Last year, I wrote an Op-Ed promoting the legalization of medical marijuana for patients with terminal illnesses, particularly, those without insurance. After witnessing the positive effects of medical marijuana on cancer patients, I’m a strong supporter of the controversial drug’s medical benefits.
Women Pioneering the Pot Business
Emily Paxhia, Poseidon Asset Management
Her father lost his life to cancer, (and remedied his illness with marijuana). The experience compelled her to spearhead California’s first legal cannabis-focused hedge fund in 2013, Poseidon Asset Management, co-founded with her brother, Morgan.
Their interest in marijuana was twofold: to make money, and to spread knowledge about cannabis from a health, wellness, and environmental standpoint; thereby espousing the benefits of pot and increasing fair and open access for those who would otherwise turn to painkillers, like opioids.
The firm has grown from a portfolio of 11 companies in 2013 up to 27 companies today.
Meet Emily on LinkedIn.
Giadha DeCarcer, New Frontier
A former investment banker and consultant in technology and defense, Giadha was frustrated with working in heavily male dominated areas, a challenge in climbing up the ladder for women.
Meet Giadha on LinkedIn.
“The Cannabis industry is so new that there are very few barriers to get in, especially for women,” said DeCarcer.
Since the marijuana industry isn’t as heavily skewed toward men as many other industries today, and is still fairly new, DeCarer was able to carve out an opportunity for herself before the gold rush set in. In 2014, she launched New Frontier, located in Washington D.C., which provides data analysis for the marijuana industry. The business doubled in value and size in less than a year. She will not, however, disclose its revenue.
Jazmine Hupp & Jane West, Co-founders, Women Grow
Named a “genius entrepreneur” by Fortune Magazine, Jazmin Hupp is the Co-founder of Women Grow, an enterprise that connects, educates, and empowers diverse cannabis industry leaders. Prior to entering the cannabis industry, she launched companies in e-commerce, business services, and media. She is now consulting with cannabis brands and women-owned businesses. Her partner, Jane West, is now operating a lifestyle brand that designs cannabis accessories and home goods for women. Women Grow is now run by attorney, Leah Heise.
“There is nothing but opportunity for women in this industry. We need to spread the word,” said West. “Women are coming up with terrific business ideas. Many of them are driven by their advocacy for legal marijuana.”
Women Grow’s first event in 2014 had 70 attendees. Now it has chapters in 44 cities, with 21,000 subscribers to its weekly newsletter and 30,000 followers on Instagram.
Leah Heise, Heise & Heise LLP, Women Grow
Former Enforcement Attorney with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Heise joined Women Grow two years ago, when her interest peaked at the passage of Maryland’s medical marijuana law. She immersed herself in the evolving industry, and last year, formed the Chesapeake Integrated Health Institute, created a management team to apply for licenses to grow, process, and distribute cannabis as part of Maryland’s burgeoning industry.
Meet Leah on LinkedIn.
[Full disclosure: I am not, in any way, a supporter of recreational marijuana use!]