Breaking the Mold: How Women are Changing Up the Weed industry
From fashion to regulation, women are restructuring the way we think about weed. In America, it has been traditional for men to possess the upper hand in basic business. As the cannabis industry pushes forward and marijuana legalization expands, women are challenging this male dominant tradition. More women are coming out in support of cannabis and its benefits through consumption and entrepreneurial endeavors. Today, there is more opportunity than ever for women to show their talent against their male counterparts. Check out these five women who were courageous enough to publicly say yes to cannabis.
Power to the Purse
From jewelry to handbags, marijuana is popping up in fashion everywhere. Founder Jeanine Moss saw this as an opportunity to better the market by introducing her line of high-end aroma masking handbags called AnnaBis. Moss wanted to create a stylish handbag that could mask the smell of marijuana while also staying fashionable and convenient. Moss grew up in Venice, CA where smoking a joint was “no different than drinking a beer,” according to her website. She moved to NYC in the 1980s and found secrecy to be a major trend in the maternal society of consuming cannabis. Disliking the frustrating act of rummaging through one’s purse looking for a lighter or stash, she decided to create a better solution for carrying your green. AnnaBis was born. Retailing at upwards of $300, AnnaBis is not an ordinary stash satchel. It comes with Aroma-Bloc technology and multiple pockets for convenience. Jeanine talks about the importance of personal experience in an interview with Money Morning. “Too many people are experiencing the benefits, and nothing can stop the momentum of personal experience, which is increasing rapidly.”
Jacquie Aiche, another big name in weed fashion, takes a new spin on traditional cannabis accessories. Instead of printed cannabis tees and grungy sweaters , Aiche creates beautiful high-end jewelry featuring pot leaf gold diamond earrings, necklaces and more. Big name celebrities like Rihanna, Diane Kruger, Kelly Oxford, Kate Mara, Alessandra Ambrosio and Miley Cryrus have been seen wearing Aiche designs. She launched her line in 2005 with the desire to combine her love for marijuana and all things that glitter. “Look, there’s a lot of jewelry out there with a pot leaf charm, but I always strive to make pieces that are truly special,” Aiche told the Cannabist. “The symbol obviously makes a lot of people happy — and so do gold and diamonds.” You can find her jewelry in participating jewelry locations in Colorado and California.
The stigma around cannabis is ever changing in the world of business. Sheryl Shuman, founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, is living proof. Shuman founded the club in 1996 to serve as a sophisticated experience of consuming and purchasing cannabis and cannabis products. Known to many as the “Martha Stewart of Cannabis,” Cheryl Shuman Inc. has product placement in FX”s Wilfred, CBS News, The New Ricki Lake Show, and more. Shuman also lectures internationally about seed to sale and intricate anatomy of the cannabis plant and is currently working toward film, television, book and lecturing deals. With the help of her sister, Aimee Shuman, Cheryl Shuman Inc. now manages $100 million funding facility for the investment of cannabis. According to Shuman’s website, Beverly Hills Cannabis Club is the only female owned and operated company that is a family business.
To many, the top major female player in the weed industry is Dr. Lakisha Jenkins. As a member of the American Herbalist Guild, Dr. Jenkins puts her naturopathic doctorate to use by combining over 500 varieties of herb with cannabis, treating multiple medical conditions. Jenkins says her passion comes from her daughter, Kiona, who was diagnosed with two different types of brain tumors in 2002. Unfortunately Kiona passed away in 2012 at the age of eleven, but it hasn’t stopped Dr. Jenkins from exploring new ways herbs and cannabis can combine to battle disease. Competing against the white middle class as an african american female for a place in the industry can be difficult. Dr. Jenkins describes the courage you must possess to be successful. “There’s a privilege that is associated with being a white male in this country, you don’t have that same type of fear that other minority groups or other people do and you’re more in a position to take a risk in jumping into this industry.”
Laura Harris is another name highly affiliated with the colorado cannabis community. As Executive Director of Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, Harris works to make sure cannabis rules and regulations keep consumers safe in her state. After working 30 years as the leading director for Colorado’s Liquor Enforcement Division, Harris is devoted to keeping a strong foundation for marijuana regulation. “[Cannabis] is something that the majority of the public thinks is relatively safe when used responsibly,” says Harris. “There is much to be gained by creating a legal structure. It’s not going to go away. Re-living that piece of history again would be surreal.”
Understanding the risks these women have taken is highly commendable. By developing sophistication and success, they have paved the way for equality in cannabis business. It is motivating to see such strong women show the world anything is possible in this new cutthroat industry where men must compete on the same level for success.
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