How Women Are Uniting to Shape the Cannabis Industry


Most women are compelled to connect: any excuse to pour one’s heart out over a low-fat latte or a Chardonnay. Downloading about money, men, diets and depression with friendly femmes is much less expensive than shrinks. But now, in what’s being called The New Normal, ladies are more likely to puff on vapes than sip Vouvray. They’re bonding over cannabis: not just for mellowing out, but for getting down to business. The goal can be money or harmonic convergence—because it’s now possible to achieve both simultaneously.

“It’s about living a high life, rather than getting high,” says Kate Miller, co-founder/CEO of Miss Grass, an online publication covering modern women in weed. “Cannabis culture weaves into so many aspects of our lives, from health to work, beauty to food. Women are drawn to the emerging cannabis industry because it allows them to launch businesses that combine commerce with caring.”

The buzz words of the new cannabis culture are “wellness,” “healing,” even “beauty”—which altogether spell “big bucks.” CBD products, or cannabidiol, the non-psychotropic anti-inflammatory cannabis compound, is mostly what draws today’s dames: it’s a balm for almost anything female: menstruation cramps, menopause moods and migraines—even sexual stimulus. One anonymous female cannabis business owner admits she was lured by the sexual side effect. “To me, THC and CBD create the female Viagra, heightening the senses, helping you get into your body.”

“Cannabis culture weaves into so many aspects of our lives, from health to work, beauty to food. Women are drawn to the emerging cannabis industry because it allows them to launch businesses that combine commerce with caring.”—Kate Miller, Miss Grass

And at its root, cannabis is literally female. Olivia Alexander, CEO of Kush Queen—which sells products like lubricant (very popular), bath bombs, topicals and tinctures—clarifies: “All cannabis we consume is from the female plant;  it’s a perfect storm for women—a new industry where women see opportunity. It fits into the current women’s wave: running for office, running companies. Cannabis is a part of that new liberation.” More than 60 percent of the U.S. population now lives in a state with some form of legalized marijuana—and half of them are the formerly considered “weaker sex.”

Kush Queen

Kush Queen’s Olivia Alexander and her company’s bath bombs. Courtesy of Kush Queen

The early female pioneers of the movement are the best known—and the richest. Dr. Dina – a nickname bestowed by BFF Snoop Dogg—entered the movement in 2003, creating L.A.’s first medical marijuana dispensary. Mary-Louise Parker’s Nancy Botwin on Showtimes Weeds was based on her. The Cannabis Business Exchange considers the top women in the biz to be Patricia Rosi, CEO of Wellness Connection of Maine, a Portland company with four dispensaries, and Nancy Whiteman, whose Colorado based Wana Brands has made millions in edible gummies.

Kirsti Blustein, who founded wellness brand Khus & Khus, spells out the female obsession with CBD.  “Inflammation makes us age faster. CBD stabilizes the body—it’s an adaptogen (an herbal anti-stress substance,) a terpine (oil that contains hydrocarbons). It affects serotonin, which is why it’s the perfect sedative for menstruation and menopause.”

Now former beauty, fashion and entertainment media mavens are reinventing themselves as cannabis growers, editors, writers, publicists—even CEO’s. Women’s magazines for cannabis that are spreading like leaves: they include Miss Grass, MJ Lifestyle, Broccoli and Gossamer.

L.A. fashion/entertainment marketing mavens Jenn Gross and Julia Axelrod formed HiFi Exchange a year ago: a showroom representing top shelf CBD hemp-derived, beauty and wellness brands. Theirs is one of the many PR companies heading in a “higher” direction. “Weed was always what boys did,” says Gross. “Boys had bongs in their bedrooms. The big plant and grower operations are still male. Where women come in: as herbalists, midwives, communicators.”

Papa & Barkley

HiFi Exchange brand, Papa & Barkley. Courtesy of Papa & Barkley

Rosie Mattio created New York based RMPR to work with fashion brands—and now has 17 clients in her all-cannabis shop. “An article in WWD about cannabis beauty made it a beauty trend. Then Elle, Allure and Vogue picked up on it. It all relates to the women’s’ movement of the last year: the pink pussy hatted, #metoo anti-establishment movement.”

Paige Guzman is VP of marketing of PAX Labs, known as the Apple of vaporizer brands (i.e., vapes). “When medical and recreational legalization took shape, there was an influx of cultured women entrepreneurs,” she says. “Now we’re a real community.”

Missy Bradley launched Stillwater, which produces water soluble CBD products, because “they’re the quickest for period cramps and menopause. Women from 15 to 50 can’t live without them. CBD’s all natural for body pain – better than Advil or IBProfen. It also helps muscles relax before and after workouts.”

And female Cannabis retreats are proliferating When Sailene Ossman, co-founder of Ganja Goddess Getaway women’s retreat, was 19, she barely survived a near fatal car accident, which caused constant pain. “Someone recommended cannabis, and I never used another pain killer. Ganja Goddess is a 3 day all-inclusive getaway: we like joints instead of wine. It’s empowering to help us connect to better selves.”

Products from Bluebird805. Bluebird805

Sara Rotman was considered a New York fashion guru. But when she experienced renal failure, she and her husband bought a farm in Santa Barbara. “I was never a cannabis user,” Rotman says. “But CBD worked—so we said, ‘fuck it,’ let’s grow our own medicine. Now have 6 licenses and create product for our brand Bluebird 805, with love.”

Jenae Alt, a producer, actress, and self-described “badass,” has recently created perhaps the most desirable of all female-directed cannabis products: a strain of flower that eschews compulsive junk food craving. “One day I thought. “Why do we have to have the munchies?” That’s when Skinny Weed came to life.” Dieters, take heart: it launches at the Sundance Festival in mid January 2019.

“This is the green rush for women,” proclaims Alt. “Women are nurturers at heart. bringing love, peace and harmony to the cannabis world. This makes us as women feel proud—we’re taking care of ourselves.” In more ways than one.




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