Not all news is bad news when it comes to women in weed. Though the percentage of women in weed—especially in executive positions—keeps declining, women have built some of the most innovative companies in all sectors of legal cannabis. From dispensaries to weed tech, edibles to cannabis analytics, here are women-run weed companies shaping the future of cannabis.
Green Fire Genetics
Though the percentage of women-run weed companies has gone down, Green Fire Genetics, a cannabis grow in Northern California, shows that there is space for young women in cannabis. Though its founder Alaina Austin is only in her early twenties, she knows more than most about growing weed. She has bred many of her own strains, including her favorite: the Green Fire OG.
But Austin didn’t open a marijuana grow on 360 acres of California soil overnight. She’s been learning how to grow good weed from her family for her whole life. She was even responsible for a 12-light grow at age 14.
New Frontier Data
True to their name, this cannabis analytics company is the top source of impartial data on legal weed’s evolution. How much did the edibles industry grow in Colorado in 2017? How much has the cost of weed decreased in Oregon between 2015 and 2018? New Frontier Data has the answers, which often come along with compelling graphics. They’re cited everywhere, including in Green Rush Daily and Forbes, making New Frontier one of the women-run weed companies you should be watching.
Giadha Aguirre de Carcer founded New Frontier Data back in 2014. This woman in weed also has significant clout outside of cannabis industry. The Washingtonian listed her in the Women to Watch section of their “Most Powerful Women in Washington” list.
Whoopi & Maya
The weed for women market is booming, and Whoopi & Maya is at the forefront. Not only does Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth’s brand have some serious celebrity clout, but they’ve created some award-winning products for menstrual cramps. Whoopi & Maya Soak, an Epsom salt bath soak designed to relieve PMS was one of High Times‘ Best Topicals of 2017. Additionally, Savor, their raw cacao spread infused with THC was one of last year’s best edibles.
Not only is Whoopi & Maya a successful and award-winning cannabis edibles and topicals company, but its made by some of the most prominent women in weed. One of the many ways cannabis can help women is through its ability to relieve PMS. This can mean assuaging painful cramps, like those that afflict Whoopi Goldberg’s granddaughter, for whom she created the brand, and reducing the mood changes that accompany shifting hormone levels.
ParagonSpace is Los Angeles’ first cannabis co-working space. Located in West Hollywood, Paragon will open this summer to weed entrepreneurs looking for conference rooms, offices, desks and networking opportunities.
They are also pioneers when it comes to cryptocurrency. In order to circumvent the difficult laws surrounding cannabis and banking, ParagonSpace has developed own cryptocurrency, ParagonCoin, as payment for rent, snacks and anything tenants could want to buy there. For that reason, the company describes itself as the “leading blockchain tech platform for the cannabis industry.”
CEO Jessica VerSteeg founded ParagonSpace in 2017 after starting her own luxury medical cannabis delivery service and working as a model. Not only does ParagonCoin provide businesses with a way to pay for office space, but it allows businesses to keep an unalterable record of transactions, thus giving them credibility.
In the sea of Colorado dispensaries, carving out your own brand can be difficult. But this Colorado and Illinois dispensary has set itself apart from the pack through cannabis activism and business acumen. Founded by Meg Sanders in 2010, MiNDFUL is a pioneer not only in the Colorado cannabis industry but in the nation, making Sanders one of Colorado’s noted women in weed.
Since then, CEO Sanders and her team have established a reputation as one of Colorado’s premier dispensaries. There are currently 5 dispensaries, which cater to medical and recreational users. As their name would indicate, MiNDFUL is dedicated to growing—weed and as a business—responsibly and ethically. This means prioritizing the customer in interactions and services. For instance, they have an ever-changing weekly strain menu.
Stock Pot Images
The worlds of weed, journalism and Instagram have converged to create a huge demand for high-quality weed pictures. With a great URL and a unique concept—premium photos of weed—Stock Pot Images has emerged as a leader in cannabis imagery. They’ve replaced low-quality photos of dry herb with interesting and crisp ones of weed cooking, marijuana grows and anything you can imagine.
Founder Ophelia Chong is equally passionate about photography and cannabis. Before starting her own company, Chong worked with Sony, Interview magazine and prominent film festivals like Sundance. After her sister contracted a severe condition which she began treating with cannabis, Chong became an advocate and cannabis educator. Not only does this image database have some killer weed photos, but it’s changing the way weed appears in the media and, though it, altering public perception.
MJ Freeway is the leading seed to sale tracking software used in the cannabis industry. This means that it keeps track of everything you need to run a profitable business. For a dispensary, this could mean marketing, profit analytics, staff performance and customer records. A grow would need to monitor how quickly their plants are growing, how they’re testing and how quickly they mature.
According to MJ Freeway, 40 percent of existing weed companies use their program. This makes them one of the leading voices in cannabis data, and one of the most necessary tools on the market.
The company was founded by two women: Jessica Billingsley and Amy Poinsett. With their combined software and tech industry expertise, Billingsley and Poinsett created the first software specific to the cannabis industry. Today, they also work as CEO and Chair of the Board, respectively, making MJ Freeway one of the top women-run weed companies.
Want to start a marijuana business or maintain profits but aren’t sure how? Dispensarypermits.com, an institution when it comes to state-specific regulations, can help you do both those things. Sara Gullickson founded her company in 2010 and has experience with dispensary, transport, cultivation and processing license application processes. She’s also a founding member of Women Grow, one of the biggest cannabis networks.
As cannabis expands at a rapid pace, Dispensarypermits.com has added investment opportunities for investors and businesses in need of capital. This can mean financing plant touching or non-touching businesses, meaning ancillary companies that don’t actually grow weed. Either way, they’ve helped many start their own women-run weed companies.
You may know Smoke Cartel as the first publicly traded weed company with a female CEO. Darby Cox and Sean Geng co-founded the online headshop in 2014. Today, it’s one of the most successful weed accessory retailers around. Whether you’re interested in dab rigs, vaporizers bongs or a new grinder, Smoke Cartel has you covered.
With more people smoking weed than ever before, Smoke Cartel is set to even better. Cox also understands her modern client base. “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 told Green Rush Daily.
Ardent created the first at home decarboxylator: the Nova. Decarboxylation is the process of freeing carbon dioxide from cannabis through a chemical process, meaning through heat. Instead of standing by the stove and stirring your cannabutter or cannabis oil while it decarboxylates, you can activate the THC in your bud by putting it in the Nova and letting it work for an hour and 15 minutes. It will save you money, time, and allow you to dose accurately.
Shanel Lindsay is the founder and president of Ardent. With Massachusetts Cannabis Research and Testing, Lindsay developed a product so she could decarboxylate her weed at home. Now, she runs one of our top women-run weed companies to watch, especially in light of Massachusetts legalization.
In the edibles business, one of the sectors of the cannabis industry with the most women-run weed companies, Treat Yourself stands apart. This leading cannabis brand started off baking CBD tarts. Today, they have a body care line that includes moisturizer and eye serum and offer CBD tinctures. Treat Yourself also has a blog that educates women on personal care and hemp.
Founders Leone Posod and Cindy Pinzon co-founded Treat Yourself in 2015. Pinzon learned about cannabis through her work as a healing coach while health issues lead Posod away from police work, and towards medical cannabis. Today, they’re on Complex‘s list of the 15 of the Most Powerful Women In Weed.
Women-Run Weed Companies To Watch
Despite gender disparities in all sectors of the cannabis industry, more women then we could include on this list are shaping cannabis and its ancillary industries. As the fastest growing industry in the nation, legal weed is rife with opportunities for women— in sectors ranging from cultivation to big data—to finally secure long-sought representation.