We wanted to recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day this year by highlighting all the women in the cannabis industry that have truly helped surge it forward. Without these investors, growers, and full-time advocates, we would still be leagues behind in the progress we’ve made. These revolutionary women have played a role in literally changing history – and today, we celebrate them and their monumental achievements.
Aiming to disprove archaic cannabis stereotypes and conducting studies in support of the plant, Amanda Reiman has been powerfully influential in significant drug policy changes across the United States. She carries a great level of influence as the Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy for the DPA (Drug Policy Alliance). Reiman’s most recent ripples in the cannabis industry are regarding research for cannabis as a potential treatment to addiction.
Whoopi Goldberg and Maya Elisabeth
In 2016, Whoopi Goldberg launched a medical marijuana product line targeted at women – primarily, to help with menstrual cramps and other intense pains. A voice for the cannabis industry in the past and advocate for legalization, Goldberg opened Whoopi and Maya with co-founder Maya Elisabeth. Elisabeth, herself, has been the founder of Om Edibles since 2008; a seven-time High Times Cannabis Cup award winning company.
Together, these women started with a signature line of medical cannabis products designed specifically for menstrual discomfort relief. They’ve only continued to succeed spectacularly, opening spots in California and Colorado and showing women that may be hesitant to try cannabis why it can be so effective.
Dr. Cristina Sanchez
Since the 1990s, Dr. Cristina Sanchez has been discussing the potential effectiveness of CBD as an antioxidant; a fact we now know to be true. By many standards, she was ahead of her time regarding cannabis research, at the forefront of the world’s medical cannabis stage. Dr. Sanchez now sits as a prominent speaker at conferences around the world for the subject, a board member of the OEDCM (Spanish Observatory for Medical Cannabis).
A true cannabis rights leader, Alison Holcomb wrote Initiative 502; the initiative that legalized cannabis in Washington recreationally. She’s also the director for the Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, aiming to end policies for victimless crimes. Altogether, Holcomb is known as the “architect of cannabis legalization for the Washington state,” and she’ll go down in the cannabis history books.
A mother, grandmother, and cannabis activist, Madeline Martinez has been a longtime advocate for cannabis legalization. She collected signatures in 1998 for Oregon Ballot Measure 67, which allowed cannabis use, cultivation, and possession through a doctor’s recommendation. In 2014, she was more successful with her campaign for the Oregon Ballot Measure 91, which legalized cannabis recreationally across the state.
A true advocate, Martinez had a never-ending goal “to protect the rights of women and families stuck in the gray areas created by legislative changes across the country.”
A strong conservative republican, Jessica Peck is an American columnist, attorney, and strong advocate for legalization. Many times, she has articulated her support for the decriminalization of cannabis. A “freedom fighter of the month” in a 2009 High Times magazine, she fought tirelessly for legalization in Colorado. She now sits as an appointee to the United States Civil Rights Commission’s Colorado Advisory Committee.
Founder of the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club in 1996, Cheryl Shuman has been referred to as the “Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills,” by New York Times’ Theodore Ross and LA Weekly even called her the “Martha Stewart of Marijuana.” A strong advocate and intelligent businesswoman, Shuman proudly handles public relations services, runs a marketing agency, and hosts special events regarding the cannabis industry.
A longtime City Hall aide for San Francisco and strong cannabis advocate, Nicole Elliott is the first to head the newly created San Francisco Department of Cannabis. Elliott already had a seasoned presence at the City Hall, so in 2017 she left her post as liaison to the Board of Supervisors to accept the position.
While she was new to the industry, Elliott’s goals were to include “equity and restorative justice, protecting our youth, ensuring product safety, and continued access to medicinal cannabis for patients, integrating cannabis businesses into neighborhoods thoughtfully and generating revenue for the city,” according to a statement she made for the S.F. Chronicle.
Canada’s Cannabis Act was sponsored by Jody Wilson-Raybould in an effort that would lead to legalization on a national scale. It was thanks, in part, to Wilson-Raybould’s efforts that Canada legalized cannabis for the entire nation recreationally in 2018. In many ways more than just the act, she helped move the process of legalizing the plant along for the country. We look at her policy changes as inspiration for what it could be like in the US one day.
The first head for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, Lori Ajax is a longtime cannabis advocate. In many news outlets, she was doted on as the “state’s cannabis czar” since her 2017 appointment to her current role. The bureau that Ajax leads is responsible for regulating medical cannabis and legal non-medical cannabis in accordance with Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act.
Every Woman in the World
We celebrate not only the move-makers in the cannabis industry, but all women across the planet we call home. Women everywhere have been making big moves in the cannabis industry, and their ripples change the way the industry works as we know it. Just in 2018, women bought twice as many cannabis products as the year before. As social acceptance of the plant grows, our voices speak louder and with clearer intent now more than ever.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate every woman in the world. Together, women will continue to rise-up, make power moves, run entire companies, and lead an industry ever forward.