Can I Be Blunt?

June 2016

Viewing posts from June , 2016

This DC woman teaches you how to legally grow weed in your home

Big shout out to Natalie Carver, co-founder of Buds Organic, DC’s first “cannabis consulting” company.

In an interview with VOX, Ms. Carver said, “People want to know where their food comes from. In the same strain [sic], people want to know where their weed comes from. As farmers, we can help with that.” Natalie manages the pot dens of about a dozen clients throughout DC [and] says her client base is rapidly expanding.

The Atlantic: In Praise of Women in the Cannabis Industry

So happy that I’m a proud member of this organization. Here’s an excerpt from the The Atlantic article:

Launched in 2014, [Women Grow] wants to help women both “influence and succeed in” the marijuana market as more states eliminate laws that make selling and smoking illegal. And it wants them to enter the market early, so that women have as much of a say as men about how the post-legalization landscape develops. In the past couple of years, its membership and reach have swelled to more than 30 chapters across the United States.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

What a hoot from today’s Washington Post, “Growing medical marijuana could mean big business in Maryland. Here’s who wants in“.

Stanford “Neill” Franklin, a retired state police major who went from undercover drug busts on college campuses to advocating against drug laws and applying to grow marijuana, is one of them. He says: “There’s good money to be made off of it.”

Of the 144 companies that have filed for one the 15 marijuana cultivation licenses in Maryland, more than 20% have ties to law enforcement, including but not limited to: former Drug Enforcement Administration agents; former special agent in the IRS’s criminal division; multiple former state troopers; and the managing partner of a company that handles background checks and drug tests for the Department of Defense and the FBI.

I’m not here to judge, but my hope is that Maryland will select growers, processors, and sellers who are more interested in the health and social benefits associated with cannabis products than the obvious economic upside. Otherwise, they’re no better than drug dealers.

Elle: The Grass Ceiling

I’ll tell you why Elle’s recent post caught my attention:

Jyl Ferris said as a graphic designer she has faced age-based discrimination when searching for jobs. “I do think this industry has given me, as a baby boomer and as a woman, the fairest chance at starting a business of anything in the whole entire country,” she said and attributes this welcoming industry to baby boomers who popularizing recreational marijuana use in the 1960s and ’70s.

Amen, sister.

By the way, asked but not answered was this: “Now that [cannabis] is legal, how do people of color—who have been oppressed by the laws that were made—how do you bring them into the industry? Not just as employees but as owners who also get a piece of the pie.

Let’s make this happen!

 

Women Are Growing a More Diverse Cannabis Industry

(Note to reader: This article, written by Kari Paul, appeared today on Elle.com)

Female entrepreneurs are carving out a space for themselves in the burgeoning sector

Marijuana prohibition in the US is quickly losing ground, with 13 states having passed decriminalization laws since 1973 and at least 20 states poised to vote on similar measures in 2016. As cannabis inches towards broader legalization, it has created the country’s fastest-growing industry––and women are investing early. While people have been using and consuming the plant for ages, its ‘official’ market is growing almost from scratch, allowing female entrepreneurs to carve out a space for themselves in it from the beginning.

More women hold executive positions in the cannabis industry than in any other

The cannabis industry, like many others, is stereotypically thought of as largely male-dominated, but today women hold more executive positions in it than in any other field. Melissa Meyer, head of the New York chapter of women cannabis entrepreneurs networking group Women Grow said women’s participation has grown due to women supporting and educating each other through groups like these, and women from other fields being drawn in by the flexibility of the burgeoning industry.

“Many industries that attract really smart women, like tech, media, and finance are largely male-dominated,” she said. “Some very talented women aren’t satisfied there, and are bleeding from those industries and taking the opportunity to start a culture from scratch. In the cannabis industry, we are able to set our own agenda, so even though it is still male dominated in terms of numbers, we are creating a space where the cultural agenda is being set by women.”

Decriminalization of marijuana has resulted in an emerging industry

Meyer is the founder of HealthMJ, a resource that helps patients to learn more about the benefits of medical marijuana. She founded the company after two close friends died of cancer and she saw that drug prohibition had created a dearth of accurate health information about cannabis use. HealthMJ is an example of what is called an ancillary business––one that serves the main cannabis industry in some way, but does not actually distribute cannabis products. Such ventures can include informational services like Meyer’s, as well as software and hardware, like vaporizers for consumption. In places like New York, where medical marijuana is legal but dispensaries are few and far between due to heavy regulation and a costly licensing process, ancillary businesses are more common than in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal and dispensaries are plentiful.

Meyer said Women Grow’s national membership is split between women owners of ancillary businesses, growers, distributors, and average consumers and advocates who just want to learn more about the business. Its 34 national chapters hold meetings, workshops, and networking events for all of these constituents, and the organization is growing rapidly, recently becoming the largest networking group in the industry. According to Meyer, only eight people attended the first meeting for Women Grow in October 2014. Now, there are 15,000 people on its mailing list, and more than 90 attended the most recent networking event in New York City last week.

DC MMP Program Statistics as of June 3, 2016

Quick word about these statistics. The Government of the District of Columbia’s Department of Health publishes statistics on its Medical Marijuana Program, including but not limited to the the total number of patients registered. These patients are broken out by gender as well as ward.

As of June 3: 3,707 patients and 29 caregivers have registered with DC’s Medical Marijuana Program since 2014. There are 7 operational cultivation centers and 5 dispensaries serving DC patients.

When the District first started releasing statistics (5/21/2014), there were

  • 362 patients
  • 16 caregivers
  • 3 operational cultivation centers (and 3 non-operational)
  • 3 operational dispensaries (and 1 non-operational)

 

You Never Know Until You Try

I attended a local Women Grow event a couple of months ago. My takeaway? 25 years wasted crafting marketing and communication strategies for corporations and organizations whose businesses I did not feel passionately about. And now I’ve closed the chapter on that career.

Today, I started working on a new venture: High Road Communications. Forgive the obvious double entendre, but I wanted to be clear that my marketing and communications experience would (1) serve the needs of businesses in the cannabis industry; and (2) do so with the same professionalism and integrity deserving of its participants and supporters.

If you have any suggestions on the site or want to talk about what I do, please ping me: hillary@highroadcomms.com!