Less than four years ago, high ranks in the cannabis industry were among the most female-friendly in the world, with women occupying 36 percent of C-Suite level positions – as per Marijuana Business Daily numbers for 2015. However, as time went by and the industry continued its upward trajectory, many women started to bump into the so-called “grass ceiling.”
By 2018, women were only occupying 27 percent of C-Suite level positions in the marijuana industry. Cassandra Farrington, CEO of Marijuana Business Daily, remains one of them.
After discussing the topic extensively, I managed to break downwhat I think are the main factors driving this trend. Namely: deeply rooted social conceptions, the continued migration of male executives from men-dominated industries into cannabis, and the clear trend of funding favoring male-founded businesses.
Sara Gullickson is the CEO of Item 9 Labs, which is OTC-listed in the U.S., with a valuation close to $200 million. She previously served as the CEO and founder of cannabis consulting firm Dispensary Permits, a company she started at age 27, with only $3.00.
Specializing in cannabis licensing, her consulting firm secured multiple wins in state markets across the country. Four years ago, Gullickson decided to expand her licensing offerings by developing a more inclusive resource platform. She created sister company DispensaryTemplates.com, a site with an extensive online library of downloadable cannabis business plans available for purchase.
“Leveraging my different skillsets and diversifying my business services has allowed me to get where I am today. I grew my company into the top 3 percent of women-owned businesses and secured ownership of multiple properties before making the decision to sell. My company was acquired by publicly traded Item 9 Labs Corp where I now serve as CEO,” she explained during a recent, exclusive conversation.
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