Smoke Cartel Inc, a publicly traded cannabis company, just made a big move for gender equality. Today, the marijuana accessories online retailer appointed Darby Cox as their new Chairman and CEO. This is the first time a public cannabis company has appointed a woman as CEO, making Cox’s appointment a historic moment for this emerging industry.
Smoke Cartel: A Marijuana Accessories Giant
More people are smoking weed than ever, so naturally, there’s an increasingly high demand for marijuana accessories. Smoke Cartel out of Savannah, Georgia is an online head shop that sells high-end accessories.
They sell everything from glass bongs and dab rigs to grinders and vapes. Founded in 2014, Smoke Cartel went public in early 2018.
Women in the Cannabis Industry
Some people say that the marijuana industry offers women and minorities a chance at better representation. By comparison, established industries have more of a legacy of patriarchal power.
Comparatively, others point to women in marijuana’s declining influence as cannabis merges with other sectors. Between 2015 and 2017, the percentage of women who hold executive positions fell from 36 percent to a mere 26.9 percent. Though this is still higher than the national average of 23 percent, gender equality is still a long ways off.
As cannabis grows into a major industry, now is a pivotal time not to lose the industry’s characteristic diversity.
The First Woman CEO of a Public Cannabis Company
Not only is Darby Cox the CEO of Smoke Cartel, but she co-founded it. A few hours after Cox’ appointment, we spoke to Smoke Cartel’s new CEO.
“When we went public, we made the decision to switch roles as we thought it would be a little bit better suited to our personalities and our skill sets,” Cox explained.
Her skillset lies in understanding the modern way in which the consumer relates to cannabis. “You want to buy it from somewhere that’s fitting it to your lifestyle, that understands that what you’re doing isn’t a crime, that it’s apart of your routine, that it’s apart of your life, an enhancing feature, and not really a detriment,” she related.
Today, Darby Cox takes medical marijuana, but she didn’t always approve of weed. “I grew up where we called it the devil’s lettuce.”
Since then, Cox has completely changed her opinion of the herb and made legalization a lifelong cause. “I had a lot of internal stomach problems and organ issues,” she remembered. “I was on 25 different medications, and none of them were managing my pain. My partner was like you really need to try cannabis!”
Smoke Cartel Promotes Diversity
Though recent statistics in the cannabis industry show a diversity setback, Darby Cox is working hard to diversify the industry. “We’re going to make sure that our industry remains inclusive and remains a great forerunner in diversity. That’s part of what makes our community so phenomenal,” related the new CEO.
And this week, Savannah, Georgia, the company’s headquarters are located, just decriminalized cannabis. Cox’s appointment as the first woman CEO of a public cannabis company couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.