Women of Cannabis formally registered as an LLC this year, after a passion project quickly grew to a full-fledged business. The three women who started the company were friends in the industry who decided to create a by-women, for-women event after MJBizcon in 2021. More female-forward cannabis events followed, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. There was a demand there.
The founders, Marissa, Kailey, and Katie met when they all worked for Big Pete’s Treats, a cannabis edibles company that specializes in infused cookies. Kailey and Katie work there still, and Marissa is a freelance consultant in cannabis. Each has at least ten years experience in the California cannabis industry working for various companies in various roles, and throughout that time they say they experienced the difficulty of being treated differently, insulted, and overlooked simply because they were women.
Creating an inviting environment for women in a male-dominated industry might seem like an uphill battle, but Women of Cannabis have succeeded in galvanizing a community of like-minded people. Each event has been more successful than the last. When a recent event in San Francisco brought even more attendees than the 150 tickets sold, Marissa explains “we ended up with over 300 people showing up. And I just remember at one point, we all were like, do we shut this down or we just roll with it? And then we’re like, this is a good problem, let’s just roll with it.”
A typical Woman of Cannabis event is immediately recognizable as something different than your average sesh. “We curate this feminine environment, a safe space, and when women come in, they feel comfortable, we’re greeting them, we’re telling them to make themselves at home and let us know if they need anything,” Kailey explains.
“We always want women to leave our events feeling better than when they entered,” Katie says. “At our last event, we had an amazing flower bar where every girl got to take home their own bouquet. We had multiple women come up to us that night saying that that was the first bouquet of flowers they had gotten in a very long time. And to us, that was so special.”
The three women view their shared experience as one of their organization’s greatest strengths. Marissa explains, “between the three of us ladies, we have about 30 combined years in the cannabis industry. So our connections and our network are priceless.”
The women strive to use the events to facilitate networking to help women in cannabis network and advance in their careers.
“What’s so amazing is that our events are a pool of so many different types of women, men, people from all walks of life” Kailey explains, “And it’s really great because regardless of whatever level of experience or position of the industry you’re in, we curate safe space and that’s really so we can learn from each other, build that community, and also build empowerment for women that may want to move up in the C-level positions or executive positions,” she said. “It’s really a beautiful experience to see how the room flows so naturally and organic and no one ever feels excluded.”
The mission of the group is to fill a need in the industry that has long been overlooked, namely, groups of women supporting other women in cannabis.
Kailey says “We feel like it’s really essential to recognize that historically, the cannabis industry has been dominated by men, and we believe by bringing these women together that we can support one another, we can share knowledge, we can build culture, and we can work towards a more equitable community.” It is important to the group to create spaces that foster dialog and empower women to seek out higher level positions in the industry. Kailey continues, “we just feel like it’s time to give women that empowerment.”
Empowerment includes shouting out fellow organizations with like minded goals. Kailey explains, “we love seeing any women in our industry building up the ladies around us. There’s Blunt Brunch, who have been great supporters of us. Women Grow, Supernova Women, Dope Women Network, Good Women, Good Weeds. We want to lift everyone up with us.”
Sponsors have stepped up to make the events fun and profitable, and to provide amenities to guests, including generous gift bags.
Recurring sponsors have included Binski, “who’ve been there since day one.” Coastal Sun, Puffco, I-Spire. “We’ve had a lot of recurring love for sure.” Katie also notes how their own company Big Pete’s “definitely helped get Women of Cannabis off the ground in the beginning.”
Surprisingly, “A lot of our biggest supporters are men.” Marissa points out, “A lot of the brands and a lot of the people that are willing to put their dollars behind us and help us be the success that we are by sponsoring some of our events are men, and they’re really showing up, especially in cannabis. And I do want to point out that there is a lack of female leadership in cannabis, but we are seeing a lot of supportive men.”
What can someone expect at a Women in Cannabis event? Marissa sums it up nicely “great energy, great food, a lot of weed and high vibes. It’s just very low pressure, and it’s a great place for people to come and share resources.”