Women Who Grow: A Spotlight on Women of the Cannabis Industry
It is Women’s History Month, and our industry has a problem! For one, way too many cannabis executives exclusively listen to Grateful Dead live recordings. Far more importantly, the female representation in our industry is woeful.
We would like to seize this opportunity to spotlight a few incredible organizations and the talented women who lead them. Through grit, determination, business acumen, expertise, and community support, these changemakers in the cannabis industry are paving the way for a new group of industry leaders.
These women and the businesses they’ve fought to build from the ground up will inspire future generations of powerful female growers, processors, and business owners.
Our favorite female owned and operated company is our neighbor to the north, Rair Systems. Michigan’s Rair Systems prides themselves on their cutting edge cultivation and distillation process, not to mention the knowledgeable and dedicated women who make it possible.
Finding the balance between top shelf flower and affordability, Rair’s products are elegant and accessible, providing rollers, bowl-packers, dabbers, and even edible aficionados with a consistently state of the art experience.
Rair’s flower is cultivated through a unique aeroponic growing process to ensure the best experience for the consumer, declaring on their website a goal to “bridge the gap between commercial and small batch cannabis flower.” The flower is preserved at its optimal state by our TerpLoc technology empowering Rair’s growers to deliver medicine as their cultivators intended.
The Michigan operation also highly values customer interactions and quality experiences that begin with seed and end with satisfaction, exclusively distributing their products through their own storefronts to ensure the consumer leaves with the best cannabis possible.
Cannabis doesn’t grow itself, and Rair utilizes the best and brightest of the industry for their product development and leadership team. Director of Cultivation, Ashley Hubbard, is a botanical geneticist by trade and a veteran of cannabis, previously leading three cultivation production teams throughout Denver, Colorado.
Director of Processing and Extraction, Marley Hodson, is a chemical engineer hailing from the pharmaceutical industry, where she was a medical researcher, bringing her experience to Rair to ensure the production of efficient and pure extractions.
Molly McFadden came to Rair with retail experience and the advantage of having run a state-licensed dispensary prior to taking the helm as Director of Retail Operations.
Together, with a team consisting mostly of women, Hubbard, Hodson, and McFadden lead in an industry that is overwhelmingly male. Each leader brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and determination to Rair that make them an organization worthy of attention and support. You can visit Rair in their Bay City and Muskegon locations, with many more storefronts coming soon to a Michigan city near you. You can check out their aesthetically pleasing website here and please give them a follow on Instagram.
In their 2021 Jobs Report, Leafly cited Black ownership in the cannabis industry as a major challenge to the industry’s future. Mary Pryor, co-founder of Cannaclusive, seeks to fix this problem. An industry inclusivity watchdog with the goal of facilitating fair representation of minority communities in the cannabis industry, Cannaclusive holds organizations accountable through a public list of minority-owned cannabis businesses, including nearly 500 that are Black-owned.
Leafly’s report points out–rightfully so–that despite Black Americans representing 13% of the U.S. population, they only represent 1.2 to 1.7% of the cannabis industry leaving enormous gaps to fill.
Mary Pryor began her cannabis journey on a search for a better treatment for Crohn’s Disease. “Without cannabis, I wouldn’t be where I am,” said Pryor in an interview with Healthline. Pryor, determined to carve out space for Black entrepreneurs in the cannabis world, brought Cannaclusive to life.
“We celebrate the cultures of this thriving community through curated experiences, groundbreaking insights, thoughtful content and dynamic visuals. We make it easier for brands to communicate with diverse audiences and ensure that minority consumers are not an afterthought, but a valued ally in the fight for legalization and destigmatization,” reads the Cannaclusive mission statement.
Through advocacy, visual art, and education, Pryor’s growing organization aims to destigmatize cannabis and create needed space for minority consumers to feel welcome and valued. You can follow their incredibly important work on their website and on Instagram.
The only women-owned cannabis dispensary chain in the state, Homegrown Oregon’s five locations rely on locally-sourced products that are both extremely affordable and high-quality.
Known for their integrity (take a hint, Randy Marsh) and hip-hop inspired atmosphere, the Salem hometown original was inspired in 2014 by founder, SuAnne McGlone, and her girlfriend, Tasia Rodgers. Alongside friends Jill Sorrels and Alicia Smith, the four women set out to create a brand that was uniquely Oregon and welcoming to all who experience it.
Covering most cardinal directions of Salem and expanding to Albany and Beaverton, Homegrown Oregon’s success hinges not only on their brand, but their dedicated advocacy and care for their community. Whether in their stores or on their Instagram, Homegrown embraces the diversity of our community and further normalizes the use of marijuana in a nation that has eagerly embraced cannabis for the past decade.