The percent of women in executive positions in the marijuana industry has dramatically fallen in the last two years. The Marijuana Business Journal reports that “women now hold 27 percent of executive-level roles in the marijuana industry, down from 36 percent” in 2015. The good news is that they are still leading more companies than their counterparts in other industries. Women in the cannabis industry make up 23 percent of all executives according to The Marijuana Business Journal.
In some segments of the marijuana industry, women are smashing the average numbers when it comes to executive leadership. According to some statistics they “comprise 42 percent of the executive positions at ancillary services companies, for instance, and 35 percent of medical dispensaries/recreational stores.”
Women are making their mark in the industry in a variety of ways including as executives, legal cannabis business license holders, and lawyers.
These five women rose from the weeds of the cannabis industry:
Ria Kitsch comes to cannabis with a diverse background. She is a yoga teacher, mother of two young children, and part owner of wine company. Now cannabis executive can be added to that list too. Kitsch is the co-founder of DOJA Cannabis Company Ltd. (CSE:DOJA) (OTC:DJACF), a cannabis cultivation company and lifestyle brand. She is also the VP Human Resources at Hiku Brands Company Ltd. (CSE:HIKU). In an interview with Proactive Investors, she told women looking to join the marijuana industry, “[d]on’t be afraid to be visionary. The industry is moving so quickly. Look to something you think you understand or that you can replicate with confidence.” Kitsch personified her own advice when she was part of a group of visionaries that to the merger DOJA and Tokyo Smoke, a Canadian based cannabis and high-end coffee retailer, to create Hiku Brands.
Rosy Mondin has made a name for herself in the cannabis industry. She currently serves as CEO at Quadron Cannatech Corporation (CSE:QCC) a Canadian based company that focuses on ancillary equipment and extraction solutions. Mondin’s leadership also extends to advocacy as the co-founder and Executive Director of the Cannabis Trade Alliance of Canada or CTAC.
CTAC has played a key role in reforming Canada’s cannabis laws beyond just legalization. The organization focuses on assessing Canada’s cannabis laws and evaluating their impact on the criminal justice system. In addition to CTAC, Mondin serves in an advisory role with the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries.
Wanda James has had impressive careers in corporate America, the military, and the restaurant industry. She even served as a member of President Obama’s national finance committee. In 2009, she added the cannabis industry to her resume when she opened a dispensary in Colorado becoming the first black women to own a marijuana dispensary in the state. James added another first to her cannabis resume when she received a cannabis manufacturers license from the state of Colorado making her the first African-American in the state to produce edibles and other marijuana-infused products called Simply Pure.
Ariel Clark and Nicole Howell Neubert
Ariel Clark and Nicole Howell Neubert are co-founders of the California based cannabis law firm Clark Neubert LLP. Like many law firms in California, Clark Neubert has been busy as licensing opportunities open up for new cannabis businesses serving the adult-use market. The firm recently announced that it had hired three more attorneys and had opened offices in Sacramento and Santa Cruz to manage the demand for legal support due to California’s recreational marijuana market. While California’s “Green Rush” opened opportunities for lawyers to get in the legal marijuana game, Ariel Clark is already a seasoned veteran in the field.
She has been representing and advising clients in the cannabis for ten years. She has received national attention for her work in cannabis as Rolling Stone named her one of “Six Women Shaping the Weed Industry.” Her business partner has quite the reputation in the legal cannabis space as well.
In addition to her legal practice, Neubert has worked on the advocacy and regulatory side of the industry including "as a member of California State Treasurer John Chiang's Cannabis Banking Working Group" according to the firm's site. Her work in the industry was also acknowledged in 2017 when Cannabis Business Executive named her one of their “75 Most Important Women”.