As a newly formed industry, the cannabis space has more room for female advancement than other more established industries. Women in cannabis occupy more than 30 percent of leadership roles, and are changing the conversation around the plant as a wellness product and legitimate political issue. From branding to law, here are Jane Street’s top five picks for women making history in the cannabis industry.
An attorney at Harris Bricken, PLLC, Hilary Bricken also chairs the firm’s Canna Law Group, a cohort of business attorneys who focus on corporate, compliance, intellectual property, and consumer product issues in the cannabis industry. Bricken represents cannabis businesses of all sizes in multiple states on issues pertaining to licensing, commercial litigation, and so forth. In 2014, she was named one of the 100 most influential people in the cannabis industry. Bricken is also the editor of the Canna Law Blog.
As founder of Cannabis Feminist, Jessica Assaf leads an all-girls ganja empire changing the conversation around cannabis. By framing the plant as a wellness product, introducing newcomers to an array of cannabis products, and vetting the best brands in the industry, Assaf and her colleagues are bringing cannabis to new audiences and consumers. They’ve even been featured on MERRY JANE‘s new show Queens of the Stoned Age.
In August, the city of Los Angeles approved Cat Packer, formerly the California coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, to run the city’s new Department of Cannabis Regulation. Only 26 years old, Packer is widely praised by her colleagues, including city council president Herb Wesson, who’s called her a “trailblazer with deep policy knowledge and enthusiasm.” As LA’s pot czar, Packer has vowed “equitable cannabis policies that will serve as a model for the rest of America.”
A drug policy reformer, social worker, and cannabis expert, Amanda Reiman currently serves as the vice president of communications at Flow Kanna and secretary of the International Cannabis Farmers Association. Formerly the manager of marijuana law and policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, Reiman has also taught course at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare on substance abuse, drug policy, and LGBT social work. As a PhD, Reiman has stated that cannabis research is a woman’s work: “Make no mistake. The industry belongs to women. The cannabis plant is female, so much of the ways in which the plants interact with the environment and with the people has to do with nurturing the balance. I think it’s really our industry to claim.”
CEO of the eponymous lifestyle brand Jane West, West has been a longtime proponent of female involvement in the cannabis space. As cofounder of the national networking group Women Grow, West is one of the leading female voices in the industry. However she didn’t get into cannabis until 2013, after she’d already been a working mom in the corporate world living in Colorado. A cannabis feminist in her own right, West insists it’s important to get the industry right while it’s still fresh. “The legal cannabis sector is growing fast, and we don’t have much time before the white, male status quo takes hold,” she said.