I was one of the entrepreneurs lucky enough to enter the cannabis industry at the start of the green rush. From the beginning, I was often one of the only women in the room, whether the meeting was about everyday business practices or government policies. The disparity was even more pronounced at industry conferences where I was one of only a few female executives in a sea of male entrepreneurs. Female leaders are still widely underrepresented in many mainstream industries, and I believe it is time to challenge this archaic precedent within the cannabis space.
Back in 2006, I left my career as a television producer to pursue my dream of starting my own cannabis venture, and after more than a decade, I'm proud to say that I've built a successful multi-million-dollar business from scratch. My company Ganja Goddess provides cannabis delivery to customers across California and is a trusted manufacturer and distributor. Recently, we launched CBDgoddess.com so customers around the country can easily access high quality hemp-based CBD products.
It is now a critical moment to bring more women into the fold as the industry gains traction and becomes more popular.
The cannabis landscape is at a unique tipping point and has an opportunity to distinguish itself as a more modern and equitable industry. One could argue that more men entered the sector during the early stages of state legalization because cannabis use was primarily dominated by male audiences, and male entrepreneurs were more willing to take on the financial and legal risks associated with the plant. As the industry has become more accessible, legitimate, and safe in the past few years, this dynamic is being upended by a rising number of female consumers and entrepreneurs who are entering the space. It's time for more women to join me and the tight-knit community of female business leaders who are leading the cannabis charge. The growth potential of this world is enormous, and we are still in its infancy.
Attracting more women to the field often goes beyond advocating for them after they've landed the job.
Now more than ever, female consumers are familiarizing themselves with the plant and experimenting with various products. The rise of the savvy female cannabis consumer will likely create a surge in products that cater to their specific needs and disrupt the male-centric business model which the industry was founded on. Females are the future of this industry.
Cannabis' public perception is quickly shifting, and the industry has become a highly regarded wellness resource and job creator. It is now a critical moment to bring more women into the fold as the industry gains traction and becomes more popular. The once-illicit sector is now generating revenue for state budgets and supporting local communities. Today, the industry employs more than 300,000 people nationwide, and a 44% increase in personnel hiring was reported in the last year. What's even more notable is that this growth is happening in the middle of a pandemic. You simply cannot ignore momentum like that.
Money is a harbinger to change, and traditionally, women haven't had access to the same capital or resources that men have had. This has to change. It's time for industry leaders to step up and provide qualified female business leaders with education, financing, responsibility, and mentorship opportunities to usher in a more equitable and dynamic era of legal cannabis.
Females are the future of this industry.
With a name like Ganja Goddess on our masthead, I have personally made a commitment to cultivate a workforce that is composed of at least 50% women. At both Ganja Goddess and CBDgoddess.com, we have several female managers and assistant managers who lead our expansion and help run our operation. When I hire, I look for people who have the desire to learn and continuously grow within the company, as well as people who support our business objectives, which are inclusive development, normalizing the culture of cannabis, and healing.
Attracting more women to the field often goes beyond advocating for them after they've landed the job. Throughout my career in cannabis, I've noticed that there are nearly three times more men applying to open positions than women. My mission is to diversify the entire application pool, both by encouraging women in the industry who I know to apply for elevated roles and by reaching out to women who may not have initially considered working in the cannabis world.
Women have traditionally been the healers in society, and cannabis is an optimal healing modality. The industry is a perfect path for women who have the inclination to heal and foster wellness. Here, we can point to countless professional opportunities for women who are genuinely interested in making a difference for individuals, communities, and our collective society. Whether it's on the business end or the healing end, the doors are wide open for more women to enter this space and benefit from its open-minded culture. I, for one, welcome our growth and believe that the addition of more female voices will set new business standards and create a more inclusive environment for professionals and consumers from all walks of life.
WRITTEN BYTara Wells