Often assumed to be a “dude-centric” industry, we must now acknowledge that some of cannabis’ newest leaders are female. According to Marijuana Business Daily, 27% of executive positions in the cannabis industry are filled by women. Even more interesting, female participation in the industry as consumers of cannabis almost doubled in 2018. It’s high time we recognize the unique perspective women bring to the world of cannabis, with the potential to explore and develop new products, this shift could be a catalyst that could drive real growth in the industry.
Whether they’re the leaders of cannabis companies/organizations or developing cannabis products for the female market (women know what women want, right?) these women are certainly leaving their mark on the budding cannabis industry and breaking the grass ceiling. Here are a few female names leading the charge:
Trulieve, Kim Rivers
Kim Rivers is the CEO of Trulieve Cannabis (CSE: TRUL) (OTCPK: TCNNF), the largest fully licensed medical marijuana company in the state of Florida. Previously, Rivers ran successful businesses in both the finance and real estate industries and has also spent many years as a lawyer specializing in mergers and acquisitions for large companies. Her time at Trulieve has been impressive and her experience has made her the ideal person to steer Trulieve through the complicated cannabis legal landscape.
Trulieve develops its own cannabis products in-house and distributes their products in their own Trulieve branded dispensaries.The selection of products are available in a variety of delivery methods, including full flower cannabis, concentrates, tinctures, topical creams, vaporizers, and more. According to their website, the products are designed to help alleviate seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms, pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and other symptoms associated with serious medical conditions such as cancer, PTSD, and AIDS.
Since becoming CEO of Trulieve in 2015, Rivers has helped open 27 Trulieve dispensaries in Florida, further proving the brisk growth pace of the company. The company sells between 60-70% of the states overall volume, with more than 2,100 physicians ordering product in the state of Florida alone. Rivers also helped Trulieve acquire dispensaries in California and Massachusetts. Trulieve is officially listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘TRUL’ and is currently one of very few operationally profitable cannabis stocks.
Source: CNBC YouTube
Veteran’s Ananda Inc., Sarah Stenuf
Sarah Stenuf, served 4 years honorably in the U.S. Army until she was medically discharged for epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To cope with her pain she had started abusing drugs and alcohol, leading to her becoming suicidal. However, when she went to dual-diagnosis programs and facilities, she was overly medicated with antidepressants, sleeping aids, and epilepsy medications. Instead of being a solution to the problem, the pills made her social and psychological issues worse. Sarah started transitioning from these medications to cannabis and CBDs which dramatically changed her quality of life.
Inspired by her own experiences, Stenuf founded Veterans Ananda Inc., a soon to be 501(c)(3) non-profit homestead and retreat for veterans, first responders, and their families. The homestead and retreat will be on 68 acres of land in upstate New York and will serve as a fully-functioning farm as well as a place for treatment. The retreat will have tiny homes for veterans to stay in while being treated and participating in the programs. The programs involve traditional and non-traditional treatments and therapies including cannabis. In 2018 Stenuf received her first batch of cannabis-rich hemp seeds. According to Honeysuckle magazine, “Her hemp crop will be the first DEA-licensed hydroponic hemp grown in New York State.”
Stenuf has since spoken at various events across the country to promote legalization of cannabis and share the positive effects cannabis can have on military personnel.
Kikoko, Jennifer Chapin and Amanda Jones
After witnessing a close friend face the harsh effects of cancer therapy, Jennifer Chapin, along with her co-founder Amanda Jones were inspired to launch cannabis-infused tea company, Kikoko in 2014. Whereas most cannabis products are positioned for the more dude-centric or millennial clientele, Chapin and Jones’s products target a different demographic, one that intersects older women with wellness. Unusual for the industry, Kikoko products are actually positioned toward women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. The cannabis-infused teas answer the prayers of many older women who desired low-dose cannabis products for issues like anxiety, sleep, and sexual libido, an alternative to using alcohol and pharmaceuticals to cope with these issues.
The hot tea products contain varying degrees of cannabis, usually between three and ten milligrams of high-grade cannabis. Described on their website, the teas are organically grown, free of pesticides and toxins, fat-free, with no weedy taste. Their clever cannabis-infused herbal tea products include: Tranquili-tea for sleep and relaxation, Positivi-tea for mood and joy, Sympa-tea for pain and anxiety, and Sensuali-tea is for passion and play.
Kikoko organizes “high tea parties” a few times a month allowing for women to network and use the events as a forum to educate women on the benefits of cannabis consumption and reduce misinformation. Chapin and Jones hope to eventually open tea houses where people can enjoy the benefits of their Kikoko teas. Currently, Kikoko teas can be found in dispensaries exclusively in California.
Quim Rock, Cyo Ray Nystrom and Rachel Washtien
Co-founded by Cyo Ray Nystrom and Rachel Washtien, Quim Rock (Quim is an archaic; taboo slang term from the 17th century for vaginas or vulvas) is a self-care line that creates vaginal products including creams and intimate oils that use the power of cannabis. Nystrom a consumer of cannabis for years, was heavily affected by cannabis prohibition when her father was detained for non-violent cannabis crimes in the early nineties. However, in 2015, Nystrom saw an opportunity when Governor Jerry Brown signed the MCRSA (Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act). She was inspired to start the company by the fact that the type of cannabis consumer she felt she was, wasn’t represented in the space.
Quim Rock’s line of products are designed for people with persistent vaginal health issues, creating happy quims and better sex with natural formulas. The intimate oil intensifies climax, enhances natural lubrication, and increases libido. Described on their website as, “products for the love of vaginas”, the company’s products prove that use of cannabis topically has the ability to intensify sensations, heighten pleasure, and help with the most stubborn of vaginal issues.
Often told by men that her business is niche, Nystrom has a clever reply, “over half the world has a vagina, how can this be a niche business?” Nystrom notes the shift in venture capitalist attitudes, many now leaning into investing in companies even when they can’t personally relate to the products i.e. for women, people of colour, and LGBTQ communities. Quim Rock has secured over 250 million dollars in seed funding and has distribution across California where the products are exclusively available.
If there is someone you think we missed don’t worry we plan on making part two. There are so many great females in the cannabis industry. Send us an email or reach out on social media to let us know who should be included in the next article.