Female Marijuana Pioneers Are Being Pushed Aside as Big Money Moves In

There are many fears about what will happen to the marijuana industry as big money moves in. And it turns out the first victim to corporatization is women.

Bloomberg recently published an article noting how the marijuana industry has become less inclusive for women in the last few years. Ironically, just two years ago, it looked like cannabis was incredibly welcoming to female entrepreneurs. In 2015, women made up 36 percent of executive roles in cannabis companies, which is a greater percentage than in small businesses nationwide. But only two years later, women make up only 27 percent of executive roles, a nine percent decrease.

But why has that number increased so greatly?

Bloomberg offers a few hypotheses as to why the sudden change. They note that there are incredible barriers to entering the marijuana industry, particularly when it comes to investment and raising capital. They noted a study earlier this year published by the Harvard Business Review found that male entrepreneurs are more likely to receive funding for their business than female entrepreneurs, even if their pitches are completely identical. This suggests that in places like Silicon Valley and Wall Street, where the marijuana industry is getting a lot of its investment nowadays, is unfairly biased towards male executives. 

Several marijuana executives interviewed by Bloomberg described incidents where they faced sexism and misogyny while attempting to procure investment for their businesses. They all seemed to agree that as more attention is paid to the marijuana industry by big investors, that will only increase.

But that doesn't mean the marijuana industry is hopeless for women. Unlike Wall Street or Silicon Valley, the marijuana industry in America is still relatively new and doesn't have as many restrictions or barriers to women as institutions that have existed for decades or centuries. 

“The marijuana industry is still primarily white male, but if the glass ceiling was 12 feet high in the banking industry, I think in marijuana it feels like it’s 20 feet high,” said Amy Andrle, a co-owner of a Colorado-based cannabis dispensary. “There’s just a lot of opportunity to grow and excel.”

(h/t Bloomberg)


Saying you work in cannabis is sure to raise some eyebrows. Some people might be curious, others might not take you seriously, and still others might ask how they can invest. These cannabis executives dish on the reactions they get when they say they work in the space, and how those reactions have evolved over the past 10 years.

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