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Knowledge & Insights

The Decline of Women and Minorities in Cannabis


According to recent reports, the percentage of women and minorities working in the cannabis industry is declining. The available data paints a gloomy picture for the future of social equity in cannabis. This article explores some reasons for the disparity and how people in these demographic groups can navigate the changing landscape.  

New Reporting Data

According to a recent report published by MJBizDaily, women and minority executives in the cannabis space have begun to decline. The report, “Women & Minorities in the Cannabis Industry,” conveys the downward shift of business owner and executive positions held by women and people of color. And according to the data, there was a significant drop from 2019 to 2021. 

Similarly, other recent studies have shown a significant decrease in the percentage of women and minorities in executive positions. In addition, they’ve also identified an increase of white men entering the cannabis space. According to the data, white men disproportionately land executive roles in the industry, leading to the shift. 

Why are we seeing a shift now? 

This is likely due to many factors. Although, legalization is increasing around the US and the world, there is still a stigma. In addition, there is a lack of access to capital for women and minority business owners. However, as the cannabis industry continues to grow, there is hope that more women and minorities will jump onboard.

What can women and minorities do?

Don’t get discouraged! There are still many opportunities in the cannabis industry for women and minorities. Despite the recent data, there are still many successful women and minority business owners and executives in the cannabis industry. “Social equity initiatives and cannabis legalization are now intertwined.” according to Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier, the editor of the Women & Minorities in the Cannabis Industry report.  

Not all areas of the cannabis industry are experiencing this downward trend. For instance, in cannabis cultivation companies, women and minorities still hold more executive positions. However, they remain underrepresented in other verticals, including dispensaries and infused product businesses.  

Get involved! Check out women in cannabis groups and social equity coalitions. At GreenGrowth CPAs, we have provided services to numerous social equity cannabis license holders. We have the knowledge to help you along your journey of working in the cannabis space. Moreover, we’re creating partnerships with associations to learn more about how to get our employees and clients involved in partnering with other female and minority operators. We believe in a diverse and inclusive environment, where we encourage everyone’s cultural differences. 

The Future of Diversity in Cannabis

While some of the findings of this study are concerning, the cannabis industry must take steps to ensure that women and minorities have an equal opportunity to succeed in executive roles. This will help the industry reach its full potential and help to address some of the inequalities that exist in the business world today.

New states are rolling out social equity programs as part of their legalization legislation initiatives. This presents options for people of color to find opportunities for involvement. Furthermore, many of the license applicants represent groups who were most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs.

It will be interesting to watch how the cannabis industry continues to develop in the coming years and whether it can discontinue the trend of white men dominating the C-suites. Only time will tell, but the cannabis industry must work to become more inclusive if it wants to achieve its full potential. Only then will the industry reflect the true diversity in our society. 

Reach Out Today!

To learn more about how our products and services can assist your social equity circle, reach out to our team of financial experts at GreenGrowth CPAs. We are here to help your cannabis venture through any level of the accounting, tax filing, or business cycle. 

We employ several financial programs to assist the company with its fiscal responsibilities, including tax planning and compliance, outsourced CFO support, audit preparation, tax controversy support, and much more.

For recommendations and assistance with tax planning and accounting services, schedule a free consultation or contact us at 1-800-674-9050.

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