As with 2016’s list of powerful ladies, in honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a look at some of the most influential and inspiring women who are leading the cannabis industry into the future. From lawmakers to lawyers to entrepreneurs, every woman here has made an impact and helped pave the way for a brighter future of cannabis.
Diane Goldstein spent 21 years working as the first female lieutenant for the Redondo Beach Police Department in Southern California. She spent much of her career focused on hostage negotiations, but made numerous drug arrests that helped shape her perspective on the war on drugs. Ms. Goldstein also felt the personal impact of the drug war after a family member was arrested. This irrevocably altered her views and led her to oppose the prohibition of drugs, particularly cannabis. Ms. Goldstein is now an Executive Board Member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and regularly speaks and writes about the benefits of legalizing and regulating cannabis.
As the founder and CEO of the influential cannabis group Women Grow, Jazmin Hupp has created a community by women, for women, to empower women in the cannabis space. She is passionate about women’s equality; before starting Women Grow, she served as Director of Digital Media for Women 2.0, to help women start their own high-growth ventures. Women Grow now has events and local branches in more than 30 cities across the country, as well as a national leadership summit.
Renee Gagnon was not only the first woman CEO to take a cannabis company public, she is also the first and only transgender CEO of a cannabis company. Ms. Gagnon founded the company Thunderbird Biomedical, Inc. in 2013 before receiving a license under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations from Health Canada in February 2014. It was while in charge of her burgeoning cannabis company that she began her transition. Thunderbird was bought out in May 2015, after which she joined forces with another female cannabis entrepreneur, Gill Polard, to co-found a cannabis supply chain solution, International Cannabis Centres, Inc.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has gone above and beyond as a champion for cannabis. She has been supportive of the state’s medical and adult-use cannabis infrastructure, including signing legislation to help the programs run more smoothly. She allowed the sales of edibles and concentrates to take place earlier than anticipated, made it easier for medical producers to enter the retail cannabis market, and allowed banks and credit unions to work with cannabis companies without facing criminal liability. Not only that, but since the Trump administration took office, she has taken steps to protect the legal industry that has been so painstakingly crafted in her state.