Illinois group: Women have prime opportunity in marijuana industry

A group of Illinois women believe female entrepreneurs have a good chance of succeeding in the cannabis space because they’re not hindered by the old-boy networks that dominate other industries.

Dina Rollman, a Chicago attorney and co-founder of Illinois Women in Cannabis, told the Chicago Sun-Times women aren’t “playing catch-up” to men in the marijuana industry because it’s so new. Instead, they’re “leading the industry, shoulder-to-shoulder with men.”

Women have had a hard time being seen as equals in several industries (a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report in April showed women make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes), a fate many hope they won’t face in the cannabis industry.

Indeed, some of the most successful companies in the industry are owned by women. Inc. Magazine this month highlighted CannLabs founder Gennifer Murray, Euflora owner Jamie Perino and Live Green Cannabis and Patients Choice founder Brooke Gehring as women who are dominating the cannabis space.

Still, women may have a problem making inroads into the legal marijuana industry since men dominated the black market, Rollman said.

And because of the stigma surrounding cannabis, some women – especially those who have children – may not want people to know they work in the marijuana industry, she said. As more enter the industry, the more comfortable they’ll become, she told the Sun-Times.

Women in the industry have connected through groups like Illinois Women in Cannabis. Denver-based Women Grow was created in 2014. The group hosted a leadership summit in May and had networking events in several states earlier this month.

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8 comments on “Illinois group: Women have prime opportunity in marijuana industry
  1. Joseph on

    High Times last month had a profile of women in the Cannabis business. Although, the black market may have been dominated by men the abundance of younger women interested in the industry is encouraging. Two women were pivotal agents in one of our recent consulting projects for a license.

  2. Kelly on

    WomenGrow has hosted pay-to-attend meetups but have they moved the needle for women in cannabis? It would be helpful if they released any data that showed how they have created jobs or helped women get funding. It would also be helpful to understand why they are setup as a for-profit organization and not a non-profit which would seem more appropriate.

  3. Aundre Speciale on

    Being a woman has only ever helped me since I opened my first dispensary in California in 2004. The only difference I see is we seem to get targeted more by stalkers and obsessive men.

  4. Edward Kuhn on

    They are ALWAYS using the disparity in wages to automatically conclude that women are being discriminated against in EVERY industry. One would automatically conclude that they are being discriminated against, since they NEVER give a reason why women are getting paid less. Just HAS to be discrimination, because after all, we live in a country dominated by “old boy” networks, right? Women go to their bosses and their bosses say “we will pay you 78 cents an hour and we’ll pay Joe $1.00 an hour for the same job, because he’s a man and you are a woman? You’re OK with that, right? They use the exact same warped statistic to support every article like this….one comment states “being a woman helped me” why is this???? Because people would rather buy their cannabis from a woman and not a man? Stop portraying yourself as a victim. Its just programmed assumed that women are ALWAYS discriminated against in any business.

  5. Ned on

    Unfortunately, every thing you say is true, at least as far as me and my wife’s experience shows. I managed a group of restaurants for many years and paid my unit mgrs. the exact same salaries, regardless of sex. My wife was a central office group manager for a major big box retailer and has always (for over 20 years) made the identical salary of her male counterparts.

  6. Kathy on

    I am very interested in learning more about these women’s industry organizations. I am wanting to learn about getting started in the legal Marijuana industry in Illinois.

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