There has always been a slow and steady rumbling coming from within the bowels of the global cannabis movement, but it was the seismic shifts of a new feminist movement, last year, that unearthed a forgotten intersection between women and weed. Since then, the world has placed a hard spotlight on the female cannabis warriors, CEOs, artists and innovators from around the world who are creating a new frontier—the feminist cannabis movement. What has traditionally been a boy’s club is now turning into a female-dominated community, but it’s not an anomaly. There are several reasons why cannabis and feminism have become the organic and unflinching sisterhood we’ve all been waiting for:
Up until the witch hunts, women were revered for their magical and medicinal healing abilities. While the men were hunting game and undoubtably bashing skulls in with rocks, women were entrusted with foraging and creating herbal treatments. From menstruation and labour complications, to postpartum depression and the pain of defloration, cannabis gained notoriety for its effectiveness in treating female conditions. Even Queen Victoria used pot to deal with her monthly visit. Once prohibition took hold, the women and their discoveries were largely forgotten. It’s only in recent years that these traditional applications have begun to reemerge as popular alternatives to things like Midol and anti-depressants.
If thousands of years of human history don’t do it for you, the flower’s womanhood can be broken down to the molecular level. Only female plants produce the amount of chemicals required for the physical and mental benefits that come with ingesting cannabis. Male plants mature, develop pollen sacs (which eventually burst and spill out everywhere…sounds familiar) and are effectively useless beyond uncontrolled fertilization. Female plants, on the other hand, go on to produce the mounds of bud rich with THC and CBD that we know and smoke today. Producers looking to harvest large crops of cannabis usually bypass the lengthy gender identification process and simply work off of cloned females, called the Mother, or purchase feminized seeds. So, woman up and grow some buds.
THE ROOTS OF REBELLION
Before cannabis mutated into a suit-wearing, publicly traded, multibillion dollar capitalist Franken-industry, it was an underground, illicit counterculture for freaks and hippies. Guess what else saw that metamorphosis. You got it. Feminism. What started out as a brave few Suffragettes turned into a mobilized civilian army, which, decades later, turned into a global industry branding women’s empowerment. Today, feminism sells. Both movements have always teetered between inclusivity and activism, but have since landed in the sights of big money. Now, is that a bad thing? Everyone has a different opinion. If we’re winning the battle against marginalization, maybe becoming corporate sell-outs won’t sting so badly. What is certain, however, is that both cannabis and feminism were raised and nurtured in the muddy, bloody trenches of fundamental human rights.
The cannabis industry has seen unprecedented global growth. The legal market in North America alone is currently worth about $10 billion, and expected to grow substantially over the next year. An EY report predicts by 2028, women will control close to 75 per cent of discretionary spending worldwide. Those two economic indicators can either work together or against, depending on how businesses equip their teams over the next several years. Put simply, when it comes to cannabis, women are a smart business decision. I am not partial to the argument that women should be given leadership roles because they are “more compassionate” and, because cannabis is a wellness product, understand it better. I think there are men who innately understand cannabis from the wellness perspective. What is true, however, is to understand their demographic, businesses need women contributing to every facet from concept to production to distribution. Women understand consumers because they are the consumers.
With movements like #MeToo and The Women’s March, the world is seeing a renaissance of feminism. At the same time, we are seeing the global liberation of cannabis as it crawls out from beneath the shadow of nearly 100 years of prohibition. Intersectionality exists in every aspect of social justice and, as such, there is a strong, outspoken branch of feminism that expresses itself through cannabis. They both provide the other with a platform that diversifies their audience, expands their reach and proliferates a message of acceptance. At their most fundamental, both movements share the same goal of education and inclusivity.