourish. Further amplifying female representation in the industry, organizations like NORML Women’s Alliance, Women Grow, and Ellementa provide a space for discussing the logistics of legalization, cultivation and cannabis for health & wellness. From the laboratory to the board room, women in North America are pushing the envelope for a bountiful future in cannabis with room to grow.
From coast to coast, Gage is grateful for the empowered women in cannabis who blazed the trail before and continue to hold the torch today. In an evolving industry, women have played a pivotal role in advancing policy, shifting public opinion and shaking up the discourse on cannabis, turning the tables for the greater good. As the stigma fades, more women are returning to the roots of plant medicine and bringing the benefits of cannabis into their lives.
Please head to Instagram to meet some of the absolutely amazing women behind Gage and Cookies Michigan in our “Women in Weed” feature throughout the month of March!
Alexander, Erin. “How One Woman’s ‘Magically Delicious’ Pot Brownies Changed History”. Published April 17th, 2019:
https://food52.com/blog/24041-brownie-mary-jane-rathbun-history-medical-marijuana (Accessed November 25th, 2019)
Grow Up Conference & Expo. “Shattering the Grass Ceiling: Agnes Kwasniewska from Hexo Corp. Awarded Master Grower of the Year at Inaugural Grow Up Awards Gala”. Published September 14th, 2019: https://growupconference.com/agnes-kwasniewska-hexo-corp-awarded-master-grower-year-inaugural-grow-awards-gala/ (Accessed November 27th, 2019)
Hudak, John. Marijuana: A Short History. Brookings Institution Press, 2016.
Marijuana Business Daily. “Women and Minorities in the Cannabis Industry”. Published July 31st, 2019: https://mjbizdaily.com/women-account-for-more-than-a-third-of-marijuana-business-executives/ (Accessed November 25th, 2019)
Tokin Woman. “My, Oh Maya”. Published January 11th, 2014: http://tokinwoman.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-oh-maya.htm (Accessed November 25th, 2019)
Very Important Potheads. “Mead Testimony”. Published October 27th, 1969: https://www.veryimportantpotheads.com/site/meadtestimony.htm (Accessed November 25th, 2019)