Women in the Weed Business
The rise of women entrepreneurs in the legal and medical marijuana business is growing across the country, and Boston area business leaders looking to combine their current professions to create a hybrid career will soon have a place to make connections.
On Thursday, January 8, the Boston chapter of “Women Grow,” an organization that brings together women interested in the marijuana field, will kick off its inaugural event at The Point on Hanover Street with a series of speakers.
“This will be our monthly event,” said Katie Phillips, co-chair of the Boston group. “We have been getting a fair amount of interest, and there is definitely nothing like this organization in the Boston area right now.”
Phillips founded the local group with Ally Zap to answer women’s questions about the emerging market. The first medical marijuana dispensary will be opening in Massachusetts soon, and in 2016 groups are pushing to get a ballot question to legalize the drug before voters. She said the group meet-ups will help women interact with others who have similar inquiries about operations and state regulations at a time when the sector is blossoming.
“This is something to benefit the Boston area, because there is such a need for something like this,” said Phillips. “There are a lot of people who are finally starting to look into this as a legitimate career opportunity, so with all of these things coming up, it’s the perfect time to be opening up the organization.”
Jazmin Hupp, cofounder of the national “Women Grow” movement, is working with Zap and Phillips to help the Boston chapter grow organically, and said the aim of the organization is to focus on connecting women “in all aspects” of the cannabis market.
“Because all the states are different in their timing and policy, we serve women on both the medical side and the adult-use general side,” she said.
With headquarters in Denver, Colorado, female entrepreneurs who have found success within the industry financially support Women Grow. Hupp said she was provided with “seed money” to found the organization, and to start a national program to get women connected and to teach them about the opportunities that are out there.
Because there are different types of jobs that will be niche-driven by the cannabis industry—tax attorneys, tax preparers, and real estate agents, for example—Phillips and Zap hope that the seminars will provide more insight into how those roles fit into the bigger picture.
“I used to do marketing and writing solely, and now I do marketing and writing for the cannabis industry,” said Zap. “More opportunities are going to open up in more traditional industries with a specific look into how it links into the cannabis industry.”
Zap said filling the gaps and providing information about how to make those connections was a motivator for launching a Boston chapter.
“That was really what drove me to get in contact with Women Grow,” she said.