Monday June 5, 2017

By Morgan Smith

4 Female Entrepreneurs Progressing the Marijuana Industry 420 Culture

Women make up nearly 36% of executives in the legal-marijuana industry, according to Marijuana Business Daily. That’s a whopping 14% higher than senior managers in other industries.

Female entrepreneurs are moving and shaking the cannabis industry so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. They’re not only helping the industry and marijuana plant become mainstream, but they’re bringing innovative solutions to the marketplace. Females in cannabis are proving to be passionate activists who are progressing the cannabis industry to new heights.

Here are just a few women making waves in the industry today:

Women Entrepreneur Overview

Sara Batterby

Sara Batterby
Sara Batterby

You’d be hard pressed to find someone with the kind of previous startup and business development knowledge in the cannabis world. Batterby is bringing her 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, early stage investment and risk management to connect cannabis to the broader business society.

But as soon as she entered the marijuana industry as CEO of Hifi Farms, she noticed the significant amount of women who needed business, startup and investment acumen. Not only did Batterby become a co-founder of the Portland chapter of Women Grow, but she started a peer advisory network that met every two weeks to discuss business experiences.

The biggest challenges Batterby sees with the marijuana industry? Talent and capital. Because the industry isn’t integrated into the mainstream existing economic infrastructure, highly-talented service providers aren’t fully invested in cannabis.

Wanda James

Wanda James
Wanda James

You don’t know Wanda James until you know her passion for social justice. James has been a cannabis consumer for decades, but after her experience on former President Obama’s National Finance Committee and attempt to comprehend her brother’s 10-year prison sentence, partially for carrying 4.5 ounces of cannabis, she unquestionably decided to make a stand for what she believes in.

James and her husband became the first licensed African Americans in Colorado and have used their entrepreneurial spirit to open several businesses over the years, like Simply Pure dispensary. But James is still fighting the biggest battles around minority ownership, mass incarceration and law enforcement. She says most of that comes from fear of minority targeting and unfair practices.

One of her goals is to get African Americans to understand what the industry is about and to be more accepting of cannabis. She’s also working to improve the industry’s access to capital and legitimacy as a business. James seeks to be a normalizer and get rid of biases. And she’s well on her way to getting there.

Sarah Grew

Sarah Grew
Sarah Grew

What doesn’t Sarah Grew do? She’s the chairwoman of the Gold County chapter for Women Grow, the Director of the local growers association and is a board member on the California Growers Association. On top of that, she runs a homestead with her husband and is a mother to two twin daughters.

Grew is an organic, sun growing activist. She grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota and is cultivating a community that works to create a sustainable, fulfilling and enriching experience—one outdoor farm at a time. Her drive? To educate consumers—and growers, both existing and interested—in the impact and differences between indoor and outdoor growing. Her passion? “To live a life with prosperity and opportunity in a way that’s in sync with the environment.”

Julie Dooley

Julie Dooley
Julie Dooley

Dooley’s diagnosis with celiac disease kicked everything off. She experimented with cannabis to help grapple with her own pain and discomfort, while mutually helping a friend tackle nerve damage from a removed brain tumor. But the two had kids—and marijuana didn’t fit into their daily lifestyles.

After some time in the kitchen, the two successfully produced cannabutter (a much more discrete product) and eventually moved onto making edibles that weren’t commonly requested from kids – like granola.

Dooley and her co-creator jumped on the cannabis wagon and started Julie’s Natural Edibles in 2009. The company produces gluten-free and sugar-free products. (What Julie says are logical choices based on her principles and the way she lives and eats.) She’s motivated by a number of things: the fact that she is producing a product that’s OK for the body to consume, education and consumer awareness.


No matter which way you look at it, it’s undeniable that women are changing the marijuana industry. Female entrepreneurs are flourishing in the medical and recreational cannabis sectors, opening up new possibilities for women for decades to come. Who will be the next female innovator? Only time will tell.


Morgan Smith Morgan Smith

A born and raised Hoosier and Indiana University alumna, Morgan Smith is a freelance writer and editor based in the Denver area. Morgan has worked with B2B, nonprofit and regional publications, but especially enjoys learning and educating others about the inner-workings of the cannabis industry. Her freelance writing supported her recent six-month solo backpacking trip to South America where she climbed volcanoes, played with llamas and jumped off a bridge.


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