While there’s precious little data on cannabis employment in general, MJBizDaily faithfully provides an annual survey of industry professionals, the results of which currently show women to be less represented than men in the cannabis industry and pathetically outnumbered in executive roles, the latter having fallen 36.8% from 2019. Today women only account for only 23% of cannabis executives.
“As you can see from the data in the report, it is a male-dominated industry,” said Pam Moore, chief content officer at MJBizDaily.
“There’s a lot of just flat-out sexism in the industry, as there is in the world,” Moore added. “Cannabis isn’t any different than anywhere else, but its casual and entrepreneurial nature, I think, makes it easier for those things to come out.”
As with everything, there are exceptions and Ngiste Abebe is one of them, on various levels. For starters, she is VP of Public Policy at Columbia Care CCHWF where she focuses on expanding medical marijuana and equitable legalization.
Abebe, who will speak at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami on April 11-12, said the following about the December release of Columbia Care’s first-ever Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, Cultivate Impact.
“From social justice to medical accessibility and beyond, we’ve worked diligently from the local neighborhood dispensary level to a multi-state scale to help bring about positive change. In addition to our mission-driven employees, we’ve also been really lucky to find strategic partners and vendors who have helped make this work possible.”
Funding Is Always An Obstacle
While the numbers show less female representation in cannabis staff and executive jobs, another crucial obstacle for women who might want to start their own businesses is getting their hands on money. Adding to that roadblock is the banks, which cannot or will not extend their services to the cannabis industry.
And, as Chanda Macias of Women Grow correctly points out, “without access to traditional loans, cannabis businesses need private loans to fund their business plans and most private equity is run by white men.”
“That has been the number one challenge for women in cannabis and women, period, in the entrepreneurial space,” Macias said.
Enter The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference
This brings us back to the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference where we can and will do more than discuss this topic.
In partnership with Women Grow and “Invest in Her,” Benzinga’s partnership to amplify women-owned businesses, we are working to not only highlight the importance of women and minority-owned businesses but to broaden their financial opportunities. And for that reason, everyone concerned should really be at the Benzinga conference and have their voices heard.
To make that easier, we’ve launched a series of scholarships in partnership with WomenGrow, Minorities for Medical Marijuana and BIPOCANN to support access for women and minority-owned businesses.
We’re also offering social equity passes for those who qualify to attend, and we have committed to donating a percentage of all event ticket sales to organizations that support cannabis reform.
Find out more about our social equity opportunities HERE.
See you in Miami Beach, sisters!
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