Cannabis popularity across the country is growing every day. The passage of the recreational and medical cannabis measures on the 2020 ballots of various states speaks volumes. When it comes to the world of cannabis, we tend to focus solely on the plant. The buds and their various compounds get all of the attention and credit. We tend to forget about the people behind the plant and the industry. Here, we’re going to focus on some of the most influential and inspirational women in cannabis and their impact.
Jessica Billingsley is the founder of Akerna, the first publicly-traded company on NASDAQ that’s owned and operated entirely by women. As a tech guru, she developed a revolutionary seed-to-sale monitoring and regulatory compliance system. The system keeps track of seed-to-sale travel and ensures compliance with state regulations the whole way.
Wanda James is the founder and CEO of Simply Pure, the very first black-owned legal cannabis business in the country. A military veteran, James built her empire in Denver, her storefront located in the Highland area. While building her business with her partner, she remains a strong advocate for equity and empowering other black-owned businesses to do the same.
Chanda Macias, Ph.D. is the CEO of Women in Grow, which is the largest network of cannabis professionals in the United States and Canada. The organization aims to kickstart more than one thousand women-owned cannabis businesses and currently acts to connect leaders in all areas of the industry. She also owns National Holistic, a medical dispensary that works to help patients find the best cannabis products for their individual needs.
Founder and CEO of MATTIO Communications, Rosie Mattio has helped numerous small cannabis businesses become industry giants. She started her business herself in 2004 and it was voted the Number One cannabis firm by Green Market Report. With more than 25 marquee cannabis clients, she has dominated the space and helped to propel the industry forward.
The CEO and co-founder of Quim, Cyo Nystrom forged a more unconventional path in the cannabis industry. She and her co-founder Rachel Washtein have created a line of sex-positive female health products. She’s very open and honest about how sex affects the bodies of women and how cannabis can help take care of the most sensitive area. While her openness might seem unusual to many, she has started a much-needed conversation that no woman should feel ashamed to have.
Kristi Knoblich Palmer
Not all that long ago, the edibles market left quite a bit to be desired. Between inaccurate dosing and poor branding, infused foods suffered quite a bit until women like Kristi Knoblich Palmer came along. The co-founder of Kiva Confections, Kristi, and her partner set about looking for a way to improve the market when they landed on gourmet chocolate. Their premium infused chocolate bars are now one of the most recognizable and best-selling brands in the industry.
These are just a few of the incredible women in cannabis that are paving the way for the future. As use becomes more mainstream, it will be interesting to see just where that road goes.