Whoever came up with phrases like “It’s a man’s world” and “Men do it better” clearly didn’t work in the cannabis industry. In fact, it could be argued that women are poised to take over the cannabis world and we couldn’t be happier about it. Gone are the days of assuming that the owner or manager is a man. Women are starting up their mowers and taking aim at the Grass Ceiling, and we’re pretty stoked about it. With Women’s History Month right around the corner, we thought it would be fitting to spotlight some of the women that have made historic moves to revolutionize the cannabis industry at large. From blowing glass to growing grass, these women are changing the cannabis game for good!
Dani Girl – Based out of Eugene, Oregon, Dani Girl has been inspiring awe with her custom glass creations for over ten years now. She is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to lampworking skills but where she truly shines is in creative design. With pieces crafted after nostalgic cartoons like Pokemon and The Simpsons, she makes art that makes her feel good. At the end of the day, don’t we all want that? Aside from cute cartoon creatures, she has also explored other series in her glassblowing career such as a set of pieces that follow the phases of the moon. Regardless of whether you’re looking to scoop a fun piece that brings back childhood memories or perhaps one that better aligns you with the universe, look no further than Dani Girl.
Anja Charbonneau – Born in Canada, Anja had a dream to one day create cannabis content for the informed and culture conscious reader. Her dream was realized when she founded and launched Broccoli Magazine. Broccoli is far from your average weed magazine. With emphasis on art, culture, fashion, and of course, women making waves in the industry. When it comes to waves, Broccoli Magazine has made plenty that we’d love to ride. As if founding one of the coolest modern cannabis magazines wasn’t enough, Anja went above and beyond to create the very on-brand Floret Coalition. The Floret Coalition has gathered over 130 different cannabis businesses from throughout the industry to help fund and support black, Latinx, and indigenous communities that have historically been overly policed for cannabis use and possession. Keep making waves, Anja. Keep making waves.
Imelda Walavalker – When it comes to flower with staying power, Imelda and her brand Pure Beauty lead the pack. She’s not only a woman that cultivates cannabis in Los Angeles. She’s also hoping to grow minds at the same time. Her brand has two main focuses. There is the aesthetic, which for them means simplicity and elegance in packaging and products. But then there is the focus on environment and social consciousness. She implements sustainable growing practices and hopes that the brand, along with her outspoken advocacy for women in the industry will change hearts and open minds to what the future of cannabis could one day be. When it comes to a message like that, there’s only one way to describe it; Pure Beauty.
Mary Jane Rathbun – While you may have thought this entire piece was going to be about modern women who are currently making moves in the industry, no highlight of women’s achievements in the world of cannabis would be complete without mentioning this absolute pioneer. She was a nurse in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic. Seeing her patients suffering in unimaginable ways, she risked her freedom to bring them delicious and highly medicated brownies to ease their pain and suffering. This led to her arrest on three separate occasions and helped coin her nickname, “Brownie Mary.” While that may seem like a lot of trouble to go through for cannabis, Mary saw the future. In fact, she even helped get Proposition 215 passed in California, legalizing medicinal cannabis use. She also contributed to the first ever legal medical marijuana dispensary in the United States, the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. Here’s to you, Mary. Oh man. Now I really want a brownie.
Dr. Ester Fride – Alright, so maybe Ester doesn’t grow cannabis or own a cannabis business. Does that mean she can’t be an influential person in the growth of the industry? We think not. The fact is, Dr. Fride has made invaluable discoveries when it comes to the endocannabinoid system and nursing. She has also made discoveries in the realm of cannabinoid deficiency, which has launched new ways of thinking about cannabis in a medical sense. Her discoveries have helped kick start new research and her ongoing work in the field means that the future of cannabis is in good hands.
Elvy Musikka – We’ve all heard the rumors. Back in the day, some covert U.S. government program was created to cultivate and distribute cannabis, for free, to willing and tight-lipped volunteers. Well, we’re all a little too smart to believe that the government ever actually grew and sent American citizens big tins of cannabis every month. Right? Wrong. In fact, the government program did, and still does exist. Elvy happens to be one of the very last two people still enrolled in the government project. As per the original agreement, she receives 300 joints a month with the federal government’s full approval. But how and why? It’s called the United States Investigated New Drug program, and it was developed to determine which, if any benefits cannabis and other drugs may have on specific physical ailments. Elvy had suffered from vision impairment for years and after many failed surgeries her pain was becoming too much to bear. She turned to cannabis and to this day has not found another substance that can do what cannabis does for her pain, discomfort, and to improve her daily life. Her improvement as well as her unending advocacy has sparked conversations and legislation about the medicinal benefits of cannabis for decades and continues to do so. One thing is for sure. Those joints couldn’t be going to anyone more deserving.
While this is far from an exhaustive list of women who have changed and continue to change the face of the cannabis industry, we certainly hope that the longer version of the list continues to grow into the future. It is 2022. There is no grass or glass or any other kind of ceiling that women can’t break through or mow down. We look forward to seeing the positive changes that a more inclusive and socially conscious cannabis industry will bring about, and we thank the women who made it all possible and continue to do so.