Women, warriors of the world, the ones that bring life into the world, the ones that advance tech, music, math, and cannabis. Women like: Brownie Mary, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Alicia Keys. Women like the ones that worked for the Triangle Shirtwaist factory and advanced safe work condition regulations (they are why OSHA exists- this is an ugly story that deserves a read).
Throughout history, women have had to be stronger than strong. We think men are the strongest because of their physical abilities, but strength is much more than physical. Strength is women in history like:
Agnodice: Recognized as one of the first female gynecologists, Agnodice is said to have courageously practiced medicine in Greece when women faced the death penalty for doing so.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: a mexican writer and nun who defended women’s rights to education in 1691 by proclaiming “one can perfectly well philosophize while cooking supper.»
Suffragist, Kate Sheppard along with fellow campaigners presented a “monster” petition to Parliament demanding women’s suffrage with nearly 32,000 signatures. This led to New Zealand becoming the first self-governing country to grant national voting rights to women in 1893.
In cannabis and hemp, women continue to make waves of change, making women’s history month a huge celebration in cannabis. And while I can’t name all women in cannabis/hemp in one article, or interview all of them, this serves as a tribute to all women doing amazing things in the world, and readers are encouraged to comment the names of amazing women in cannabis/hemp to add to the list of phenomenal women.
Q & A: Highlighting Women in Cannabis/ Hemp During Women’s History Month 2022
Before the Q & A, I want to give a shout to the leader of Plain Jane, Lindsey Holthaus, who on the topic of legalization, keeps it simple and real: “I’d love to see weed legalized but not unless the government can come up with a way to right their wrongs with true reparations.” Lindsey fights the good fight from having experienced separation of family due to the war on drugs: “One conviction can change the trajectory of someone’s life forever, including their ability to secure employment or even maintain custody of their own children.”
Plain Jane is always on a mission to give back through various programs such as: Veterans and Service Members discount program, Persons with Disabilities discount program, and War on Drugs discount program. For Plain Jane, it’s simply, the right thing to do:
“We’re trying to do what we can with the resources we have to right the wrongs that we see. All I feel is outrage for the people that are affected by this senseless and unjust war. I go to trade shows and most of the people I see are white. All of the venture capitalists we speak with are white men. Why should primarily white men profit off of an industry when the lives of millions of black and brown people were destroyed for doing the same thing?”
Q & A with Women in Cannabis: Laury Lucien and April Price
Laury Lucien, is the founder/owner of Legally Great Academy, LLC (LL in the Q & A below).
April Price, is the founder/owner of Higher Way Travel (AP in the Q & A below).
Please share your journey to launch- from the day of concept and inspiration behind that, to the day the business “opened its doors”.
LL: “I launched the Legally Great Academy to provide people who have been most impacted by societal injustices a path to participate in the cannabis industry. I noticed that the cannabis industry was filled with carpetbaggers and opportunists. I wanted to use my knowledge and experience to give the deserving an opportunity.
Prior to launching LGA, I was in a company with partners who exploited my kindness and devalued my contributions in an effort to ensure that I did not know my value and remain in the organization. I felt like they were my pimp, and I was their w*ore.
I wear the hats and fur coats, so I was not about to stay in that situation. I dipped (left) and started Legally Great Academy. Since launch, I’ve been working with Clients to help them along their journey, and it has been liberating!”
AP: “I had previously been working in cannabis travel prior to starting Higher Way Travel. After I stopped putting together the trips for the High Times Cannabis Cup, people still came to me to help them with their cannabis travel plans.
I found that there really was a need out there as cannabis became legal and people wanted to experience legal cannabis. It was difficult to find accommodations and the cannabis landscape was confusing to some people. So, in 2016 I launched with the goal of bridging that gap and parlaying my knowledge of hospitality, cannabis and travel.
Our first event we worked with was the Hawaii Cannabis Expo in February 2017. Six years later, HWT is still going strong. I have a few curated events a year as well as local tours in Central Coast California.”
What has it been like being a woman in business in the cannabis industry?
LL: “I love being a woman in the cannabis industry, but it isn’t for the faint of heart – especially as a black woman. This industry, due to its risky nature, tends to attract the worst, most aggressive, narcissistic people. As a result, I have to constantly ground myself in my spirituality so that the environment does not impact my confidence and self love.
The number of times that white women have called me “scary” “crazy” & “angry” etc. is absurd. The number of times that unqualified men have undermined my legal opinion is insane! It’s a constant battle to maintain my self worth and self esteem. Any woman of color you see in cannabis is nothing to play with!
It isn’t all doom and gloom because I have a network of people who support me and make this industry amazing!”
AP: It is a challenge sometimes because men do not take women’s ideas seriously. I used to have a boss who wouldn’t even call me by my name. He addressed me as “Hey, can you…” and it really pissed me off. I would bring ideas to the table only to be ignored and told that “it wouldn’t work”.
Months later, he would pitch them like they were his. This is why so many women start their own businesses. We are sick of being minimized and having to prove ourselves time and time again. I recently read that women in c-suite positions in the cannabis industry only make up 22%. We have come a long way but have so far to go.”
Do you feel like you have to work twice as hard for the same results/support as a man in business in the cannabis industry?
LL: “I feel like I have to work twice as hard as a white man to get the same results and support. I do not believe that black men have that much of an advantage because white people view them as a threat. So, I feel like both black men and women have to work twice as hard. Also, I define black persons to be melanated people who oppose all forces of oppression. You are not a black person if you wield the tools of white supremacy.”
AP: “Yes, 100%. It has been a sausage fest for so long and they all like to pat each other on the back. I see them supporting each other on social media, sponsoring men produced events without any hesitation, and sometimes even questioning the legitimacy of what we (women) have going on. It is hard to get through to these men who have these old ways of thinking.”
Are you looking to collaborate with other women in cannabis? If so, in what ways?
LL: “Yes, I am looking to collaborate with women who are committed to dismantling systems of oppression. I want to help more women get branded products on shelves.”
AP: “Absolutely! Creating community is very important. I would love to showcase only women owned cannabis brands for our events. Not just cannabis brands but any ancillary brands in the cannabis space. Being able to lift and empower others to rise up to that next level is important to me. That can be anything from suggesting their business to someone seeking, speaking their name (positively) to the right people that could provide opportunities, promoting them without expectation.”
What’s your advice for women that want to launch businesses in cannabis?
LL: “Know yourself. Trust yourself. F*ck the haters.”
AP: “Follow your intuition and DO IT! We need more women in this space. Your ideas matter so make them a reality.”