Jane West is known as one of the most successful female CEOs in the cannabis industry.
As of 2017, she has built something of a cannabis empire. She’s an entrepreneur of her eponymous brand of cannabis products and the founder of Women Grow, but her skills extend beyond top level executive — she’s also a wife and a mother of two.
Kulture Hub had the opportunity to talk to Jane about life as a top level executive in the growing marijuana industry.
Jane fell in love with the medicinal herb the first time she ever tried it. When she was younger, she supported legalizing the plant, though she didn’t consider becoming a cannapreneur until Amendment 64 passed in her home state of Colorado.
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At the time, Jane was working as as a corporate events planner. As the country prepared for the first legal sale of marijuana, and the idea of combining her passion for event planning and marijuana together created Edible Events, the first cannabis catering company ever.
“As the state geared up to launch the world’s first fully legal market in 2013, I combined my passions for cannabis and entertaining to launch Edible Events, a consumption-friendly events company. The events attracted a ton of high-profile media attention, and after a few months I was fired from my corporate job when my employer saw me vaping on a CNBC documentary about legalization.”
Though this may read bleak, Jane took it as a positive feat. Instead of setting her back, she took her job loss as a step in the next direction.
“For me, losing my job was an opportunity. I realized I wasn’t just getting a new job; I was joining a revolution. I immediately committed to going all in on the legal cannabis industry, and I haven’t looked back since.”
It’s no surprise that mothers involved in the cannabis industry are judged heavily at times. It’s not commonly accepted for women, especially mothers, to be able to smoke and take care of children.
“We live in a society that polices women’s bodies and lifestyles, and the lingering social stigmas around cannabis consumption are definitely part of that.”
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But there’s a very positive reaction in the community regarding the mothers of marijuana.
“I find that people are excited about the idea of mothers and all women making a splash in this vibrant new industry. I’m thrilled that so many women have found success, support and validation within the cannabis community.”
In 2014, Jane founded Women Grow, an organization dedicated to helping connect and empower women interested in the cannabis industry. The first event drew 70 attendees to the organization.
“Within two years, Women Grow had blossomed into a thriving nationwide organization with chapters in 44 cities and tens of thousands of attendees.”
Perhaps the most surprising feat of the cannabis industry is how well it breeds high-powered women. Cannabis has become a hub for female bosses everywhere, and the industry continues to help women pave their way to the top.
“This is a brand new industry, and there’s no playbook,” says Jane, “The entrenched power structures that define virtually every formal industry in the world haven’t had time to take hold.”
It can be tough at times for a mother in the industry. The words “Marijuana” and “Mother” aren’t usually found together in the same sentence. Regarding backlash from the maternal community, Jane says the fact that she lives in Colorado makes it a lot easier to endure.
“At the end of the day, I believe that cannabis makes me a better parent. Mothers have busy, stressful lives and we do a lot of self-medicating to cope. Cannabis helps me unwind at the end of the night without relying on alcohol or pharmaceuticals. It’s a safer, healthier way to unwind. Being healthy, happy, and balanced allows me to be the best mother I can.”
Jane hopes to become the face for responsible parents involved in cannabis everywhere. She makes sure to keep her cannabis separate from her children, and continues to prove that it is possible and acceptable for a parent to smoke after a stressful day at work, while still being able to take care of her children.
“When you’re a mom, everyone seems to have an opinion about your parenting style, and this is no different. But I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated the many mothers who have come to me to ask questions and maybe even try cannabis for the first time themselves.”
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For West, the most challenging part is the unknown future of the industry.
“The most challenging part of my professional experience has been dealing with the doubt, fear and indecision of striking out on my own in a brand-new industry where a lot of the old rules don’t apply.”
The best part, though, is how fulfilling and rewarding her position is, and how strong the community of women is within it.
“This isn’t an easy path, but it’s absolutely worth it.”
Right now, her eponymous 2017 Jane West Holiday Collection is out, finally giving women and men the cute, compact smoker’s kit that never existed before.
The collection focuses on a flower theme, since “flower” is Jane’s favorite form of cannabis. She explained,
“There are so many ways to consume now that it feels like we sometimes forget that that’s exactly what cannabis is… A flowering plant. My mission has always been to help women engage with cannabis, so it made complete sense for me to develop a line of flower pipes and accessories designed for our needs and sensibilities.”
The collection mirrors makeup products for easy accessibility and concealment. Sets like The Compact hold a few cannabis products; a cleaning tool, a lighter, and two storage containers.
“The are so many products out there that don’t work in our daily routines. I love that every product in The Collection looks and feels right at home in your pocket or makeup bag. The Wand is a taster pipe and flower storage container that’s a dead ringer for a classy tube of mascara.”
The Collection was created under the basis of discretion. Every product Jane offers makes a statement in the new cannabis industry, specifically for women.
“These are products that just make sense for the women in my circle.”
As of right now, Jane’s line continues to be the only one in the industry to sell cannabis products and accessories that are aimed towards women, but has also began selling the actual plant itself, recently launching the Jane West Flower Collection in Day and Night Colorado dispensaries.
“We’re making it super simple to choose a high-quality varietal that fits your needs. Day is energizing and upbeat, and Night helps you relax and unwind. We’ve partnered with an incredible women-owned and operated cultivation facility, and we’ll be hand selecting our favorite Day and Night varietals every season. The Flower Collection comes in one-eighth and one-sixteenth ounce sizes, as well as ten-packs of mini joints that are perfect for a solo session.”
Jane says she’s excited to watch the industry breed powerful, competitive women in top executive positions.
“My team has a definite advantage. But I welcome future competition.”
As for her favorite way to consume the plant, Jane prefers to smoke her flower out of a glass pipe, or from a solo hitter.
“Smoking flower is an important personal ritual for me. It’s an act of self-care that clears my mind and a chance to connect and share something with friends.”
For budding young women looking to get into the marijuana industry, Jane offers them her full moral support, encouraging them to get into the industry as soon as they can, and to approach it with an open mind.
“Get in while the industry is small and you’ll have a chance to help make history. This isn’t a business for the fainthearted or risk-averse. But why not take a chance? You could very well find a job or venture you’re utterly passionate about.”
The best part about the industry is how open and endless the opportunities are. Jane mentions the opportunity advantage that exists for people for other minority and discriminated group, such as people of color.
“For the first time, people of color, women, and other groups traditionally underrepresented in the corporate world have a chance to lead an industry. And not just any industry, but a global industry with massive potential value that will touch all of our lives,” shares Jane excitedly.
“This is our opportunity to create a culture that’s conducive to and supportive of women, people of color, and other groups that are disempowered by the capitalist economy,” she says, motivating those around her to take reign of the opportunities at hand, “That means insisting on a seat at the table, developing products and accessories that work for people like us, and a new, equitable corporate culture.”
It’s pretty awesome to see women take hold in the rapidly-growing cannabis industry. Check out the Jane West Collection here.