The legal marijuana industry is so young that there’s still a chance to mold it and shape it into something other than big business as usual. That’s exactly what a group of entrepreneurial women in Vermont intend to do. As the state prepares for legalization to go into effect, women are meeting to start cannabis businesses in Vermont.
The Women of Cannabiz Learning Series
This week, there was a meeting of women interested in the legal marijuana industry in Vermont. Organized by a group called Heady Vermont, the meeting of women cannapreneurs was called Women of Cannabiz Learning Series.
This week’s conference was part of a larger series of events. In fact, Heady Vermont has put together a full line-up of women-centered cannabiz events that will stretch throughout the entire summer.
But this week’s event brought together a group of business-minded, cannabis-friendly women. The event featured speakers and training sessions. Many of them were taught by women who have already made moves into the legal cannabis industry.
The whole point of the event was to help women prepare to launch careers in Vermont’s forthcoming legal marijuana market. Starting July 1, it will be legal for adults to possess and consume recreational marijuana.
Some women participating at the conference were interested in the prospects of opening a dispensary. Others are getting involved with cultivation. Similarly, some participants were interested in learning how to market edibles and other cannabis products.
But regardless of the specifics, each aspect of the conference was focused on one main theme: train women to take leading roles in the burgeoning cannabis market.
Women and Legal Weed
The legal cannabis industry is blowing up. In fact, a report recently predicted that the cannabis industry would generate between $27 million and $33 million by 2022.
And women have already taken a commanding position in this rapidly growing industry. For example, in 2015 the Pew Research Center found that women held 36 percent of executive positions in the cannabis industry. At the time, that was the largest percentage of any sector in the economy.
Additionally, a study from November 2011 revealed that women are significant stakeholders in weed businesses. More specifically, the survey reported that women have majority ownership in 57 percent of all legal marijuana businesses.
These statistics were encouraging to many who hope to see the cannabis industry take on a more progressive bent. But there have also been some concerning data.
In particular, one report from August 2017 raised alarm that women could be getting squeezed out of the industry.
This report showed that the percentage of women execs in the marijuana industry was dropping. Specifically, it fell from 36 percent to 27 percent.
That number was still high compared to other segments of the economy. But it was still a huge drop within the marijuana market itself. Many remain worried that this drop could become a broader trend.
Fortunately, efforts like those being taken by Heady Vermont could keep women in leading roles. In fact, there are many women-oriented professional organizations and training events around the country. As the legal cannabis industry continues growing and taking shape, diversity is a key concern. And that includes other factors alongside gender, too. In particular, racial diversity has been a big focus for many, especially as the legal industry is already becoming dominated by white business owners.