Best of 2018

Top 20 Women on the Move in Cannabis in 2018

By Melena Gurganus

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, women are finding their way into a previously male-dominant business sector as attorneys, CEOs, chefs, growers, and medical researchers. Women pioneered many cannabis-centered efforts in 2018, including clinical studies that look into the possible benefits of this plant and its many strains, as well as how it may be of use in everyday life.

The women who made this year’s list have achieved great accomplishments while spearheading cannabis related businesses, research, or legal matters that are pushing the industry forward, all while reducing stigmas associated with hemp and other cannabis extracts.

20. Louise “Lulu” Sharpe

The owner of Lulu’s Chocolate, Lulu Sharpe, developed her brand once she realized she had an intolerance to sugar, but found a way to use Ecuadorian cacao to make traditional and CBD chocolate treats, as well as tinctures, massage oil, and capsules.

19. Janet Schriever

The founder of Code of Harmony, Janet Schriever started her brand in an effort to create “harmony in the skin” by using the calming and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD in her skincare products.

18. Kaley Nichol and Kerrigan Behrens

The co-founders of Sagely Naturals, Kaley and Kerrigan, sought out to find a solution for both of their mothers’ aches and pains, which led them to develop their own CBD-based wellness products.

17. Jessica Peters

A former CBD Specialist at Harborside Health Center, Jessica Peters is now the President of Moxie Meds tinctures, which is a cannabis-based brand focused on alleviated under-addressed female-specific issues that cause pain and discomfort.

16. Peggy Moore

The CEO and owner of her own cannabis bakery, Peggy Moore left her job at United Health Group after 33 years to sell CBD and THC confections at Love’s Oven located in Denver, Colorado.

15. Iyana Edouard

As the CEO and production manager of Kush and Cute, Iyana Edouard has created a female driven cannabis company that focuses on natural skincare products, all of which incorporate hemp or CBD oil.

14. Gillian Levy and Susan Cleverdon

Both of these women deserve a spot on our list, as they are seasoned herbalists and co-founders of Humboldt Apothecary, a women owned and operated cannabis business located in Humboldt County, California.

13. Monica Lo

As a photographer and creative director for several sous vide cookbooks, Monica Lo also created Sous Weed, which is a service that allows clients to hire chefs that prepare unique cannabis meals.

12. Beth Stavola and Julie Winter

Co-founders of the brand CBD for Life, Beth and Julie are two sisters growing their CBD-infused pain management and beauty product lines, and hope to see more women influencing the cannabis industry in the future.

11. Maya Elisabeth

The founder of Om Edibles, Maya Elisabeth, developed an all-female run company that produces high quality cannabis products, and she has also partnered with Whoopi Goldberg to create Whoopi and Maya, another cannabis brand designed for women, by women.

10. Frances “Franny” Tacy

The co-owner of Franny’s Farm alongside her husband Jeff, Franny Tacy loves her 38-acre organic farm, which features many live animals, the occasional wedding, and the growth of hemp plants for CBD extraction.

9. Joy Smith

After struggling with personal chronic pain and sleep issues, Joy Smith created her own line of CBD products called Joy Organics, where her mission is to provide affordable, organic, and bioavailable full spectrum cannabinoid products to her customers.

8. Kimberly Koehler

Founder of her own cannabis-based brand Privy Peach, Kimberly Koehler has developed hemp and CBD-infused wellness products targeted towards alleviating multiple women-specific issues.

7. Barbara Brett-Green, Ph.D.

An associate professor in the psychology department at Colorado State University – Pueblo, Barbara Brett-Green has her PhD in psychology and is currently researching the behavioral and physiological effects of CBD on adults with seizures.

6. Amanda Connor

As a skilled attorney, Amanda Connor helps cannabis businesses navigate the legal minefield alongside her husband, in their first Nevada-based law practice that caters to cannabis businesses.

5. Erin Williams

As Virginia opens up hemp farming to anyone interested in participating in the state’s research program, Erin Williams has assisted the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in overseeing this industrial hemp research, and the registration of hemp growers and processors within the state.

4. Marielle Weintraub

Not only is she a member of the board of directors for the National Hemp Association, but Marielle Weintraub also holds a PhD in behavioral neuroscience and advocates for the potential use of CBD as an alternative medication.

3. Rachel Gillette

As a former executive director of the Colorado state chapter for the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML), Rachel Gillette has advocated for change in cannabis laws and perceptions, as well as handle various legal matters for cannabis businesses.

2. Jane West

As the CEO of her own cannabis lifestyle brand, Jane West also co-founded Women Grow, the largest professional networking organization designed to help women succeed within the cannabis industry.

1. Esther Blessing

As an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at New York University, Esther Blessing has participated in multiple cannabidiol related studies in an effort to find evidence in support of CBD as a potential treatment for anxiety, PTSD, and other medical conditions.

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