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Photo by Getty Images

Learn | 12.08.2021

10 Innovative Women In The Cannabis Industry Right Now

Here's an in-depth look at the women who make the cannabis world go round.

Today’s cannabis industry wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for these trailblazing women who’ve made cannabis the focal point of their careers.

Dr. Chanda Macias

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Photo courtesy of Dr. Chanda Macias

CEO of Ilera Holistic Healthcare and Chairwoman of Women Grow, Dr. Chanda Macias, is the epitome of a pioneer. With a Ph.D. and MBA under her belt, Macias is also the first black female entrepreneur to own a multistate cannabis operation with grows and retail stores across the nation.

She’s also a world-renowned biomedical research scientist and has partnered with Southern University to launch the first national CBD brand by a historically black university.

Emily Paxhia

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Photo courtesy of Emily Paxhia

Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Posidon Investment Management, Emily Paxhia, has reviewed thousands of companies in the cannabis industry during her decade-long consulting career. She’s also worked with countless founders and brands as an early investor.

Paxhia continues to move the cannabis industry forward as a member of the Board of Directors of the Marijuana Policy Project and is currently on the Board of Athletes for CARE.

Wanda James

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Photo courtesy of Simply Pure Dispensary

Founder and CEO of Simply Pure, Wanda James, is most known for founding the first black-owned legal cannabis dispensary in the nation entitled Simply Pure alongside her partner Scott Durrah.

James has worked on the National Finance Committee for President Barack Obama and is also a military veteran and former lieutenant in the United States Navy. Her cannabis empire has led James to become an influential advocate for equity while empowering black-owned business owners in the making.

Maha Haq

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Photo courtesy of Mehndi420

Maha Haq is known for her role as the Founder of Cannaclub and Managing Partner at The Highspitality Group. She’s a powerful spokesperson in cannabis education, research, and consumption lounges.

Haq’s presidency at Cannaclub allowed students at 26 universities to focus on cannabis studies and aim for a career in the field after graduating. She’s also working with Green Thumb Industries and consumption lounges through Highspitality while remaining an advocate for POC in the cannabis industry

Cyo Nystrom

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Photo by Ally Schamaling

CEO and Co-Founder of Quim, Cyo Nystrom, has trailblazed her way through the cannabis industry while creating a sex-positive female health line of related cannabis products. Nystrom’s career brings a new and untold story to the cannabis industry, one that revolves around health, wellness, and vagina talk. She candidly discusses how sex affects women’s bodies and how cannabis can aid in healing and comforting the “special” parts of our bodies.

Ophelia Chong

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Photo by Josh Fogel

Founder of Mogu.Care, CEO and founder Stock Pot Images, and co-founder of Asian Americans for Cannabis Education, Ophelia Chong, is one of the hardest working women in the industry.

She’s known to bring a breath of fresh air to California’s cannabis world alongside her photography, graphic design, art direction, and education. Chong’s latest venture with Mogu.Care emphasizes innovative growing products for “adaptogens and in the future entheogens.”

Jessica Billingsley

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Photo courtesy of Jessica Billingsley

Tech and data compliance guru and founder of Akerna, Jessica Billingsley, is a cannabis industry veteran. Akerna is the first publicly traded cannabis company on NASDAQ that is female-owned and operated. She’s also developed a seed-to-sale monitoring and regulatory compliance system. In a word of advice, Billingsley said, “Tenacity opens doors; once inside, your ability to take what you know, the skills you’ve developed, and apply them in impactful and innovative ways is what will drive your ultimate success.”

Shannon Donnelly

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Photo courtesy of Shannon Donnelly

Consultant, founder, and CEO of Healthy Honeys, Shannon Donnelly, is known as one of the most humble and dedicated women in cannabis. After founding her CBD company Healthy Honeys in 2013, the company became the first to launch at-home CBD parties. You can thank Donnelly’s consulting expertise for the plethora of cannabis licenses across the country, all of which have established successful businesses, storefronts, and laboratories.

Zoe Wilder

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Photo by Kaitlin Perry

You’ve definitely heard of publicist Zoe Wilder. She’s well-loved around the PR world and has created a unique path for cannabis advocates, artists, and marketers to follow. For over 20 years, Wilder has worked with hundreds of clients and has blossomed the careers of massive cannabis brands. To be straightforward, the California cannabis industry as we know it wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for Wilder’s innovation and dedication.

Trina Fraser

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Photo courtesy of Trina Fraser

Canada’s Trina Fraser is of the most informed lawyers in the country’s cannabis realm. Her expertise continues to expand alongside the opening of international markets. Fraser is a highly sought-after lawyer, as industry experts (worldwide) often look to her for information on the rules, regulations, and overall experimentation of Canada’s federal cannabis legalization. She’s also known for her blunt and honest tweets; she offers birds-eye view information on the cannabis industry at large.

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