The 12 Days of Kushmas: 9 Ladies Leading
For the ninth day of Kushmas, my true love informed me about nine women (or groups of women) working to build an equitable cannabis industry!
From owning dispensaries, developing essential brands, providing invaluable resources to marginalized communities and more, these women are breaking glass ceilings and shaping the cannabis industry. This holiday season, consider doing what you can to support women in your life and in the cannabis space.
This trailblazer has taken it upon herself to be an advocate and educator for senior citizens who are interested in learning how to medicate with cannabis. At one time she was a principal for a Catholic school, but now she is a commissioner for aging in Alameda County and has been granted a license open a dispensary in Berkeley, which Taylor claims will be the first in the U.S. to focus on the needs of seniors. (For more on Sue Taylor, stay tuned for our upcoming “Medical Issue,” coming soon.)
The Dank Duchess
Having learned and studied under artisan hashmaker Frenchy Cannoli, The Dank Duchess has become a force of her own in the cannabis world. She not only makes world class hashish, she also cultivates eclectic strains from California and Spain on her rooftop in East Oakland, writes about cannabis for various publications and travels internationally to procure top notch seeds for her grow.
Jessica Tonani of Verda Bio & Basic Jane
This brainy powerhouse is the co-founder of Verda Bio (a cutting-edge bio-tech company sequencing the cannabis genome) and Basic Jane (a line of plant-based topicals and essential oils) — two amazing brands that help in the science world, as well as the wellness industry. Based in Seattle, Tonani has helped write the legislation that allows cannabis research businesses to exist in Washington state.
The Hood Incubator team
Providing equity and education is the priority for founders Biseat Horning and Lanese Martin, who — along with their co-founder Ebele Ifedigbo — have created an organization that’s committed to building economic and political power for people of color in the cannabis industry. Through community organizing, policy advocacy and economic development, they’ve created resources like an apprenticeship program and are working with the Oakland City Council to implement the nation’s first cannabis equity program.
Priscilla Vilchis of Cali Premium Produce
With preliminary approval for her dispensary Cali Premium Produce in Los Angeles, Vilchis is set to become the first Latina to receive licenses for growing and manufacturing marijuana products in California. As the CEO of a successful dispensary in Las Vegas called “Queen of the Desert,” Vilchis has hopes of expanding her brand and working on educating older generations in the Hispanic community about the benefits of cannabis.
April Pride of Van Der Pop
Sensing a need for a brand that focuses on the lifestyle needs of women in cannabis, Pride developed an online brand that offers elegant wares and products along with female-focused content. The company just recently announced their partnership with Canadian licensed producer WeedMD to launch Van Der Pop Flower, their own line of branded strains.
Dr. Rachel Knox & Dr. Jessica Knox
Aside from making it on the cover of Marijuana Venture this year, these two sisters founded the American Cannabinoid Clinics (along with their doctor parents), which has four locations in Oregon. The sisters also created a website called TheCannaMDs, where they offer resources for clinicians, advocates and patients who need information about cannabis as medicine from licensed physicians. Rachel Knox is also the medical chair for the Minority Cannabis Business Association.
Jacqueline McGrane was recently featured in OUT FRONT Magazine as queer woman who is shattering the cannabis industry’s glass ceilings through her work as the owner of Cannabinoid Consulting in Colorado. The MIT and Colorado University-trained biologist makes award-winning hash that won at the 2013 THC Championship for Best Tested Hash, which tested above 98 percent THC. She is also featured in “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed,” a documentary about women ganjaprenuers.
Andrea Unsworth, Amber Senter, Sunshine Lencho & Nina Parks of Supernova Women
These four trailblazers founded Supernova Women in 2015, but this year the organization has been picking up steam following their interview with NPR earlier this fall. Based in Oakland, California but with a national focus, they offer free educational seminars, host “expungement” clinics and provide resources to assist women of color in becoming shareholders in the cannabis economy. They’re also each been involved in other cannabis ventures, including collectives (StashTwist and Mirage Medicinal) and a brand that focuses on indica-dominant products (Leisure Life).
TELL US, are you working towards building an equitable cannabis industry?