Women Grow celebrated its third anniversary in August. Coincidentally, it was in August 1937 when President Roosevelt signed the Marihuana Tax Act. It’s now 80 years since that law went into effect, and the cannabis community is still fighting for decriminalization, access to education and resources, and support for patients and legal businesses.
Our cofounder Jane West recently wrote an open letter to the Women Grow community in which she discussed launching the company and the hurdles of building a business in an ever-changing industry, and the reasons why she became a Cornerstone member this year. Her key message was to take action.
When I became CEO of Women Grow last April, my objective was to use my experiences in the technology and retail industries, and focus on supporting new leaders to build strong businesses and strategic partnerships in this industry. I’ve seen Women Grow bring together a community of brilliant minds, remarkable stories and thriving businesses. We must continue moving forward together to overcome challenges.
The pioneers in the cannabis space blazed a trail, clearing a path for both themselves and those following in their footsteps. These individuals have protested for fair policies, pushed for legislation and regulation, and addressed the criminality of the War on Drugs. Women Grow is only able to exist because of these pioneers, and we stand with them: To push for more education, cultivate connections among business leaders, empower one another to bring our best selves to this industry and inspire each other with stories of personal growth.
We have a common goal: To work collectively as a community and take action in many forms. We’re leaders that have the power to create a new standard—to be kind to one another, to commit to building each other up, to promote the idea of profiting with purpose and to pledge to uphold these beliefs. Women are leading the charge in this industry, as women have done so many times before. We can be heard raising our voices as lobbyists, entrepreneurs, professionals and advocates. At every level, we need to raise our hands and our voices to ensure that we’re heard. We will not turn back. Instead, we’ll join hands and shout from the rooftops, “Together, we have more power!”
Join us at the Women Grow Summit in Denver on Feb. 1-2.
Ed Note: Since this article was published in Issue 28, we asked Garcia the following questions:
How did you become Women Grow’s executive director?
I joined the Women Grow headquarters team in 2015 and one year later became Chief Operating Officer. From 2016 to March 2017, I worked closely with two of the former CEOs. When our last CEO (Leah Heise) stepped down last April, I raised my hand for the position. At that point, I knew the company pretty well and had been working with our market leaders. I felt I could bring something new to the leadership role.
How is Women Grow doing?
Women Grow is doing better. It’s no secret we hit some bumps in the road since launching three years ago, but we’re recovering and building up stronger. Like many new companies, it’s taken us a while to find our footing. As business leaders, we’ve learned from our mistakes and are applying the lessons. Our current great team is small, but filled with talented people who all support our mission. I’m proud of our transition. Expect us to roll out more initiatives in 2018.
How are things going for women in cannabis?
Women are still struggling in the cannabis industry. In our recent report where we partnered with New Frontier Data, the stats show the gaps where women are feeling the struggle. There is certainly an imbalance in our industry. Women of color are faced with challenges in finding support and financing for their businesses. Like other industries, women are dealing with sexual harassment and lack of leadership roles. And we’re hearing from mothers in the industry who still feel threatened by being in this space. That said, we will not give up. We’re still here and fighting for our position and equity in this industry. I can tell you, the women entering into the cannabis industry now are ready to join us as we keep forging forward. We will set a new precedent; women will lead this industry. We have so much power when we work together.
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Author: Kristina Garcia