Incredibly resilient, inspirational, and industry leading; these are but a few of the words used to describe the women campaigning relentlessly for the legalization of cannabis. To that end, we want to highlight 8 of the most influential women in the cannabis industry today, in 2020
1. MARA GORDON
A true pioneer in cannabis therapeutics, Mara Gordon has made waves throughout the industry with her company Aunt Zelda’s. The organisation strives to create patient-centred cannabis extracts tailored to specific needs and conditions.
Her comprehensive science-based approach considers dosing regimens, strains, cannabinoids, and terpene profiles. Gordon has brought clarity and nuance to an industry formerly dominated by hyperbole and guesswork, advocating for full-spectrum extracts and organic preparation.
Gordon has attracted the world’s attention with her impressive approach. The documentary Weed The People details her journey providing critically ill patients with cannabis extracts. Her TEDx talk—Cannabis: Separating the Science from the Hype—has educated hundreds of thousands of people across the world. In it, she discusses the importance of data-driven treatments and offers advice on how the industry can push forward.
2. MARTHA STEWART
Known for her stellar lifestyle advice—from delicious recipes to household decorating—Martha Stewart plans to develop her own unique line of hemp-based products. By teaming up with cannabis innovation giant Canopy Growth, Stewart has helped to further pull CBD into the mainstream.
Currently working as a CBD ambassador for the company, her brand will include cosmetics, lifestyle, and even pet products. Thanks to her long and successful career in home improvement, Stewart is uniquely positioned to help make CBD and cannabis household names.
Stewart has made some impressive friendships during her time in the cannabis industry, even joking that she enjoys sharing a smoke with Snoop Dogg.
3. DR RAQUEL PEYRAUBE
Another woman changing the way the world sees cannabis is Dr Raquel Peyraube—medical doctor and specialist in problematic drug use. Dr Peyraube has been trained in toxicology, psychiatry, and psychotherapy.
Dr Peyraube grew up with a negative view of cannabis but soon broke through the propaganda and began to see the herb’s medicinal potential. She realises that cannabis can cause problems in some users, but recognises the safety profile of the herb.
Dr Peyraube believes in the power of cannabis education. She currently works as a member of the International Association of Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and continues to provide information and advice on drug reform in numerous countries.
4. REBECCA MAESTAS
Rebecca Maestas has made a strong impact on the commercial side of the cannabis industry. During her time in the business sector, she has played major roles in numerous large companies, helping to launch multiple brands into the mainstream.
Maestas used to manage Dixie Botanicals, the first company in the world to produce mainstream hemp-based CBD products. Nowadays, she works as the Director of Field Marketing at Dixie Brands. What’s more, Maestas used her industry expertise to establish CannaMixx in Colorado—a company that crafts edibles for patients in need.
Maestas carries her conquest of cannabis into the music world, helping to set up several music festivals and facilitating the creation of a weed edible with legendary reggae band Sublime with Rome.
5. TULSI GABBARD
Tulsi Gabbard represents Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district in the House of Representatives. As a politician and member of the Hawaiian National Guard, Gabbard voices an anti-interventionist stance. Aside from her pacifist leanings, she also advocates for cannabis law reform.
Gabbard sponsors the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, legislation that aims to legalize the herb. She believes adults should have the right to choose. She also highlights the hypocrisy of prohibiting cannabis but allowing opioids to remain legal and accessible.
Furthermore, Gabbard presented a pro-cannabis policy during her run for president of the United States in 2020. She promised to remove cannabis-related convictions from the records of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
6. ROSIE MATTIO
Rosie Mattio has helped thrust many cannabis companies into the spotlight and toward success. During the rise of the United States cannabis market in the 2000s, she quickly anticipated the marketing needs of many up and coming businesses, founding Seattle-based PR firm MATTIO Communications.
Since the inception of her business, Mattio has served cannabis clients such as LeafLink, Wellness Holdings, Green Mile, and Vangst. Through her work, Mattio has successfully helped small businesses morph into mainstream giants, a move that has fed a burgeoning cannabis industry.
7. ROSA CAZARES
Although young, Rosa Cazares works high up in the cannabis industry. Currently, she is the CEO of La Mota, a group of high-quality recreational and medicinal cannabis stores in Oregon. The chain prides itself on selling bud tested for pesticides and chemicals, ensuring customers only receive clean and safe products.
La Mota has grown into one of the largest dispensary chains in the state. In addition to helping run the successful enterprise, Cazares also ensures her stores are staffed with a majority of female employees.
8. CHANDA MACIAS
Chanda Macias, PhD, keeps extremely busy in the cannabis industry. She is CEO of Women Grow, the largest national network of cannabis professionals in the US and Canada. The organisation connects leaders in all areas of the cannabis industry and aims to kickstart over 1,000 cannabis businesses owned by women.
Dr Macias also owns and acts as CEO for National Holistic, a cannabis and hemp healthcare company. The medical cannabis dispensary aims to guide patients towards the exact type of cannabis that’s best for them. The business considers all the nuances of cannabis—cannabinoids, terpenes, and more—that converge to help patients with specific ailments.
Overall, Dr Macias has paved her own way in the cannabis industry. She continues to operate a successful business, all while helping to empower and elevate the careers of other women.