On 8th March, 2021, the world will be celebrating International Women’s day — a day to celebrate the women’s rights movement. In 2021, women’s rights are about much more than simply being able to vote. The more we move along as a society, the more we understand some of the deep-seated sexism that goes on in our workplaces, relationships, and cultures.
We are blessed in modern society to witness women change the game of business, economy, and industry. The influential women in cannabis have battled the odds in a heavily male-dominated industry. For example, women in cannabis find it harder to get investors, and struggle to secure executive positions.
There are women still fighting for the woman’s place in cannabis, a compassionate industry that so desperately requires the high emotional intelligence that women in leadership can bring to the table.
This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating 10 influential women in cannabis. Who are they, what have they done, and what is their advice to the budding women of the future?
1. Melinda Rombouts — winner of Canadian Women Entrepreneur honours.
Who: Melinda Rombouts, born in Forest, Ontario.
What does she do? Melinda Rombouts is the founder and CEO of Eve & Co, a Canada based cannabis company targeted towards women, women’s health and recreation. She focuses strongly on the many different ways that cannabis can empower a woman’s life, and in September 2019 she received a Ones to Watch Award. This award is given as part of the Canadian Women Entrepreneur awards for women who display outstanding potential and innovation in business and ideas.
Melinda Rombouts’ motto? The future of cannabis is female.
2. Antuanette Gomez — under 30; kicking goals.
Who: Antuanette Gomez, Toronto born and raised.
What does she do? Antuanette Gomez is the founder of Pleasure Peaks, a Toronto-based cannabis company that focuses on women’s sexual health. Antuanette Gomez is also a full-time consultant, public speaker and advocate within the cannabis community, and the cross section of cannabis with women’s health and sex.
Antuanette Gomez continues to mentor women who want to grow in the cannabis industry, and has a role at Women Grow.
Antuanette Gomez’s motto? She wants to create a cannabis industry more diverse than ever before by putting people of colour at the forefront.
3. Dr. Chanda Marcias — don’t accept NO for an answer.
Who: Dr. Chandas Marcias, Louisiana, USA.
What does she do? Dr. Chandas Marcias is the CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare and the Chairwoman of Women Grow.
Ilera Holistic is a medical cannabis clinic in Louisiana that Marcias established in 2015, and since then, it has gone on to partner with Southern University to launch a CBD brand. It is the first CBD brand launched by a historically black university.
Dr Chandas Marcias was also the first black woman to own a multi-state cannabis operation that included retail stores and grow operations.
Chanda Marcia’s motto? Learn to expect challenges, be persistent, and never take no for an answer.
4. Zoe Wilder PR — educate yourself, first and foremost.
Who: Zoe Wilder PR, born in Atlanta, Georgia.
What does she do? Zoe Wilder is a PR that works with some of the most influential cannabis startups and entrepreneurs. Alongside being a PR woman in cannabis, she’s also worked in psychedelics, tech, art, wine, and spirits. She champions the startups and big brands alike with the philosophy that these brands can really help people if they apply compassion and tact.
Zoe Wilder’s motto? First and foremost, educate yourself, then you can go on to educate others, and together we can build sustainable change.
5. Maha Haq — inspiring science and education.
Who: Maha Haq, UCLA, Los Angeles
What does she do? Maha Haq is the founder and president of Cannaclub University at UCLA, Los Angeles. Cannaclub University was created to inspire students to study cannabis science, especially in the post-graduation space. Haq is a driver of cannabis research and cannabis education, continually inspiring other women into the cannabis science sector.
Maha Haq’s motto? Realise how powerful you can be in the cannabis industry. Study the past, impact the present and plan for the future.
6. Rosy Mondin — pioneering cannabis extraction.
Who: Rosy Mondin, born Vancouver.
What does she do? Rosy Mondin was previously a lawyer and left her legal career to start World-Class Extractions, a Vancouver based cannabis extraction company. Rosy Mondin’s company doesn’t manufacture cannabis products though — they pioneer technology for cannabis extraction.
In 2016, Rosy Mondin founded Soma Labs Scientific which merged with Quadron Cannatech Corporation, and Quadron listed for CSE in 2017. This made Rosy Mondin the world’s first female founder CEO of a publicly traded cannabis company.
Rosy Mondin’s motto? Cannabis is now so much more than dry flowers.
7. Trina Fraser — laying down the law.
Who: Trina Fraser, born in Ottowa.
What does she do? Trina Fraser is the arguably the most badass women in cannabis. She is a bonafide cannabis lawyer whose expertise has authority almost everywhere in the world. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about cannabis law, and in 2019, was named by Canadian Lawyer Magazine as the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada.
Trina Fraser is a partner at Brazeau Seller; you can follow her on Twitter for her knowledge about the “grand experiment” that is cannabis legalization.
Trina’s advice? Know that you can’t be everything. Be honest about your personal skills and fill in the gaps with your dream team.
8. Casey Georgeson — putting CBD in mainstream beauty.
Who: Casey Georgeson, born Northern California
What does she do? She is the founder of Saint Jane Beauty, the cosmetics company that brought CBD into mainstream beauty and cosmetics. Casey started her company as a mother of three and introduced CBD into cosmetics years before it was ever on shelves. She worked with the likes of Marc Jacobs and Kat Von D.
Casey Georgeson’s motto? Patience, agility, and integrity.
9. Kristi Knoblich Palmer — exceptional people and products will always take you far.
Who: Kristi Knoblich Palmer
What does she do? Kristi Knoblish Palmer is the co-founder of Kiva Confections, a wildly popular and innovative cannabis edibles brand. Kristi and her husband came into the edibles space during a time when there were issues with consistency, dosage, and testing, and they brought precise dosing and consistent quality to the edibles market. Kiva Confections started in their home kitchen but are now some of the most sold cannabis edibles across the USA.
Kristi Knoblich Palmer’s motto? Customer’s don’t have relationships with other companies — they have relationships with people. Make stellar relationships and stellar products.
10. Mimi Lam — a voice for equality in Canadian cannabis.
Who: Mimi Lam, born and raised in Ottowa.
What does she do? She is the founder and owner of Suprette, a cannabis and lifestyle brand. On top of her business, she is a huge advocate for women and women of colour in the cannabis space. She talks openly about the discriminatory cultures in the cannabis industry and how important it is for women to overcome those hurdles.
Mimi Lam’s motto? Help and empower others, especially those who don’t have the resources to do it for themselves.
It’s been an honour to honour women this International Women’s Day by recognising women in cannabis. Do you have any favourite women in cannabis that we left off this list? Let us know in the comments.