Is it just me or does the cannabis industry seem to be male centric? Why do the shops seem to advertise to men mostly too? I get so annoyed, it always seems like they forget that woman like pot too!
Thanks, Sarah in Prescott
Let’s acknowledge that the world seems male centric. But I totally get what your frustrations are. I was at a big cannabis competition last month and there was not one scantily clad man giving out samples anywhere! I saw a t-shirt that even said something about wanting the V… I don’t think they were referring to anything on the male body that starts with a V. Just saying.
Woman are known for making most of the health decisions in a family, and are the primary ones deciding where the health care dollars are spent. It would make financial sense to market to women. I’ve found that female consumers are more likely to plan and budget for the dispensary shopping trip and purchase a larger quantity at one time. Males were more likely to make lots of trips picking up something for right now and tomorrow, usually not planning for weeks at a time.
Historically, the industry was underground and illegal and it was mostly controlled and operated by men. There was high risk of violence and jail time, and the women who participated in the cannabis industry were usually in more of the support roles. Not a lot has changed. If you look at the ratio of license to gender you will see the female owned operations are far and few between. We are making head way though and the future is bright for cannabis and women! You don’t have to look far to see the female centric Dutchie and the Dirty Girl Grow.
I can name on one hand the female OG’s in AZ who fought to get the laws passed, who advocate for the plant and ending prohibition. We haven’t been real loud and proud of our cannabis use. I totally understand the reasons too. One, we aren’t really welcomed with open arms into the industry, the marketing (like you mentioned) isn’t geared to us, and the continued stigma of a “woman, wife and mother” wanting to consume cannabis.
There are a few dispensaries that are owned and operated by women and you can find them easily with a little research. The female owners over at the Giving Tree Dispensary in the phoenix area are accomplished, well informed and medically trained to provide you with a female centered cannabis experience. I was lucky enough to work with them on a project or two, and can confirm they know their cannabis. There are other female run operations and you should find and support them too!
There are women groups, like ‘Women Grow’, ‘Women of Cannabis’ and others that will show you ways to get involved and how to be heard. Women Grow Phoenix chapter has lots of great monthly meeting topics, hiring events, and contests that are often free or low cost. You can find their events easily on social media. There are lots of mom based cannabis groups on facebook too. Join them and find ways to support the women working in the cannabis world.
As for how we help teach the dispensary marketing teams that women should be an important part of the cannabis sales budget? I always recommend you vote with your dollar and speak up at those shops that don’t seem to have a shared value for promoting and marketing to women. There was this Christmas emailed sale poster from a shop that was all about the cleavage, so I may have commented to my budtender that I never really related boobs and Santa, let alone found it a reason to shop. Point it out to them, leave them a comment on the review page. Don’t shop at places that seem to repeatedly marginalize women in their marketing. Shop twice as often at those shops that seem to ‘get it’ and be sure to tell them why.
I think we, as women consumers, still have to find our voice. So many female cannabis consumers are still in the closet and, without the chorus of all our voices, the change will be slow to arrive. Keep speaking out and speaking up where you see the need! You will be very surprised at how willing the industry is to listen. They may be slow to act but they are listening. They can’t hear us if we don’t speak up. Use your dollars to make your point where you can.
Stay Lifted, Mama
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Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called PotofWellness.com, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at email@example.com