On February 1-2, more than 500 people gathered at the Westin Hotel in Denver for the fourth annual Women Grow Leadership Summit. The theme, “Change-Transition-Evolution,” addressed shifts in the cannabis industry.
Speakers included 12-year-old patient Alexis Bortell, who’s among the plaintiffs in a suit to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; medical-marijuana pioneer Alice O’Leary; Michelle Dumay, a courageous mother who gave an emotional talk about being an African-American Muslim woman that treats her daughter’s seizures with cannabis; and Annie Nelson, wife of Willie Nelson and proprietor of Annie’s Edibles.
TED-style “Lightning Talks” drew the likes of Hope Wiseman, the youngest African-American dispensary owner (Mary and Main in Capitol Heights, Md.) in the country; Caela Bintner, who discussed the #TimesUp movement and sexual harassment in the workplace; Dasheeda Dawson, who segued from her show-stopping hip-hop dance (a Summit first) to a discourse on facing adversity; Lynnette Shaw, one of California’s first dispensary owners; and Cannabis Cultural Association’s Jake Plowden, Nelson Guerrero and Joe Bondy.
One of the most popular breakout sessions, “Know the Law to Joint Rolling Sessions with Jane West,” had the whole room fashioning joints and spliffs (see photo of Nelson and Lauren Rudick above). Another session offered advice on “Investing and Raising Capital for Your Cannabis Business.”
Women Grow CEO Kristina Garcia announced the following leadership changes: Dr. Chanda Macias is the new chair of the Board of Managers. She’s a former research specialist for Colgate Palmolive Company and current CEO of National Holistic Healing Center in Washington, D.C. Cofounder Jane West stepped down as chair, but will remain on the board. The seven-seat board also includes Garcia and cofounder Jazmin Hupp, with three seats open.
In addition, the organization is expanding into several new markets and will soon launch the Women Grow TV channel on twitch.tv in partnership with LOOT Interactive. This spring and fall, we’ll be connecting with colleges and universities across the country for a series of “Women Grow Campus Talks.”
Our goal is to continue to support and build the next generation of cannabis leaders while forming stronger relationships inside and outside of the industry by creating unique strategic partnerships. “The 2018 theme truly tied into the heart of the direction of which we’re taking the company,” Garcia stated, “Women Grow is an important organization for women in cannabis today and we must keep pushing the envelope forward.”
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