With the legalization of cannabis in several countries, its demand has increased multifold. Used for medicinal and recreational purposes, this substance has skyrocketed to popularity. This billion-dollar market is now witnessing a rise in women leaders.

In recent years, women have significantly contributed to overall consumer spending. Companies have, therefore, created products targeting them—ranging from cannabis-infused bath bombs to sunscreen. With so many female-centric products, one would assume that women would hold most positions in power. However, that is not the case.

After 2015, the percentage of women who held executive positions in the cannabis industry fell from 36% to just 23%. Despite the lack of representation, a few women have created an undeniable impact that is undoubtedly praiseworthy. They have set a remarkably high standard for women considering a career in this industry.

All About Cannabis

A female entrepreneur holding cannabis
A female entrepreneur holding cannabis

Cannabis is the new buzzword in the health and wellness world. It is a drug derived from hemp plants such as Cannabis Sativa. It contains two primary active compounds, Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive component, and Cannabidiol (CBD), being non-psychoactive. CBD’s remarkable therapeutic potential can treat various ailments ranging from anxiety and depression to arthritis and epilepsy.

It is available in numerous forms on the market, such as tinctures, edibles, capsules, isolate, hash, etc. You can figure out the way of consumption that suits your needs and preferences. Read on to learn about seven women shaping the world of cannabis.

Women Shaping the Cannabis World

Two women talking and looking at a laptop
Two cannabis entrepreneur women talking and looking at a laptop


From entrepreneurs and doctors to advocates and venture capitalists, here are seven power players who have significantly impacted the cannabis industry:

Jessica Billingsley
Jessica Billingsley CEO/ Cofounder of MJ Freeway One Woman Conference

Jessica is the CEO and co-founder of MJ Freeway. When the first cannabis business opened in Colorado, Billingsley, along with her partner, made the timely decision of creating a technology company—specifically for this industry. Her company provided a software platform that allowed manufacturers to track their inventory, manufacturing, and cultivation management.

This leading cloud-based seed-to-sale software has tracked more than $13 billion in sales. A technology pioneer, Jessica has rightfully earned her seat at the National Cannabis Industry Association. She values the therapeutic potential of cannabis and believes that it is alternative medicine.

Lezli Engelking
Lezli Engelking Founder of Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards FOCUS

With about a decade of professional experience across several companies in this industry, Lezli Engelking is amongst the most respected women in her field. Being the Executive Director at Eli Lilly made her realize the need for safety standards in cannabis trade.

She then founded the Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards (FOCUS) in 2014. It is an international third party certificate organization that addresses the quality and consistency of cannabis products. This is much needed in this rapidly developing industry where so many companies face setbacks because of consumer safety issues.

Kimberly Dillon
Kimberly Dillon Founder of Plant & Prosper

Kimberly was the former Chief Marketing Officer of Papa and Barkley, a leading California based manufacturing company of cannabis wellness products. After working there for about two years, she founded her own company, Plant & Prosper. To elevate the cannabis conversation and introduce people to its therapeutic potential, her company helps other businesses with strategic planning.

Frigg Wellness is another company she founded in 2019. It is a CBD beauty brand that encourages people to adopt a holistic way for their skin and hair care. Having used cannabis to address her sleep and mental health issues, she firmly believes this plant can work wonders for other people.

Dr. Alex Capano
View this post on Instagram

Workin’ for the Weekend.

A post shared by Alex Capano (@alex.capano) on

Dr. Alex Capano is the first doctoral candidate in the U.S. for cannabinoid studies. She worked for several years as a nurse practitioner, after which she got into the cannabis industry. On account of the ambiguity surrounding this substance, there was a huge information gap and stigma surrounding it.

She has worked remarkably hard to spread awareness about the medicinal benefits of cannabis for treating a wide variety of ailments. Apart from this, she is also a reputed faculty member of The Lambert Center at Thomas Jefferson University.

Christine Yi

Christine Yi is among the many respected women making progress in the cannabis industry. She is the co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Potli, a company that creates premium cannabis and hemp-infused products such as honey, chili oil, and olive oil.

She aims to change the conversation around cannabis from uncertainty to that of excitement. Happiness, health, and honesty being the three missions she aims to achieve through her company. Christine has taken all challenges in her stride, be it a lack of funds or battling stereotypes.

Janice Buu
Janice Buu founder of Kana skincare on Queens of the Stoned Age podcast

Janice is a pioneer of lifestyle brands in the cannabis industry. She first founded Dangkals that
aimed at spreading awareness of this substance among women and creating a community. Two
years later, she launched Kana skincare. It is a Korean company aiming to transform beauty and
health with CBD. From serums to masks and face oil, the company offers a wide range of
products.

Originally a child therapist, Buu was inspired by the game-changing power of CBD when she
learned the positive effect it had on a three-year-old autistic child.

Mary Pryor
Mary Pryor founder of UrbanSocialista on Mary in the Morning

Mary Pryor is a passionate media expert who has worked with companies like CBS News, Viacom, and Sony Music group. She founded her firms such as Wefancy (consulting) and UrbanSocialista (digital marketing) to fill the void in the cannabis industry. She is also the co-founder of Cannaclusive that advocates for including diverse voices in this industry.

The Future of Women in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry is booming, and these influential women leaders are here to stay. Their bold attitude and remarkable contributions are undoubtedly worthy of praise. With the growing demand for cannabis products, the executive positions held by women in this industry will continue to rise.

Who are some women you admire in the CBD industry or other industries? Let us know in the comments!

This article originally published on GREY Journal.