But even as some succeed, many female entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry are struggling to overcome systemic sexism. Women occupy only 27 per cent of C-suite level positions in the US, while in neighbouring Canada, VanderMarel and Gordon are even more of a rarity. As the industry picks up speed, traditional capital from male-led private equity firms has flooded the market to the further detriment of women.
“It is simply much harder for women to find and get funding,” says Amy Margolis, an attorney-turned-cannabis advocate who launched business accelerator The Initiative to address the industry’s gender discrepancy. “Right now this space is a land grab. And the better funded a business is, in theory, the faster and more strategically it can grow.”