By Rebecca Olmos | TheCannifornian.com Correspondent
Women love cannabis. 59% of new users last year were female, according to research done by Brightfield Group. Coincidentally, the beautiful flower we love to consume comes from the female cannabis plant. And there is no denying that women have made and continue to make ever-lasting influences on the cannabis industry.
Here are five influential ladies who have impacted the cannabis community.
- Brownie Mary. Mary Jane Rathbun wasan original cannabis activist who helped push prop 215, which legalized medical cannabis in California in 1996. She is famously known for and got her nickname, baking brownies for AIDs patients in San Francisco General Hospital during the epidemic in the 80s. Brownie Mary was arrested three times for cannabis charges during her lifetime. She also helped open California’s first dispensary, San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. She passed away in 1999.
- Elvvy Musikka. Musikka uses cannabis to help with issues from her glaucoma. She was arrested in 1988 for growing weed and shortly after enrolled in the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program, which provided low-quality cannabis to a limited group of medical cannabis patients. Due to complications with travel and COVID-19, Musikka is no longer in the program but still advocates for the cannabis plant. She is currently working on a book project with California NORML deputy director Ellen Komp.
- Wanda James. James is the owner of the first black-owned, woman-owned dispensary that opened in colorado in 2009. She got into the cannabis industry after learning her bother had been arrested for possession and sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to an interview she did with High Times. James is also the founder and President of Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI), a marketing and consulting firm that helps businesses, municipalities, policymakers, and other cannabis-related entities worldwide.
- Amber Senter – Senter’s work focuses on uplifting and supporting women and BIPOC within the cannabis space. She is the co-founder, executive director, and chairman of Supernova Women. The non-profit group advocates for people of color to become shareholders in the cannabis economy and helped to establish the first social equity program in the nation. Senter also manages Equity Works! Incubator, a program that trains and empowers people to engage in the cannabis economy, specifically those impacted by the War on Drugs.
- Sue Taylor. In 2020, at 72 years old, Taylor opened up her dispensary, Farmacy in Berkeley, California. Of the 5 cannabis retail stores within the city, hers is the first women-owned and black-owned. For 10 years before opening Farmacy, she had a dream to help senior citizens get access to cannabis. She taught cannabis 101 classes to people over the age of 50 all over the bay area first at Harborside in Oakland and later through her own self-led classes. ‘Mama Sue’, named after herself, will be one of the featured cannabis-infused items on the shelves at her store, a line of low THC tinctures geared toward sleep and pain.
This list is 5 of thousands of women making an impact to destigmatize, educate, and advocate for cannabis. Please support women in cannabis by shopping women-owned brands, farms, and dispensaries. Ask your budtender to help you find these products on your local dispensary menu.