While the explosive growth of legal cannabis has changed the industry seismically, women remain woefully underserved in many ways. However, the cannabis sector’s rising number of fem-trepreneurs is creating the culture shift for today’s high-end consumers wanting to nourish their bodies and souls, i.e. females.
Autumn Shelton, CFO and co-owner of Santa Barbara County based Autumn Brands, says, “Cannabis represents an industry of health and wellness whether you utilize its benefits for medical or recreational purposes. As awareness grows, people are finding out just how incredible this under-appreciated plant can be for themselves, family, and friends.”
Along with other Santa Barbara County cannabis growers, Shelton’s Carpinteria-based, family-owned farm is building a sterling reputation for its crops in the same way the area’s vineyards became known for world class wines. Autumn Brands started as a medical collective and switched their licensing at legalization. The company is 50% woman-owned and has around 75 employees and is STILL self-funded. Additionally, Shelton said the company is 100% pesticide free and uses a closed-loop water system. Women are a key demographic that the company considers in both their company infrastructure and their product decisions.
Aliza Sherman is the CEO of Ellementa, a global women’s cannabis wellness network that strives to connect women with trusted information, supportive community, and reliable resources focused on the health and wellness benefits of cannabis. Sherman said, "We formed Ellementa to address the lack of information about cannabis and CBD specific to women's health needs and their roles as caregivers. We find that cannabis companies with women at the helm are more mindful of the female customer and are producing products specifically with her in mind."
Numbers and projections of cannabis’ billions of dollar potential differ depending on the source of information, but the one consistent factor to consider is that women are sometimes ignored in the equation.
"I think cannabis brands are waking up to the fact that their biggest growth potential for their products is in the health and wellness sector, and their largest potential market consists of women who are the major healthcare decision makers and purchasers in households," Shelton explained.
Kelly Bruce is the Founder and President of Cannamommy, a 501c3 Nonprofit that strives to protect mothers rights to choose plants over pills. Bruce added, “Cannabis, by nature, is 100% female, so are we at all shocked that she is calling out to the sisterhood? The plant's vast ability to support several aspects of the female needs (menstrual pain, endometriosis pain, menopause pain, childbirth pain and so on), make it a market floodgate for products. During a time period like a #metoo movement, females are taking back their bodies on many levels and cannabis is just another one. It’s incredible to see the female led companies and products coming up. I hope that as this industry (like the plant) continues to grow, so do the opportunities and funding for fem-trepreneurs.”
Not a mainstay yet, cannabis is becoming very quickly a go-to, mainstream self-care product found in medicine cabinets and on nightstands in homes across demographic lines, thanks to the woman of the house.
“Self-care is taken very seriously by women, who are the fastest growing segment in cannabis,” notes Shelton. “This is an exciting time for women and the industry.”