Women play a big role in pot businesses, says report

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A survey of employees in the cannabis industry says 30 percent of them work for entirely-woman-owned companies.

And 57 percent of those surveyed in 28 states and the District of Columbia said at least half of the ownership of the marijuana-related business where they work are women.

The survey results are from Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier Data, a cannabis data and analytics company. It worked in partnership on the survey and report with Denver-based Women Grow, an events organization of women in the cannabis industry.

“As business leaders, we have a unique opportunity to create better business environments by changing the narrative,” said Kristina Garcia, CEO of Women Grow. “As a new industry, we can make serious inroads by creating new standards. It is imperative we evolve in order for us to be inclusively successful.”

The inaugural report, entitled Diversity in Cannabis: Perspectives on Gender, Race and Inclusion in Legal Cannabis, surveyed 1,700 stakeholders in the cannabis industry. About 13 percent of the respondents were from Colorado.

The survey covered diversity in management, cannabis use, compensation and benefits, sexual harassment and diversity and inclusion in business strategy, among other topics.

“Our latest report on gender and diversity issues in cannabis substantiate that the industry has not only broken gender barriers, but has shattered them compared to other mature industries in the United States,” said Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, New Frontier Data founder and CEO.

The cannabis industry shows high levels of gender diversity when compared to most other industries, but the same is not true for racial diversity, the report says. About half of the respondents said there are no racial minorities in ownership at their companies.

“The data and research we present in this latest report sheds light on areas where the industry is excelling as well as highlights those areas where improvement can be made,” Aguirre de Carcer said.

The report also shows the newness of the industry. About 46 percent of the respondents said their business revenue in 2016 was less than $100,000. Only 7 percent said revenue was more than $5 million.

And despite the growth in the number of states that have legalized some form of marijuana use, 53 percent of respondents said they didn’t believe marijuana would be legal at the federal level until 2020.

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