Women and Cannabis: A growing market
During the time of alcohol prohibition in the late twenties and early thirties, gangs, bootleggers, and the crime followed them were running rampant throughout the underground alcohol market. While lawmakers and religious leaders wanted to tighten the screws on prohibition, many women recognized this decline in society as the direct result of the prohibition laws themselves. While fighting for prohibition repeal, activist Pauline Sabin claimed lifting the prohibition on alcohol would actually help keep families intact by eliminating the illegal, black market which forced good people into the shadows creating the perfect breeding ground for corruption and violence.
History Repeating Itself
Now, nearly nine decades later, women are coming to the forefront once again to protect their families and their communities by helping to end cannabis prohibition and change the societal perceptions of cannabis consumers. Whether as a consumer, a caregiver, an activist, or an entrepreneur, women are taking over the cannabis industry by storm. In fact, women just may be shaping the future of the cannabis industry all together.
As Consumers – The Cannabis Consumers Coalition recently released the findings of its latest survey, showing women taking a 15% lead in respondents despite men being the more likely of the two to answer the online questions. However, women’s overall goals with cannabis consumption appear to be of a different nature than their male counterparts. Women tend to look to the cannabis industry to improve their health, vitality, and their libidos influencing manufacturers to produce more health-conscious products like lotions and creams, low-dosage edibles, and micro-dosed teas.
Women have been making the majority of purchasing and healthcare decisions in American households for many years, it only stands to reason that women are looking for safer, more natural ways to cure what ails them and their families. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from an anxiety disorder, and more likely to develop more than one mental disorder. This makes it easy to understand why Leafly reports, among their strains viewed more by women than men, uplifting sativa hybrids and calming high-CBD strains are at the top of the list.
As Caregivers – Since the beginning of time, women have been the nurturers, the teachers, the caregivers. No one will fault the exhausted mother of a child with pediatric epilepsy after they see the remarkable improvements in the children who have spent the majority, if not all, of their lives suffering from these debilitating seizures. Whether helping a parent suffering from cancer, helping their spouse end an opiate addiction, or helping themselves to find the peace they so need and deserve, the legal cannabis industry is providing more options for women who so desperately want to ease the suffering of another or themselves. In fact, women all over the world are starting to discover the medicinal benefits of the healing herb and they don’t care how many laws they have to break in order to care for their loved ones.
As Activists - Many women are starting to come forward and announce their support for the cannabis industry. Women like Celia Behar are telling their stories, so others cab understand the healing nature of cannabis and how it made her a better mother. After suffering from cancer herself, Melissa Etheridge actively works in the cannabis industry to provide hope and treatment for others. Jane West was fired after being seen vaping on CNBC, so she immersed herself in the industry and made it her mission to encourage other women to seek alternatives to alcohol and pharmaceuticals, as well as, encourage other women entrepreneurs to step forward to get involved. She and Jasmin Hupp started WomenGrow, a foundation to help connect women within the cannabis industry.
As Entrepreneurs – As a newly emerging industry, everyone is on the same playing field, so there’s no established glass-ceiling keeping women from reaching the top. In fact, in the cannabis industry, women hold 36% of CEO positions and 63% of other high-level positions according Marijuana Business Daily. This makes the rest of the business world pale in comparison with only 5% of top positions being held by women, and 25% in high-level positions. There is simply more opportunity for women in an emerging industry, and they are definitely cashing in with nothing standing their way.
Even celebrity women are stepping into the marijuana market. Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth have partnered together to bring cannabis products to the market specifically to help other women with menstrual pain and PMS. Willie Nelson’s wife, Annie, has also ventured into the arena creating her own line of gluten-free, vegan marijuana edibles.
Whether it’s attributed to a brand-new industry emerging so quickly no one has had the opportunity to build the glass ceiling yet, or it’s simply women seeing the opportunity to flourish, women are making their presence known. Putting more time and effort into understanding their healthcare options, researching natural remedies, and standing up to defend their rights against antiquated government policies and out-dated social stigmas, women are leading the way to legalization. Just as women helped repeal alcohol prohibition, women today are tired of having their families destroyed by disease and addiction and refuse to have their hands-tied by unsympathetic lawmakers any longer.
Cannabis-related businesses need to pay attention to the growing demographic of female cannabis consumers who are looking for more than just THC content in their products. As the stigmas start to wane and more women start to discover the miraculous benefits of marijuana in its many forms, the products women want are going to continue to shape the future market. Recognizing the increasing demand and providing products that cater more to the nurturing, health-conscious female market may be the key to success in the future of legal marijuana.
Women may be behind the curve in traditional industries and corporations historically run by men, but thanks to weed, women have an opportunity to blend the best of both worlds… taking care of the people we love and being successful in our careers.