Cannabis CEOs Are White Men, Just Like in the Rest of Corporate America (Bloomberg Business Week)

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Cannabis industry facing diversity and inclusion challenges, as many have warned once big money and legalization flow into the industry. This just in from Bloomberg Businessweek:

These days, however, the industry is increasingly dominated by men. The influx of venture money and Wall Street dollars, in addition to the rise of larger companies operating across several states, has made things harder for startups and, by extension, female-led businesses. In 2015, 36% of pot executives in Colorado were women, but just two years later that dropped to 27%, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Some in the industry fear the same lack of diversity that’s characterized such sectors as finance and technology will become the norm for the fast-growing pot world.

Women in the industry interviewed by Bloomberg say they’ve experienced sexism, from being told to dress in heels and a skirt for a meeting with investors to being asked when they plan to have children and having questions redirected to male colleagues.


Among the 20 most valuable publicly traded cannabis companies in the U.S. and Canada, there are only two female chief executive officers and not a single chief financial officer. There’s also a noticeable lack of women on boards: At those same businesses, just 13% of board members are women, compared with roughly 31% for the top 20 banks. Six of the top marijuana companies have no female board members. “The boards are mostly made up of old white guys,” says Jeannette VanderMarel, who founded Green Organic Dutchman, a Canadian pot company worth more than $600 million, and is now co-CEO of Toronto-based 48North Cannabis Corp. “A glass ceiling certainly already exists.”


Read the full piece on Bloomberg Businessweek.


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