Marijuana Business Magazine - January 2017

Christina Gonzalez G FarmaBrands, CEO Age: 40 BACKSTORY: Gonzalez became CEO of California-based G Farma in 2015, taking over for her ex- husband and founder, Ata, who remains a consultant. Under Gonzalez, G Farma has four plant-touching units that sell a range of products – flower, oil extracts and infused beverages – as well as non-plant-touch- ing ventures that include consulting, license procurement, real estate management and media. G Farma says it distributes to more than 1,100 Southern California stores. It also has operations in Washington state. In late 2016, G Farma took a major hit when the Calaveras County Sherriff ’s office raided one of its facilities and seized about 2.5 tons of plants worth about $10 million. WHY TO WATCH: G Farma is still bouncing back from the 2016 raid, and with California’s newly regu- lated marijuana program launched, Gonzalez has positioned the company to capitalize on the world’s larg- est MJ market. G Farma is building an Innovation Center in Desert Hot Springs, in Southern California. It will include about 64,000 square feet of greenhouse space – much of which will be leased to grower- tenants – and a 30,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.While G Farma has a reputable legacy and experienced growers, some observers have questioned the wisdom of building in Desert Hot Springs, where high temperatures can make for pricey air-conditioning bills. Last June, Gonzalez partnered with New York-based Tech Holdings to develop a fast-acting cannabis delivery system, and in October she landed a deal to distribute Julian Marley’s JuJu Royal cannabis brand to Southern California retailers. BIGGEST GOAL IN 2018: “We will continue gaining market share by producing high-quality cannabis and cannabis products at low prices,”Gonzalez wrote in an email. “The increased consumption of our brands will be my main focus!” Kristina Garcia Women Grow, CEO Age: 36 BACKSTORY: Founded in 2014, Women Grow nosedived three years later after strategic missteps and rapid U.S. and international expansion caught up with the company. At its peak, Women Grow had 44 chapters across the United States and Canada. But then dozens of chapters closed, the number of local Women Grow events shriveled, key individuals left and the company’s reputation soured in some circles.The business has reorganized and remains alive as an events and networking venture. Garcia – who recently changed her name from Neoushoff after getting married – took over as CEO of Women Grow last year. She was previously the chief operating officer, having joined the company in 2015. WHY TO WATCH: As an ancillary business that made a name for itself by empower- ing women in the marijuana industry, it remains to be seen whether the company can reclaim some of the star power it achieved in 2014 and 2015. Today, Women Grow apparently wants to stick with its original vision of empowering women cannabis entrepreneurs, while making that mission a profitable one. BIGGEST GOAL IN 2018: Women Grow’s “Leadership Summit in 2018 will show what we can do when we come together to inspire one another,” Garcia wrote in an email. 58 • Marijuana Business Magazine • January 2018