According to the US Department of Labor, "Of the 123 million women age 16 years and over in the U.S., 72 million, or 58.6 percent, were labor force participants—working or looking for work. Women comprised 47 percent of the total U.S. labor force. Women are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018."
So, where do women stand in the cannabis labor force?
According to a new survey on women and minorities in the cannabis industry by Marijuana Business Daily, women are holding executive positions that account for more than one third of all such positions in cannabis. That's a hell of a lot better than the national average of 21 percent for women in executive positions for all industries combined.
The report, which can be downloaded for free here, is the third time this survey has been conducted; it was first been produced in 2015, when women held 36 percent of executive positions. Yet by 2017, the percentage of women holding executive positions in cannabis dropped to 26.9 percent.
In 2017, per Marijuana Business Daily:
"Major recreational markets, including Colorado and Washington state, were no longer in their infancy and became highly competitive. This may have been harder on businesses with female executive teams, forcing some companies to close and some executives to exit the industry. Since the previous survey, rec sales launched in California, Massachusetts and Nevada, while major medical markets such as Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania got off the ground. Many young, quickly growing companies that initially filled key positions in sales, marketing or operations with whomever they could find—often friends and family members—are now looking to bring in people with more experience and expertise."
The report goes on to note that this opens up great opportunities for women who have established careers in non-cannabis industries, and may wish to enter the cannabis space as a way to move beyond the advancement opportunities available in their present fields.
The shortfalls in social equity, and diversity of people of color and women in the cannabis industry, have been a welcome hot topic in the last couple of years. The report also looks at how a greater number of states implementing medical and adult-use cannabis programs are making a social equity component a tentpole of each program, rather than a half-assed underperforming afterthought. The issue is actually of such import that, as Marijuana Business Daily notes, "Inadequate measures to address social equity, among other reasons, caused adult-use legalization bills to stall in the New Jersey and New York legislatures."