Cannabis has been a male-dominated industry, which can be observed in a majority of marketing campaigns for cannabis products. The issue of course is that women make up half of the patient population, and have been receiving inadequate amounts of attention from the industry as a whole. SF Evergreen published their fourth issue with a focus on the increasing number of women entering the cannabis industry and assuming leadership roles in the public conversation. This article intends to investigate the emerging success of women in the cannabis industry, which is a necessary step for the future of legitimate cannabis.
Cannabis Marketing: Sexuality and Feminine Alienation
The increasing number of cannabis production companies that are owned and operated by females will continue to improve the cannabis conversation as a whole. The macho marketing tactics that have plagued cannabis do not appeal to women in general, leading many entrepreneurial women to found companies that stress the holistic nature of the medicine, rather than the image of a bikini-clad model holding a cannabis product. The common marketing concept that “sex sells” has been imported from other consumable industries (like beer, wine, and spirits) and does not account for the benefits that should be stressed in a medical industry. Women have the opportunity to redefine the ways in which cannabis is marketed to the general public, and separate cannabis from industries singularly promoting sexuality in their branding and advertisements.
Women Grow Connects Like-Minded Females in the Cannabis Industry
Women Grow (womengrow.com) is one group in particular that provides a multitude of resources for women in cannabis. With over twenty chapters across the country, Women Grow organizes events where industry connections are fostered on information and inspiration. These symposiums allow for successful businesswomen to impart knowledge, confidence, and experience on others hoping to enter the cannabis industry. As we approach the end of cannabis prohibition, organizations like Women Grow will be increasingly important to a balanced cannabis industry. There is currently a very condescending tone surrounding the future of women in cannabis, as the majority of farms, production companies, and dispensaries are operating under the direction of men. However, the cannabis industry is certainly at a tipping point, and the time is ripe for women to connect and build organizations that appropriately represent female patients, from a female perspective. Women Grow provides substantial opportunities for women to collaborate as entrepreneurs, and develop brand messaging that appeals to the needs of women.
Success Stories of Women Improving the Business of Cannabis
Madame Munchie is great example of female-driven success in the cannabis industry. In January of 2014, Kim and Ashley co-founded their edible company with the idea that cannabis edibles produced with a purposefully milder dose would allow patients to enjoy the food, rather than just a novelty consumption method. This devotion to quality almost immediately paid off, earning Madame Munchie the Best Edible at the 2014 San Francisco Cannabis Cup. These two women quickly proved that potency can be just as marketable as providing a delicious and functional product.
Auntie Dolores was founded in 2008 by Julianna Carella in the San Francisco Bay Area. The name Auntie Dolores is in itself a clever reference to the Latin term for no pain, which is roughly anti-dolore. The Auntie Dolores philosophy promotes a legitimate and connected cannabis industry, complete with self-regulation and business ethics. The main points include: health freedom, cannabis and super-foods, gourmet experience, responsible consumption, environmental focuses, and thoughtful leadership.
The relationship between Hepburns and French Laundry Extracts truly displays the potential of women re-establishing cannabis marketing priorities. Hepburns prides themselves on being a “lady-run collective,” providing unique pre-rolled joints featuring high-quality flowers mixed with award-winning water hash from French Laundry Fine Concentrates (also founded by women).
Jill, aka MzJill, is a co-founder of the famous TGA Seeds, and is responsible for breeding the beloved strain JillyBean (Orange Velvet x Space Queen). TGA Seeds was formed in 2003 by Subcool and MzJill, and Jill herself has been the high-profile cultivator representing women in the cannabis farming and breeding community for over a decade.
The future of the cannabis community may very well depend on brands that can be universally appealing, and hopefully consumers will recognize the quality and ethics of those companies that do not have to resort to sexuality in order to sell their products.