Cannabis 50 Celebrates Women’s History Month
Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements women have made over the course of history. The 4th Annual MGO Cannabis 50 features the stories of several women leaders in the business, philanthropic, and social justice spaces who are helping push the cannabis industry forward. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we are compiling and broadcasting their stories to honor the way they use their voices for change in a growth-oriented industry.
See these stories, quotes, and more in the MGO Cannabis 50.
Though native to California — more specifically, Wine Country — in 2022, Garden Society executed a capital raise that will help it expand its footprint across more of the United States. Amid a historically tight capital market, this company was unafraid to live its diversity ideas and baked a unique set of conditions into its raise. In the end, it secured a $7 million Series A, including an oversubscribed Special Purpose Vehicle comprised of strategic female investors and BIPOC angel investors. With the surge of capital in hand, this female-owned and -led operator plans to lean into its mission of catering to the power women play in educating and driving the acceptance of cannabis It has continued their mission in earnest, already expanding into Ohio and New Jersey.
Christine De La Rosa
As a Latina woman whose company, The People’s Ecosystem’s, leadership is primarily comprised of people of color and women, Christina De La Rosa understands how important it is to challenge stereotypes and speak directly to underserved minority consumers. She’s been tireless in her pursuit of widespread diversity, equity, and inclusion, advocating for BIPOC cannabis representation, as well as more easily accessible capital. The founding and managing member of The People’s Group, founder of The People’s Dao, and The People’s Ecosystem, she also serves on the California Cannabis Advisory Committee and the New York Cannabis Industry Association Special Advisory Group for Social and Economic Equity and Social Justice.
Vangst (Karson Humiston)
Hiring qualified talent has always been difficult in the cannabis industry — especially in tight labor markets like the one in 2022. And Vangst understands the complications that can arise when trying to staff a rapidly growing industry. The Denver-based company matches short-term and full-time workers with job openings at cannabis companies around the country. Vangst focuses on more than simply providing labor; the organization prides itself on building a network, as well as communities, of its employees in the greater scope of the industry. Its annual Cannabis Industry Salary Guide is an essential resource for human capital management. In 2022, it explored new ground and released the LGBTQIA+ Representation in Cannabis Report, leveraging its insights in staffing to show where the industry is improving and where it can close the gaps.
Nancy Whiteman (The Wana Brands Foundation)
When cannabis titan Canopy Growth Corp. acquired Wana Brands for a whopping $297 million, CEO Nancy Whiteman wasted little time in putting those funds to a greater use. With the launch of The Wana Brands Foundation, Whiteman is making a major impact. In November 2022, the Foundation announced its most generous donation yet: $3 million to Johns Hopkins University to conduct extensive research on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and psychedelics, including for autism. The Wana Brands Foundation also made additional gifts to Out Boulder County’s “We All Belong” campaign; 16 Colorado organizations working to end hunger in their communities; nonprofits focused on social justice, including the Reentry Initiative, Last Prisoner Project, Expunge Colorado, and National Expungement Works; and research and education organization Realm of Caring.
Women entrepreneurs forging a path
While the cannabis industry hasn’t traditionally seen many women leaders getting involved, it’s clear many are now paving the way with a vision for a better future — and the progress they’ve already made is tangible. We work to honor their contributions as we celebrate the entrepreneurs, visionaries, educators, and philanthropists currently making history in cannabis.
Minority disruptors are innovating and changing the cannabis industry with one distinct thing in common: perseverance. While the road to success hasn’t been easy, we’re proud of the work these leaders have done against the challenges they’ve faced. Go here to learn more about the Cannabis 50.