The 10 Most Powerful Women In Cannabis

In light of Women’s History Month, it’s important to recognize female entrepreneurs that are impacting the cannabis industry with their innovations!

Cannabis Is Not Just For The Boys

Women have shown that when it comes to taking their rightful place at the top of the cannabis industry, they can not be stopped. 

Almost 37 percent of senior-level jobs in cannabis are obtained by women. This puts the national average for other industries in the country (21 percent to be exact), to shame. 

The 10 women featured on this list are all very different from one another but are successful in their own right. Of course, there are many more women in the cannabis industry that deserve to be celebrated. This group of women represents all women in cannabis who are braving a historically male-dominated industry.

Capitalizing Off Positive Change In Cannabis- Emily Paxhia

Emily Paxhia is a managing partner and co-founder at Poseidon Investment Management. In her 10-year consulting career, Paxhia has assessed thousands of companies in the cannabis industry, working closely with founders and brands as an early investor. Paxhia has pushed the industry forward on the Board of Directors of the Marijuana Policy Project and currently works for the Board of Athletes for CARE.

Trailblazer For Black Businesses- Wanda James

Wanda James is the founder and CEO of Simply Pure. Simply Pure is the first black-owned legal cannabis dispensary in the United States. In her career, James worked on the National Finance Committee for President Barack Obama. She is a military veteran and previous lieutenant in the United States Navy. James has created a cannabis empire in her home of Denver, Colorado. She continues to be a strong supporter for fairness, empowering other black business owners to follow in her footsteps. Simply Pure’s coveted, simple shop is located in the historic, now chic Highland area of the city. Today, James is a driving force and powerful supporter for business owners in the space.

Keeping Tabs On Achievements In Cannabis- Jessica Billingsly

Jessica Billingsly is a tech and data compliance expert and founder of Akerna. Akerna is the first publicly-traded cannabis business on NASDAQ that is female-owned and operated. Billingsley is a cannabis industry pro and tech expert. Her work in growing a seed-to-sale observing and regulated compliance method is groundbreaking.

Producing A Safe, Sex-Positive Outlet- Cyo Nystrom

Cyo Nystrom is theCEO and Co-Founder of Quim alongside Rachel Washtien. Nystrom paved an unusual path by introducing a sex-positive female health line of cannabis products. Nystrom’s career has chronicled a new story in cannabis that centers around health, wellness, and the female reproductive system. She has a continuous supply of original expressions to put into words some of the “hushed” struggles that many women deal with. For example, “puffy taco” is an expression that Nystrom uses to describe undesired inflammation. Nystrom is very open and sincere when talking about how sex has an effect on women’s bodies, and how cannabis can intervene to help restore health and relieve the most valuable parts of our bodies.

Supporting Athletes- Megan And Rachel Rapinoe

Rachel is the co-founder and CEO of Mendi. Her sister, Megan, is Mendi’s first Athlete Ambassador and Advisory Board member. Both Rapinoe sisters have personal experience with the negative consequences of being prescribed opioids and over-the-counter meds to prevent pain. Mendi is a hemp-derived CBD sports brand, created to better athlete’s lives better and offer support for a healthier, natural option than pain meds. They enter the male-dominated cannabis industry fighting for athlete health and well being, as well as a more level playing field in sports and the corporate aspect.

Conquering All Challenges- Dr. Chanda Macias

Dr. Chanda Macias is the CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare and a chairwoman of Women Grow. Dr. Macias is a trailblazer. Not only does she have a Ph.D. and MBA, but she is the first black female to own a multi-state cannabis operation, including grows and retail storefronts, all over the country. Dr. Macias is a prominent research scientist in the biomedical space. Recently, Ilera has partnered with Southern University to set in motion the first national CBD brand by a commonly known black university. 

Creating New Businesses- Shannon Donnelly

Shannon Donnelly is a consultant, founder, and CEO of Healthy Honeys. Donnelly is one of the most humble and diligent women in cannabis and an expert in the Colorado marijuana industry. She started her CBD company, Healthy Honeys, in 2013, which was the first company to throw at-home CBD parties (imagine Marie Claire, but for the cannabis age group). Her consulting skills and efforts have inspired an authentic amount of cannabis licenses all over the country that have led to profitable businesses from storefronts to testing grounds, in their separate markets. Donnelly is also an educator, a regulated cannabis subject matter specialist, and a cannabis feminist. 

Revamping Women-Centered Cannabis Products- Erin Gore

Erin Gore is the founder and CEO of The Garden Society. The Garden Society’s main focus is its product lineup on Rosette prerolled flower joints and cannabis-infused chocolate in stylish packaging. Gore speaks to those among us who may have believed that no brand was created for their beliefs and attitudes. The Garden Society came along to put girly, floral, eccentric cannabis on a pedestal.

Revealing The Story Of Cannabis- Zoe Wilder

Zoe Wilder is a publicist and founder of Zoe Wilder Pr. She is a woman in PR that everyone adores. Wilder has started a trend for all cannabis supporters, creators, and marketers with her original style. For 18 years, Wilder has worked with hundreds of customers across industries such as cannabis, psychedelics, tech, wellness, music, art, wine, and spirits. Her work has pushed forward the careers of huge cannabis brands, all-the-while preserving a voice that advocates for small businesses and philanthropists in the space. To be quite honest, the cannabis industry in California as we know it today would not look the same without Wilder.

Motivating Upcoming Industry Leaders- Maha Haq

Maha Haq is the founder and president of Cannaclub University and Biz Dev/Education Admin at CannaSafe. Haq is a girl boss in cannabis education. She is president and founder of Cannaclub University, a network of student alliances for those students who strive to concentrate on cannabis science and work toward entering the cannabis space after graduation. Setting the Cannaclub University at her alma mater of UCLA in motion, the organization now spans countrywide. Haq is an advocate for women and POC in the space. She is also a keynote speaker on cannabis education.

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