Picture courtesy of Norman Duenas
Women in the cannabis industry have often been looked down on or disregarded, but the fact is, they bolster the industry. The relationship between women and cannabis can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt, when Pharaoh Hatshepsut reportedly used cannabis and hemp to alleviate menstrual pain, according to Toast. Throughout the following centuries, female cannabis activists and influential figures have pushed to get the industry to where it is today.
The impacts of femininity are obvious – even the bud-producing plant itself is female! Only female cannabis plants have the ability to grow the flower containing THC cannabinoids. Femininity is present at every level of the cannabis industry and has greatly contributed to where the community is at today.
For all of this work, only about 19.9% of cannabis businesses in the United States are owned by women, according to a 2021 report by MjBizDaily. The industry may be dominated by men, but women have always been a part of the conversation. Billie Holiday, a popular singer in the 1930’s, reportedly smoked cannabis between her music sets; she was persecuted by the federal government until her untimely death at 44 years old. Throughout incarceration and maltreatment, Holiday stood by cannabis and advocated for it.
More recently, in 1996, Mary Jane Rathburn continued to pave the way for cannabis activists with her support of Proposition 215, a bill to legalize medical cannabis in California. Through staunch opposition, Rathburn advocated and protested for the passing of the bill. She succeeded; the bill was passed and the cannabis community took a huge step forward.
Today, consciousness of female activists and business owners is still extremely important. In order to further the cannabis industry, recognition and support of those women who trailblaze is essential.
20 Women-Owned Cannabis Companies to Support Right Now
- Miss Grass (California) employs a team of 13 women, allowing founder Kate Miller to provide sustainably grown cannabis products. In retail shops in California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, pre-rolls, flower, and hemp are all available for purchase.
- Kikoko (Emeryville, Berkeley, and Oakland, California) offers teas, mints, pre-rolls, honeyshots, and tinctures with recyclable and compostable packaging. Owned and founded by Amanda Jones and Jennifer Chapin.
- Sundae School (L.A., California) is an Asian and women owned cannabis and streetwear company. With a team of immigrants, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and BIPOC people, Sundae School is able to offer pre-rolls, Asian-inspired flavored gummies, and apparel. Co-founded in 2019 by Cindy Lim.
- Kush Queen (L.A., California) was founded by social media guru Olivia Alexander. According to their website, “Kush Queen started with listening to our community and recognizing the lack of representation in cannabis”. Bath bombs, pain relief lotions, edibles, supplements, and skin products are available in states all over the United States.
- Pure Beauty (L.A., California) is environmentally-conscious by using only water pulled from the air for cultivation and donating all used soil to public parks. Their website states “…we will never put profits over a clean and beautiful earth.” Co-founded by Ivelda Walavakar.
- Garden Society (San Francisco Bay Area, California) promotes sustainable and strain-specific cannabis. Co-founded by Erin Gore, who has a degree in chemical and biological engineering, and Karli Warner, who has experience with public relations, Garden Society is a well-rounded and knowledgeable brand. Available are edibles and pre-rolls.
- Dr. Norm’s Wellness (Calabasas, California) was co-founded in 2017 by Roberta Wilson to honor her parents. Wilson says “As we began, two things became an immediate priority to us…taste and accurate dosage,” on Dr. Norm’s Wellness’ website. Cookies, brownies, and crispy rice treats with consistent dosage are all available.
- THC Design (L.A., California) is working to become the world’s first indoor cannabis company with a negative carbon footprint. This brand, co-founded by Jairia Pass under California’s social equity license, offers pre-rolls and flower.
- Yummi Karma (Orange County, California) was co-founded by CEO Krystal Kitahara and COO Chelsea Kitahara and was the first state-licensed manufacturer in their county. Available are tinctures, and available at its sister store (High Gorgeous) are “luxury” items such as roll-ons, lotions, and resins.
- Cosmic View (California) was “founded by a mother scientist and a daughter cancer survivor,” according to Cosmic View’s website. Using cannabis grown regeneratively, co-founders Nicole and Christine Skibola are able to provide tinctures, balms, sweets, and lollipops.
- Gorilla Rx (L.A., California) is a medical and recreational dispensary and is the first black-women-owned dispensary in Los Angeles. After 5 years of fighting for recognition of the social equity program in Los Angeles, founder Kika Keith was able to open the dispensary. Available are flower, edibles, vapes, concentrates, topicals, and accessories.
- Simply Pure (Denver, Colorado) is a recreational dispensary founded by Wanda James, who is the “first African American, legally licensed in America, to own a dispensary, a cultivation facility and an edible company,” according to Simply Pure’s website. Using a consistent dosage and whole bud, Simply Pure is able to offer flower, concentrates, topicals, and edibles.
- 4:20 Friendly (Spokane, Washington) is a medical and recreational dispensary owned by Carol Ehrhart and Alissa Taylor. The founders say “in December 2013, [we] applied for the “lottery” to become one of the first legal recreational weed dispensaries in Washington State,” and the dispensary opened soon after, in 2014. Available are flower, concentrates, edibles, cartridges, pre-rolls, and topicals.
- Canna West Seattle (West Seattle, Washington) is a recreational and medical dispensary that sells flowers, vapes, pre-rolls, and concentrates and includes a “lifestyle” store, which sells CBD products, glass, art, and apparel. Founded by Maryam Mirnateghi in 2016.
- Sahara Wellness (Las Vegas, Nevada) is a medical and recreational dispensary that prides itself on having a “warm and welcoming” environment, which includes wooden interiors, calming music, art, and waterfalls in the dispensary’s lobby. Flower, pre-rolls, vapes, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, and topicals are available. Founded by Brenda Gunsallus in 2016.
- Breeze Botanicals (Ashland and Gold Hill, Oregon) is Oregon’s first recreational dispensary, according to their website. Along with carrying over 40 medicinal herbs, including hemp and cannabis, the dispensary has a local food and art boutique featuring works by local farmers and artists. Founded by Brie Malarkey.
- National Healing Holistic Center (Washington D.C.) is a medical dispensary founded by Dr. Chanda Macias. Offering delivery, the dispensary focuses on holistic wellness and patient health. With over 100 products, Dr. Macias is able to provide prerolls, edibles, concentrates, topicals, and accessories.
- Josephine and Billie’s (L.A., California) is a “teapad” recreational dispensary based on the legacies of Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday. Teapads were cannabis and jazz clubs frequented by African Americans in the 1920’s. To get into this elusive dispensary meant for BIPOC women and allies, a password is required (it’s Billie sent me!). Founded in 2021 by CEO Whitney Beatty and COO Ebony Andersen.
- Mary and Main (Prince George’s County, Maryland) is a medical dispensary co-founded by Hope Wiseman, the youngest African American dispensary owner in the United States. Available are flower, edibles, pre-rolls, vapes, concentrates, topicals, and tinctures.
- Harvest of Ohio (Cleveland, Ohio) is a medical dispensary with locations across Ohio, including Athens, Columbus, and Beavercreek. Ariane Kirkpatrick, the dispensary’s founder, is the first African American owner to grow, dispense, and sell cannabis in Ohio. Cultivating their own cannabis, Harvest of Ohio sells flower, vapes, concentrates, tinctures, topicals, edibles and accessories