Jazmin Hupp spent two years and over $50,000 dollars traveling the country to research the cannabis industry, meeting the leading professionals and experts in all of the major marijuana markets.
“I was trying to figure out what’s important and where the opportunities are in the cannabis industry,” Hupp said. “The problem is, most people don’t have those two years and $50,000 to do that research.”
So Hupp, and her team at Women Grow — a national network for women professionals in the cannabis industry that Hupp co-founded with Jane West in 2014 — put together a leadership summit that condenses those two years of accumulated lessons into three days of “intense experiential learning.”
From February 3-5 in Denver, the Women Grow Leadership Summit will include intensive networking and educational workshops on topics relevant to women cannabis entrepreneurs, such as “Getting Female Founders Funded” and “How Women Will Lead the Transition from an Alcohol-Dominated World to a Cannabis-Enhanced Culture.” The summit will feature 55 experts who were asked to spend over 50 hours each preparing a 10 minute speech.
However, the summit is open to people of all gender preferences, and most of the talks will deal with the general legal, political, scientific and economic information that cannabis professionals need to navigate the emerging marketplace.
“The summit’s goal is to get as many women as possible into the cannabis industry,” said Hupp. “We have not taught women in our culture to be bold and go into borderline legal industries and take large risks, and we need a mechanism to welcome women into the industry proactively. This is Women Grow’s largest gesture to date of trying to get the largest number of women possible and give them the connections to get their first cannabis job and the education so that they can be the most effective.”
As the Green Rush sweeps across the nation, cannabis industry events are proliferating at a breakneck pace. The year 2016 will include a record number of marijuana business conventions, cultivation cups, and public festivals for cannabis enthusiasts. But only the Women Grow convention in 2016 will be specifically aimed at women in the cannabis industry, and Hupp argues that their convention is the only one that isn’t concerned with maximizing profits off the backs of the convention attendees.
“Most companies have the goal of turn as big of a profit as possible,” she said. “Our goal is educating and building community, so we spend every penny and more on the summit itself.”
The main day of the conference will take place in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, as part of Women Grow’s effort to make the summit as open and warm as possible.
“Women want to feel welcome and feel like there’s a place for themselves,” said Hupp. “This is an industry that is going to grow very quickly, so we need to recruit women, people of color, veterans, all of those communities that are not truly recognized in the cannabis industry, educate them, and give them the connections they need to succeed.”
Last year, the Women Grow Leadership Summit was limited to 120 female leaders, and it took place in a high mountain resort two hours outside of Denver. This year, the summit is open to 2,000 people, ranging from those who are “newcomers” looking into a job in the cannabis industry, “networkers” looking to expand their contacts, and “leaders” who will be involved in teaching the newcomers and networkers.
Also, because the summit will take place in Denver, arguably the marijuana capital of the country, the summit will be within walking distance of over a dozen dispensaries, including one to which Women Grow is providing a complimentary shuttle services.
“If you’re thinking of joining the cannabis industry in 2016,” Hupp said, “this is the best way to start your year.”
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