Outmanned and Underfunded, Businesswomen Share Their Difficulties in Marijuana Industry

Chanda Macias would sit down in a gathering and be the one lady in the room. Then, when she would ask these in the room to do enterprise together with her startup firm, she was denied once more and once more.

It’s the identical previous story that may be informed in nearly any business in a male-dominated enterprise world.

Macias, who has a Ph.D. in cell biology from Howard University in Washington, DC, in addition to an MBA in provide chain administration, stated she was turned down by 5 hashish suppliers whereas working to launch her first medical marijuana dispensary in the Washington space.

“It has been challenging; it has been extremely hard,” Macias stated. “Typically, in any room that I enter, I’m the only female.”

And for sure, she has all the time been the one black feminine in the room, she stated.

Women’s Equality Day is Aug. 26. It commemorates the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, which in 1920 assured the fitting of girls to vote. That was 98 years in the past, however equality stays elusive in the enterprise world throughout quite a few sectors, together with the fledgling hashish business.

A March 2018 ballot to rejoice International Women’s Day of greater than three,000 entrepreneurs worldwide by 99designs, a graphic design market that additionally conducts analysis, confirmed males are almost twice as more likely to increase a minimum of $100,000 or extra in funding than ladies. Nearly 28 % of male entrepreneurs raised $100,000 or extra to start out their very own enterprise, in contrast with 15 % of girls, in response to the ballot.

The ballot confirmed that ladies are additionally much less  more likely to have two or extra staff as males — 32 % for females, in contrast with 53 % for males.

Macias came upon the onerous method that attitudes in the hashish business are reflective of the bigger enterprise world.

She owns the National Holistic Healing Center, the operator of two medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington, DC. The dispensaries have been round for roughly three years, reporting greater than three,500 clients, and specialize in aligning hashish strains to particular illnesses and circumstances.

Macias can also be the chairperson of Women Grow, a for-profit networking group designed to assist ladies succeed in the hashish business.

To get to the place Macias is now was no straightforward process. She lastly discovered and appealed to a black provider, who was prepared to provide her solely two strains to promote for a restricted interval of about six months. She quickly discovered one other provider, however he would solely do enterprise together with her if she purchased 10 totally different strains at $6,500 a pound, or about $2,950 a kilogram — far above the going price of roughly $four,000 a pound (about $1,815 a kilo) on the time, she stated.

“There were other people who were white men who were being supplied, but I wasn’t,” she stated.  “I think I was not supplied because I was a black woman and they did not want me in this industry.”

It’s not simply entrepreneurs like Macias who’ve confronted challenges. Women in any respect ranges in the business could also be struggling for equality.  

The hashish business is closely dominated by males throughout most of its sectors, in response to James Yagielo, CEO and co-Founder of HempStaff, a medical marijuana coaching and recruiting firm.

“I can say it’s about a 30/70 split women to men in this industry,” Yagielo stated.

That ratio intently resembles what Robin Ann Morris, CEO and proprietor of MaryJane Agency LLC in Sandusky, Ohio, has been seeing in her placements.

The solely sectors the place ladies have close to equal numbers as males appear to be in dispensaries, the place an ongoing development is to rent engaging, customer-facing budtenders.

“They’re looking for the beautiful girl to represent their brand,” Morris stated. “As a woman it just makes you feel less valued, but as long as women go along with it and do it, nothing’s going to change.”

Most of the excessive paying positions in different elements of the hashish business, corresponding to grasp growers or grasp extractors, are not often full of a lady, based on Yagielo.

“Cannabis has always been a male-dominant area, even in the black market,” Yagielo stated. “So, as it has become legal it has stayed that way in the cultivation and extraction areas. If you look at the number of females arrested for marijuana charges, you would see close to that same 30/70 split.”

Among these ladies who Yagielo has positioned in positions, the suggestions isn’t all the time constructive.

“We have heard of women getting frustrated because they’re getting passed over because they’re a woman,” he stated.

A 2017 survey by Marijuana Business Daily exhibits that ladies held 27 % of executive-level roles. That was down from 36 % in 2015, however above the 23 % for U.S. companies as an entire.

Those figures make Dr, Karen Munkacy, president and CEO of Garden Remedies, a Massachusetts-based hashish firm with a dispensary and cultivation facility, one of many few ladies entrepreneurs.

Munkacy did what she might to boost cash to start out her enterprise, together with bringing male staff to conferences with potential backers to enhance her odds of getting funding.

“It’s been difficult raising money,” she stated. “If I went by myself, there was probably not going to be funding forthcoming.”

Her expertise of getting funding could also be reflective of your complete enterprise capital panorama. Women-led corporations acquired simply 2.7 % of the $84 billion in enterprise capital funding that went into startups in 2017, based on Fortune.

Munkacy stated the hundreds of thousands she raised are resulting from perseverance, creating experience in the sector, constructing a fantastic staff, “and always having at least one man from my team as part of my pitch.”  

Like Macias, Munkacy’s foray into the hashish enterprise got here with spectacular credentials, whereas her curiosity in hashish is private.

She was a professor of anesthesiology and ache administration, having served stints at each UCLA and USC medical facilities in Los Angeles when she was recognized with breast most cancers. She suffered by means of a double mastectomy, 28 radiation remedies and aggressive chemotherapy.

“The nausea was about 1,000 times worse than any nausea I’ve experienced,” she stated.

As a board-certified anesthesiologist, Munkacy knew all of the drugs she might take, however nothing labored nicely for her. She had buddies and physicians who informed her medical hashish can be useful with ache and nausea. But it wasn’t legally obtainable in her state, so she didn’t use it.

That was her determination, nevertheless it was one she felt others shouldn’t should make.

“At the time people had to choose between suffering greatly and breaking the law,” she stated.

Once she was cured of the most cancers, she labored to get her state’s hashish legal guidelines modified, and then she acquired into the medical marijuana enterprise to assist others.

She stated acquiring success is a problem in this business, no matter her gender.  

“There are men in this industry, just as there are men in any type of business, that are chauvinists, and dismissive and disrespectful,” she stated, including that there are already sufficient hurdles to clear in the hashish enterprise. “You really have to have nerves of steel to be able to persevere through a lot of twists and turns.”





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