In the last decade, the legal cannabis industry emerged as a fast-growing and complex new market. Legal cultivation of the cannabis plant promises to create tremendous economic opportunities. Further, the new market hints at significant social consequences. Numerous women have entered the field as entrepreneurs, advocates, and employees. Early reports indicate a much higher percentage of women within the cannabis industry than the agricultural industry in general.
Nevertheless, women face challenges and obstacles. The cannabis industry bears the characteristics of a start-up entity, but this entity resides within a market skewed by the federal law banning the cultivation or sale of the product. Federal prohibition has constrained corporate growth, leaving the industry dominated by numerous small, privately held companies. Less than a third of these companies report having adopted policies ensuring the growth and retention of a diverse workforce.