By: Madison Cassel
In this day and age, women in the work force continue to shatter the glass ceiling – the marijuana industry is no exception. Although considered a relatively new industry, women thrive in the marijuana industry and shine as some of the top leaders in the marketplace. According to a survey conducted by Marijuana Business Daily, women comprise 36% of leadership positions in the marijuana industry – a significant increase from the 22% average in other United States industries. From activists to growers to lawyers, women are taking the lead in the cannabis business.
Ashley Preece-Sackett is one of these women. Ashley is a co-founder of Cascadia labs, a research and development facility in Oregon that assists growers with ensuring that their plants are clean and safe. Because of the lack of federal rules governing cannabis quality, anybody can create his or her own lab, “test” for pesticides, and distribute cannabis. Ashley works relentlessly in order to affirm each cannabis plant ultimately sold is healthy and safe for consumers. The lack of regulation coupled with the freedom of entry into the laboratory business means there is the potential for harmful chemicals to be included in the marijuana sold. This is why Ashley’s work with growers to ensure all of the cannabis plants they sell are safe and chemical free is vital in the marijuana industry.
Because states like Pennsylvania and New York are issuing limited permits for growing, producing, and selling marijuana, staking a claim in the highly competitive cannabis industry is no easy task. However, Amy Peckham and her two daughters proved that operating a successful marijuana start-up is possible. Amy was inspired to enter the medical marijuana industry when her mother was diagnosed with ALS and, despite positive research, was barred from even considering cannabis treatment because of federal and state marijuana restrictions. Driven by this experience, when New York finally legalized medical marijuana, Amy began Etain, a medical marijuana dispensary. One of the only five dispensaries to receive a medical marijuana dispensary permit, Amy’s dispensary was also the only female-run medical marijuana dispensary operation licensed in New York. Now the CEO of her dispensary, Amy continues to work towards changing the face of marijuana to include a successful businesswoman and patient advocate for the medical use of marijuana.
The song “Man’s World” holds true for most industries and, while the marijuana industry is still predominately male, the gender gap is closing as women make their mark in the marijuana industry in a positive way. As the industry succeeds, women succeed right alongside it. Women are passing bills, fighting for rights, advocating for increased medical care, and starting their own businesses. As successful entrepreneurs and advocates, Women lead in the cannabis biz.