The Cannabis Industry Boasts a Higher Percentage of Female Business Owners than Corporate America
There’s still a lot of work to be done on the equality front, but a new survey suggests that about a quarter of legal weed businesses are owned or were founded by women.
Published on August 29, 2017

America’s cannabis industry is expanding exponentially in both physical and financial size, but legal weed is still very much in its infancy stage. And as the market grows from coast to coast, and boardroom to boardroom, so too has the industry’s diversity. And while there is still a lot of work to be done in creating spaces for people of color and those from diverse backgrounds, a new survey from Marijuana Business Daily suggests that American cannabis is already well ahead of traditional business when it comes to the percentage of companies founded and owned by women.

As a part of MJBiz Daily’s deep dive into diversity and cannabis, the study’s authors surveyed “567 self-identified marijuana industry senior executives and owners/founders” and found that over 25% of the ganjapreneurs were women, a significantly higher figure than the national business average.

Comparatively, the latest Fortune 500 list boasted a record high 32 female CEOs, or 6.4% of the list. Across the country, women founded or own roughly 20% of all businesses.


In the cannabis industry, though, those numbers may be higher, but there are still some glaring inconsistencies. While women occupy over 40% of the owner and/or founder positions at ancillary cannabis businesses, companies that deal directly with the plant itself are still overwhelmingly started by and owned by men. 

As women have found huge amounts of success in marijuana-adjacent businesses such as industry specific marketing agencies, public relations, law firms, consulting firms, add-on products and countless others, they are the least present in cannabis’ rapidly growing investment sector, which might indicate a holdover from the financial industry’s traditionally masculine Wall Street origins.

Still, women are gaining an increased foothold in businesses of all types, and it appears that the cannabis industry will be a leader in that long overdue shift.

Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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