If there is one thing worth leaving your house for on a day so cold that Boston Public Schools are actually closed, it is a bar full of women talking about the growing cannabis industry. That is exactly what is happening tonight from 6:30-9pm at The Point, on Hanover Street in Boston, as the first meeting of the Women Grow Boston Chapter takes place. The group is a national network of female entrepreneurs working in the cannabis industry. Women Grow co-founder Jane West says she hopes young, professionals, who are curious will attend. Admit it, you’re curious already.
The event is the first in a regular monthly series and features networking opportunities and industry perspectives from two guest speakers–former law enforcement agent Michael Whittaker and award-winning legalization advocate Shaleen Title. Event info can be found at the Women Grow Boston Chapter event page.
Boston Chapter President Ally Zapp says that this is an important time for the cannabis industry in Massachusetts. Incoming governor Charlie Baker has said that he will vigorously oppose marijuana legalization, but has committed to “jump start” the stalled medical marijuana roll out.
Women Grow’s expansion into Boston represents the most recent addition to the rapidly growing organization. The group was founded in Colorado in August of 2014, with a small amount of “seed money.” According to West, the chapter membership has doubled each month. West, a self-described cannabis user, was never involved in the marijuana business nor any efforts to legalize the drug until recently. Just over a year ago she started a cannabis event production company called Edible Events. It led her to other opportunities that allowed her to take seek deeper involvement in the cannabis arena.
While running her new business, West noticed that the existing cannabis industry was fragmented. There was no good way for entrepreneurs to connect. She also saw that males dominated the industry. These two observations presented Women Grow co-founders West and Jazmin Hupp with the opportunity to form a professional networking group, with the intent of bringing together women from all aspects of the cannabis industry.
West explains that she wants Women Grow to help women in the cannabis industry to be able to build business relationships that foster trust and understanding. She sees this as the glue that will help women gain a better foothold in the blossoming industry. West believes that cannabis will continue to grow in popularity and will be legalized on a national level. She predicts that cannabis will take the place of alcohol and anti-depressants for many American women (West notes that she is thirty-eight and women her age are the most likely to be prescribed anti-depressants) in the near future. Women Grow is helping to support this transition by raising awareness and promoting marijuana as an alternative booze and Prozac.
West says that there are many groups that are trying to capitalize on the nascent cannabis industry, but Women Grow is interested in bringing women in the cannabis industry together and breaking down barriers for those living in states with stringent marijuana laws. She stopped short of calling Women Grow altruistic, but emphasized that her organization was concentrated on the mission.
“Women are the majority voters in this country” West noted, “and the key to advancing legalization.”
Photos Courtesy of Women Grow