It was a full house at Canada’s go-to cannabis conference and tradeshow- the 3rd annual O’Cannabiz event in Toronto! And the most compelling voices heard were those of women thought leaders who are blazing a trail in the Canadian cannabis industry.
A highlight of the event (voted the #1 cannabis event in Canada by High Canada magazine) was the Women in Weed session which saw cannabis influencers like social media maven, Jacqui Childs and Gill Polard, founder and editor at The Her(B) Life. Clearly, the organizers at O’Cannabiz have made it their mission to provide a platform for women’s voices in an inclusive, safe and supportive environment.
“Cannabis is a wide-open frontier for enterprising female entrepreneurs. It’s a new industry that’s writing its own rules, so there’s every opportunity as it expands, for women to play an increasing role, as both leaders and consumers. There’s no room for gender discrimination in an industry that needs and serves everybody. To this end, we have set a target for 50 per cent female representation at our next event, which we hope will be mirrored by the industry itself, sooner rather than later,” says Danya Dixon, VP of Programming at O’Cannabiz.
Another popular event was the Wake ‘N’ Bake networking session which saw industry leaders exchanging notes, interacting with fellow cannabis entrepreneurs and most importantly attempting to shatter the “grass ceiling” that exists in a significantly male-dominated industry.
“Despite the fact that this is 2019, women must be prepared to work ten times harder than their male colleagues and fight the stigma of being a professional woman. Cannabis is an incredible industry and for women specifically I would like to make a call to action to step up, apply for jobs, attend events, introduce yourself to people and see how you can help them versus asking them to help you,” says Sarah Seale, managing partner at Cannabis Management Resources Inc.
Our team was lucky enough to catch up with Sarah while supporting her client Pineapple Express Delivery onsite.
Pineapple Express Delivery: Expo Exhibitor
Experts in the cannabis space have long bemoaned the fact that the cannabis industry is still unevenly represented, especially at the top. According to a data analysis report by The Canadian Press in 2017, only five per cent of the board seats at publicly traded marijuana producers are currently occupied by women. Women in weed in Canada are stepping up to change this trend.
“The emerging legal cannabis market is a time of leadership. It is a time when all voices must be heard and having the opportunity to help share the thoughts of the industry with policy makers at all levels is critical. Female-lead initiatives lend a balance to that narrative, and provide the framework to facilitate conversations and actions that are reflective of a larger inclusiveness. I am proud to work for Hill Street Beverage Company, who has a CEO who values the contributions of a diverse team,” says EVP Partnerships and Government Affairs at Hill Street Beverage Company Inc., June Nicholson. As Co-Chair of the Cannabis Beverage Producers Alliance along with Lisa Campbell of Lifford Cannabis Solutions, Nicholson is advocating for more flexible regulations governing cannabis beverages.
Here’s to more women being at the head of the table in cannabis. After all, the future is female!