Vermont Woman-Led Cannabis Businesses

Ashley Reynolds is the Co Founder of EMTCBD. Working with those ready to make the transition to plan based medicine is the driver behind Ashley’s ambitions to marry education with safe consumption of cannabis. A mom, dental hygienist, wife, and Vermonter, Ashley brings a unique story sharing perspective to the everyday women just trying to be well in a life of ups and downs.

In 2020, Vermont became the 11th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Many leading women are already building business plans, expanding their existing cannabis businesses, or otherwise getting involved. In an industry that has so far been dominated by males, the state of VT may be the state that does everything differently.

As recreational dispensaries are set to open in VT within the next year, many are wondering how woman-owned businesses will fair in the emerging market. All signs indicate that women will be taking the lead in cannabis in the Green Mountain State. And, there are a lot of reasons for this to be the case. Take a closer look at women in cannabis and how VT is set to be a key state for supporting women-led cannabis businesses.

Bringing Women into Cannabis Has Been a Long, Strange Trip

In 2017, Marijuana Business Daily released promising numbers: about 37 percent of executive-level roles in cannabis were held by women. Unfortunately, by 2021, that number had taken a substantial dip—only 22.1 percent, which is less than the national average for all types of industries. The National Cannabis Industry Association published a report in 2021 that found only 8 percent of CEOs in cannabis are women.

For years, executive positions across all spectrums have been primarily held by white men, with both women and minority races having a hard time breaking into mainstream industries. Cannabis has proven to be much of the same when it comes to gender diversity in spite of the fact that women bring a lot of value to the table.

The thing is, research into the cannabis industry found that cannabis companies that had women in leadership roles generated more profit—twice the amount of revenue for every invested dollar. So, women are needed in the proverbial room when it comes to cannabis. Some professionals offer that women may even bring a new layer of social justice and environmental advocacy to the cannabis industry. Efforts have been made to change the gender dynamics in cannabis, and some states have done better than others at supporting the efforts.

Even with the initial bumps in the road, women are stepping up and making big marks in cannabis business. The leading women of cannabis are known by a lot of names: the Women of Weed, the Puffragettes, and even the Mary Janes. But the fact of the matter is, some noteworthy women are breaking through the “grass” ceiling and directly growing the cannabis business.

Rosie Mattio and Emily Paxhia, two executives in the cannabis space are two good examples of leading women in weed. Mattio runs the top ranked cannabis PR firm based in New York City. Paxhia is the co-founder and managing partner of Poseidon Asset Management, which is the pioneering hedge fund in cannabis that focuses solely on cannabis-based businesses.

VT Women Are Blazing Trails in Cannabis

VT is anticipated to have a booming cannabis industry, and women are set to play a huge role in the growing cannabis space in the state. For one, the state of Vermont gives women-owned businesses maximum opportunity when it comes to certain business objectives. The Vermont Womenpreneur’s Summit to highlight female entrepreneurs takes place annually. And, there’s even a web page on Love Burlington dedicated to woman-owned small businesses in the state.

Elmore Mountain Therapeutics’ very own Ashley Reynolds has made it her mission to support women in the VT cannabis business. Reynolds frequently partners with other cannabusiness women when it comes to distributing EMT product lines. However, she is also a leading voice for women breaking into the world of weed. She has been the guest speaker for events like the summer-long series, Women of Cannabiz Learning, hosted by Heady Vermont.

Heady Vermont is another woman-owned cannabis business geared toward events and marketing. The CEO of Heady Vermont is Monica Donovan, who is a major supporter of other women in the industry. Donovan has worked to bring cannabis education to women looking to get into the industry. The lead communications director for Heady, Kathy Blume, says that the fact that men are more likely to get into cannabis is a complex issue.

Cannabis poses unique challenges for females because of the stigma involved. This can make women even more hesitant than usual to create their own cannabusiness objectives. For example, a mother looking to get into the cannabis business may fear negative reactions from family and peers simply because of the unfairly associated stigma. Education is a big part of overcoming this stigma.

Nevertheless, the industry leaders in Vermont are working hard to make sure women have access to cannabis opportunities in the state of VT. The regulatory commission has mandated that women and minorities get preference when it comes to licensing new cannabis businesses as part of S.54 (Act 164). Further, the existing women already with a foothold in the cannabis industry in VT have dedicated their time to help other women navigate the new territory.

Showing Support for Women-Led Cannabis Businesses in VT

One of the most important things that women need as the VT cannabis business grows is support from residents of the state. As women step up to take the lead in the growing market, their success is partially rooted in how they are both perceived and supported by potential customers. With VT being newly recreationally legal, there is bound to be some interest from larger cannabis companies that make their way into the state. So, keeping smaller, women-led businesses from being overshadowed is going to be one of the bigger challenges.

Want to support these up-and-coming dispensaries and brands that are woman-owned? Nationally operating cannabis businesses and their methodologies can overshadow newcomers. However, the best way to keep big cannabis out, is to create a market that is supportive of small, craft, and local. You can show some love and offer support by following these woman-owned brands on social media, testing products, and being a brand ambassador. Helping these businesses achieve success is going to take the embrace of an entire state.