Celebrating Impactful Women in Cannabis 

 

This March we have been celebrating Women’s History Month. Throughout the cannabis industry we are proud to have women who are advocates, medical researchers, scientific developers, and business leaders. Across the country women are working to educate the public on the positive effect cannabis can have in our communities and give voice to issues that matter to the cannabis industry. Below we highlight women who are making an impact across all areas of the cannabis community. 

 

 

The Advocate 

Scheril Murray Powell, Esq.

Scheril is an Agricultural, Cannabis, and Dietary Supplement Attorney at Doumar, Allsworth, Laystrom, Voigt, Adair, and Dishowitz LLP in Florida.  The Daily Business Review has named her one of the state’s Top 12 Cannabis Attorneys.  Her practice covers both the Marijuana and Hemp Industries, specializing in Cannabinoid legalization and UK Novel Foods registration.  Scheril serves as the Director of Business Development of Cannabiziac.com, an incubator, accelerator and co-working community catering solely to cannabis-related businesses.  She also mentors Pre-Law and Law School students of diverse backgrounds and has been a speaker at the Black and Hispanic Prelaw Conference, the Diversity Prelaw Conference, and the HBCU Prelaw Summit and Expo. 

 

What makes you excited about the future of cannabis?

To be honest, what I am most excited about is the reunifications of families.  When you watch the documentary "The Grass is Greener" on Netflix there is a part, about one hour in, where you see how a family was destroyed by the incarceration of a loved one for a cannabis charge.  In this part of the documentary, they show when he was given release date [from prison] and then on his release date, he was resentenced and given more time.  That heart-wrenching scene is a reality for so many.  Legalization efforts which include social justice provisions mean that families will be reunited.  As adult use legislation rolls out across the country and around the world, we need to ensure that the release of those incarcerated for non-violent cannabis offenses and expungement provisions are included so that families can be reunited and given a fresh start.

 

What does it mean to you to be an advocate for your community in the cannabis space?

My community means the world to me and those who are not rooted in their communities can be easily moved and shaken.   It is a distinct privilege for my community (Black community, female community, Caribbean community, cannabis community) to see me fighting for them, for them to be encouraged to do the same for others and encouraged to take part in this industry.  As an advocate, I can help change the laws for the better.  As an advocate, I can carve out a place in the industry for small and minority businesses.  Our company Cannabiziac.com works with entrepreneurs to help them survive the reality of participating in a highly regulated industry.  Through this work, we are creating a more diverse industry.

 

What's a piece of advice you would give a woman who is looking to get involved in cannabis advocacy?

I have two pieces of advice for women looking to get involved in cannabis advocacy.  The first is something that I heard in a sermon by my favorite pastor, the late Dr. Myles Monroe.  He said, "Women are born equipped".  We need to remember that everything that we need to be successful, we are equipped with.  We just need to tap into our capabilities and embrace what we know to be true about ourselves.  The second piece of advice is to remember the mothers. The work we do is for the mothers of sick children that have a right to cannabinoid medicine for treatment and the mothers that had to see their sons and daughters locked in a cage for a plant. 

 

The Physician

Dr. Sasha Noe, DO, PhD

Dr. Sasha Noe, DO, PhD, is a dual doctorate, board-certified award-winning Family Medicine Physician and Researcher, Multi-Best Selling Author, International Speaker and Medical Cannabis expert. As the only known physician in the US with a PhD specifically in molecular and cellular cannabinoid research for over 20 years, Dr. Sasha®️ is undoubtedly one of the nation’s leading experts in the field of medical cannabis. Her award-winning published research has contributed towards the advancement of the therapeutic potential for cannabis over the last two decades, being referenced nationally and worldwide in numerous scholarly articles and books. It is her life’s goal to educate and consult with patients, physicians and the industry about medical cannabis while developing safe, maximally effective, therapeutic applications of cannabis and minimizing the use of opioids and other more harmful pharmaceuticals to improve overall health and wellness.

 

What does it mean to you to be a woman in cannabis?

When I immigrated to the US at age 17, I never imagined I would be involved in the cannabis field from a medical, clinical, research and advocacy standpoint. It has been surreal to bring cannabis research from the bench to the bed side and contribute to parts of the foundation of cannabinoid research and medical knowledge in what still is a very male dominated world. I feel utterly blessed to be a part of this industry that changes the lives of so many individuals. 

 

What makes you excited about the future of cannabis?

As I hope we get closer to the end of cannabis prohibition I am most excited to see the advances in research and medicine that are in store for our future. Because cannabis is federally illegal and is classified as a schedule 1 drug, there are tremendous roadblocks to advancements in research and medicine. While the last 30 years has been encouraging to see how far we have come from a research standpoint across so many countries, there will be exponential changes to the science, technology and materials sectors as it pertains to the cannabis plant when cannabis is no longer a federally illicit, schedule 1 drug. The legalization of cannabis can’t happen soon enough so that research and technology can advance unhindered. 

 

What's a piece of advice that you would give a woman starting out in the cannabis industry?

I am a huge believer that we can achieve anything if we are passionate about it and are willing to put in the effort it requires to build a successful, collaborative team to achieve our goals. A woman trying to succeed in a male dominated world such as the cannabis industry is attainable. There are many amazing women in this industry already who have paved the way and new ones who are joining us on this journey to positively impact the lives of others. The struggle for women as professionals and entrepreneurs is still a real one, yet advances have been made where women are breaking through these gender barriers every day. My advice would be to find your passion in this industry, educate yourself about it, figure out what your unique abilities are that you can contribute to the industry and go for it. The sky is the limit! Cannabis is a perfect fit for women and with the focus on innovative thinking, entrepreneurship, health and wellness, women can, and I believe will, lead the way!

 

 

The Entrepreneur 

Jamie L. Pearson, President & CEO, Bhang Inc.

Jamie L. Pearson is the President and CEO of Bhang Inc. A rare, second-generation cannabis executive, she has decades of experience in global operations, deal structuring and negotiation as a former multi-national real estate entrepreneur and investor. Fluent in German and English, Jamie is responsible for Bhang’s capital markets initiatives, national and international expansion, and overall corporate management. She leads the company’s diverse executive team in the development and execution of Bhang’s strategic plan. Jamie’s cannabis expertise, operations experience, and deep legacy and legal industry relationships elevate Bhang and the entire industry. A graduate of Vassar College and the University of Oregon, Jamie was selected from over 7,500 nominees as a High Times Female 50 Honoree and keynote speaker. In her viral speech, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” Jamie outlined the measurable benefits of including women and the BIPOC community in leadership and board roles on purpose. Jamie believes the cannabis industry should be positively disruptive to the very framework of business and encourages her colleagues to share access, to reject the plant’s stigma, and to promote cannabis as a gateway to wellness for our bodies, our companies, and our communities.  

 

What does it mean to you to be an entrepreneur in business, specifically the cannabis space as a woman?

Entrepreneurship whether you’re male or female is a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs, disappointments, and successes. Cannabis is that rollercoaster ride going Mach 5 with your hair on fire. It takes a lucky person with crocodile skin to succeed in cannabis, so imagine the cast of characters in this industry on any given day. It’s remarkable and makes the days go by fast. The stories we are all going to be able to tell are going to be classics! 

I figured out young how to manifest my dreams and go after what I want. It’s a skill not everyone possesses. I have that fire in my belly and a burning desire to hustle and win so achieving success in this industry means a great deal to me. I’m not alone though when I tell you how thankful I am I get to work with the incredible people in the cannabis industry every day. From the people on Bhang’s team, to our clients and vendors, I am filled with gratitude for the friendships and relationships my entrepreneurial journey has gifted me.

 

What makes you excited about the future of cannabis? What is something you wish you would’ve known before getting into the cannabis space?

Cannabis is changing people’s lives for the better. I like to say cannabis is the gateway to wellness in our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and in our communities. Whether through offering jobs, providing opportunities, adding much-needed tax revenue, delighting customers, and most importantly righting the wrongs of racial injustice, I believe the future of cannabis is unbelievably positive and I’m grateful to be part of it. Knowing what we’re doing is changing lives for the better is an incredible motivation to keep going when it gets hard. What I wish I would have known before going into it is that a cross between Sour Diesel and Maui Wowie is my perfect strain - no munchies, great mood, and tons of energy. It’s called Sour Maui and I can’t find it anywhere. I would have cloned that sh*t.

 

What's a piece of advice that you would give a woman starting out in the cannabis industry?

Know your worth. I think this is advice women need in general. Women make 85% of all the household purchasing decisions in the United States. Black Women make up over 53% of our work force. These statistics are staggering. If women collectively understood our power, we wouldn’t be asking for a seat at the table. We’d buy it, pull up a chair, and do what we do - run things.