If you looked at everyone who helped Washington’s legal cannabis program get off the ground and then helped it stay aloft, you’re going to see plenty of women, starting with attorney Alison Holcomb, who famously crafted the legal language for Initiative 502.
More than one person has compared the whole legalization process to building an airplane after takeoff. But, in this case, the essential people involved have proven to be expert mechanics and pilots.
Since 2012, many Washington women have taken on leadership roles working to lobby lawmakers or their communities, and have proven able to bring together diverse groups of cannabis enthusiasts with strong passions and opinions. Others have focused on growing their own businesses, and helping owners manage theirs.
This may mean some long days and nights, or the need to drive to Seattle, Olympia, or anywhere else their representation is needed or there’s a request for a load of cannabis or cash.
Those who are parents face the same struggles as other working mothers – sick kids, childcare demands or meal times – but they can’t have their children on-site at their family-owned business or farm.
We know we’re not breaking new ground here, since many female cannabis entrepreneurs have received significant credit over the years for their accomplishments. Women-focused political groups like Women of NORML have chapters around the state and country. Podcasts like “Maria & Jane,” “High Tea Life” and “High Friends” highlight women’s voices and experiences in the cannabis industry and culture. National cannabis magazines even occasionally give the spotlight to innovative cannabis enthusiasts nationwide who happen to be women.
But Evercannabis would still like to take this opportunity to salute many of the women involved in helping the cannabis industry grow and thrive, especially those within our readership and community. Many of the following women of business have already appeared in our pages over the last four years, sometimes as story sources, sometimes as guest columnists, and some as Evercannabis correspondents. We’ve greeted them at events, trade shows, vendor days and public hearings. We’ve heard them speak at cannabis and non-cannabis events. Their opinions are respected and welcomed.
Take a moment to get to know some of the women who continue to play important roles in helping normalize cannabis and iron out some of the state’s initial framework to get where we are today:
Crystal Oliver is co-owner and co-founder of Washington’s Finest Cannabis, a cannabis farm in Deer Park. She is also the executive director of the Washington Sungrowers Industry Association, a trade organization that supports the work of outdoor cannabis farmers around the state. Recently, Oliver has been active promoting the “craft cannabis” bill that would allow farmers of a certain size to sell directly to the public.
Lara Kaminsky recently stepped down from her role as executive director of The Cannabis Alliance, which she held for more than four years but remains active. She was active in putting the organization together and getting to know the ins and outs of the entire industry. Her efforts took her to Olympia, to Gov. Inslee’s office, to Washington, D.C., and all around the state.
Danielle Rosellison is the owner of Trail Blazin’ Productions, a cannabis farm in the Bellingham area that may have been the first Washington cannabis business to become a member of its local chamber of commerce. Rosellison was the first president of the Cannabis Alliance and personally contacted several groups of growers, patients and advocates to come together. Her company focuses on ensuring all of its products are tested for quality, something that’s optional in the industry for adult-use.
Stephanie Lamb was hired to run the kitchen at Blue Roots Cannabis. The company already had some popular edible items but she added more including infused chips and cookies. She was given more leadership roles in the organization including sales and operations, and has also been involved in developing its new brand, Crave.
Shilo Morgan and her husband David own Lucky Leaf, a downtown Spokane retailer. They originally opened in Tri-Cities, but zoning restrictions led them to relocate further east. The shop has become a popular gathering place for a diverse cross-section of Spokane life and also hosts monthly art exhibitions.
Ahnya Smith is co-founder of the Colored Cannabis Collective, a non-profit organization dedicated to community service and improving representation for people of color, especially those involved in the cannabis industry. The group also focuses on changing some of the social stigma around cannabis as well. The CCC has scheduled community clean-ups and other beneficial projects.
Vicki Christopherson is the head of the Washington CannaBusiness Association, which engages with the cannabis community and elected officials. The group has been active in working with the Legislature and the Liquor and Cannabis Board to improve procedures for 502 businesses. It also created a fund to help medical patients who can’t afford cannabis for their conditions.
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