One of Angela Pih’s favorite aspects of the cannabis industry is its velocity. What she’s referring to is the “incredibly exciting” speed of bringing new products to market within months. With extensive experience across retail, consumer packaged goods and cannabis, Pih is head of marketing for StateHouse Holdings, a vertically integrated California-based cannabis enterprise. From the moment she engages you in conversation, it’s quite evident the woman knows what she’s talking about.
One industry trajectory Pih isn’t a fan of is the dramatic decrease in the number of women in the C-Suite holding leadership positions. Over the last year, she says, many women have either been pushed out or simply burned out.
“Everybody’s struggling right now,” Pih says, naming the challenges of over-taxation and overregulation as particularly responsible for the woeful decline in women executives. “As companies become leaner, many women are trying to weather the storm.”
With fewer women in leadership roles, Pih is eager to support other women and nurture the next generation of female executives and leaders in cannabis. “What are we doing to cultivate that level of expertise so that they can sustain the challenges and growth within this industry?” Pih asks. “We all talk about it, but are we doing anything about it? Actions speak louder than words.”
Pih says she feels lucky when it comes to her own experience as a leader, as she’s been widely respected and supported. However, she acknowledges that if women aren’t in the founder role or in the CEO’s office, it can be “very challenging for women to keep within the decision-making roles of a company.”
For other women wanting to move into cannabis, Pih says it’s important to be confident and to know your worth.
“People get very excited about joining a cannabis company because it’s exciting and they allow themselves to accept roles that are maybe below what their expertise is—and maybe below the kind of compensation they should have,” Pih says. “Historically, women aren’t as good at negotiating as men, especially when it comes to their salary compensation. I always say to women to know what they’re worth. You’re going to bring something to the table and it’s important to stand up for that.”
Legacy growers and small farmers play an important role at StateHouse Holdings. Pih spearheaded an initiative that ensures shelf space for small craft sungrown farmers in StateHouse-owned dispensaries, including history-making Urbn Leaf West Hollywood—the first adult-use dispensary to open in Los Angeles’ fabled Sunset Strip.
“There are fewer and fewer legacy farmers and craft growers because they’ve been unable to operate,” says Pih, who reveals she wants to “support these farmers, preserve their expertise and preserve strain diversity during these very early stages of our industry’s development.”
Pih is also determined to band together for a unified cannabis industry. She says she sees it as a requirement for more favorable taxation laws. “We’re not able to do anything about it as individual companies; we have to come together as an industry, regain trust for one another and find ways to be effective as a collective.”
As the proverb says, unity is strength. Exactly.