It’s pot girl summer … and it's not what you think.
Women are staking their claim in the cannabis and psychedelic space; and we need to educate ourselves and each other on why this is so important.
For this article, we’ll be focussing on cannabis - not just the legal cannabis-based products we sell (learn more here) - but also the wider legalisation movement.
For lady-high, empowering women to take up more space in the cannabis movement is PIVOTAL.
The first step to being pot girl is to completely disregard what you thought you might have known about weed. Might seem a bit dramatic but, like with most culture and history, the narrative has been politicised (and white washed). We need to decolonise our minds and encourage whoever will listen to keep their minds open. The goal is to de-stigmatise the general attitude towards cannabis and those who use it.
An open mind is all that is required to learn.
The Cannabis Story
Human’s have been using cannabis for rituals, medicine, and recreation for thousands of years. Like many other psycho-active healing plants - they were a part of our preliminary interaction with the natural world. In fact, they have evidence of cannabis being smoked in religious rituals 2,500 years ago in Western China.
The commercial cannabis industry got started in the 15th century when it was brought to the New World by Spanish explorers. Industrialisation of the crop really took off in the late 19th century. Then, with the rise of Mexican labourers in the US south-west and South American and Caribbean sailors docking in New Orleans; a melting pot of culture, heritage, and cannabis-use started to take shape.
The Marihuana Tax act of 1937 outlawed Hemp agriculture, making it extremely difficult to produce hemp legally. On the surface it was painted with a racist brush (Brexit anyone?); propaganda aside, the bill was ultimately driven by competing lobbyists. Not only prepared in secret, most people didn't even know that marijuana and hemp were the same thing. Much to the dismay of those who knew of the plant’s numerous innovative uses, Du Pont Petrochemical Company ended up on top. Hemp as an industrial product was marred and its bad PR trip was only just beginning.
* The term marajuana stems from racist caricatures coined by prohibitionists hoping to appeal to a xenophobic audience by fetishising exoticism and blaming foreigners for crime and immoral behaviour. So we don’t like to use that word.
During the Nixon era, alongside a national anti-war and free-love movement, cannabis was further demonised. With an emphasis on race and socio-economic class, oppressive police powers and laws further undermined disenfranchised communities. There was a crusade against alternative thinking and counterculture.
Oh, let’s not forget the privatisation of prisons in the early 90s (more people in prisons meant bigger profits). With the debilitating Three Strikes Law, there were plenty of low-level offenders to imprison for life. Yeah we'll say it, Bill Clinton is not the liberal darling people want him to be.
What about the UK?
The UK followed a similar trajectory to the US and held xenophobic attitudes around cannabis since the 19th century. Many politicians claimed it caused a madness in the colonies.
The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 ultimately put the nail in the cannabis coffin.
Yet, the UK is the world's largest exporter of legal cannabis. You can count licensed cannabis-farm owners on one hand (there are two). Surprise, they are run by white men.
The hypocrisy is next level. One of the licensed companies— GW Pharmaceuticals — acquires 20-tonnes of cannabis per year from a 45-acre farm operated by British Sugar. British Sugar is run by Paul Kenward, the husband of former Drug Minister, Victoria Atkins. She had to step down from speaking on drug policy when this conflict of interest was unearthed.
Despite the connection between the conservative party and those who profit substantially off of legal cannabis, it is mostly those from ethnic minorities who are formally charged for weed possession. If you live in the UK you would be sure this does not represent the reality of consumption…just saying.
Cannabis is a substance that only a select few in the UK (read affluent, but Oxford helps) can profit from, while the rest of us face serious consequences for possessing negligible quantities of the exact same plant. Seems fair.
The Legal Industry Today
In the early 2000s, the semi-legalisation of weed emerged from the shadows. Its numerous medical benefits became apparent and gave rise to an industry with a focus on wellness.
To us, the legal cannabis industry can be divided into three sub-industries: (1) hemp-derived cannabis (under 0.2% THC), which is legal now in most places as there are no psycho-active components, (2) cannabis for recreational use, legal in Canada, Georgia, South Africa, Uruguay, Holland, and some states in the US, and finally (3) cannabis for medical use - a complicated area, especially in the UK.
The hemp-derived cannabis (often inaccurately labelled CBD) space is growing in the UK and Europe. But the case for the legal recreational use of cannabis is still very much in its infancy.
Did you know that it's almost impossible to get a prescription for cannabis in the UK, despite it being legal medically? We’re talking for people who seriously need it, like those who struggle with severe epilepsy and other chronic diseases.
We believe that desensitising the public to the use of hemp/CBD will act as a catalyst to normalise cannabis and other psycho-active plants (used recreationally or otherwise). The normalisation of cannabis will bring about the much needed de-politicisation and prejudice around drugs. Surely leaving a better world in its wake.
The Grass Ceiling
Women initially dominated the hemp-derived cannabis space; creating and tailoring products to meet the demands of women’s sexual, physical and mental health. But as always, large corporates saw moolah and entered the CBD chat.
The value of cannabis market grew exponentially (the green rush) but women and minorities in positions of power diminished. This gender disparity at the leadership level calls for women to break this grass ceiling.
Take. Up. More. Space.
Cannabis is a female plant after all. And with women controlling around $30 trillion in annual consumer spending - women should be taking up more space.
The pandemic accelerated things and more people were drawn to cannabis (legal and otherwise). Maybe it was all that time at home, an increase in anxiety, a surge in wellness-seekers; sales grew 46% during 2020 and reached $17.5 billion according to BDSA. Amongst this number, Gen Z women are the fastest growing consumers of legal weed, a whooping 151% growth (Headset).
That’s some pot girl sh*t.
Women represent a strong demographic within the cannabis industry; creator and consumer will align themselves with brands that are conscious, responsible, sustainable...and bold.
When you look around at minority-led companies in the weed world you will see there is a joint mission to decolonise and de-stigmatise cannabis.
Women are claiming autonomy over their bodies and letting go of performative behaviours that we have been programmed to attain. We want to invite women to accept the wild women within. Free of judgment of ourselves and of others; live the highest versions of ourselves. That’s truly what it means to be lady-high.
Whilst the products that we hand-curate and sell have women at the forefront, lady-high is for everyone.
We’re not in Kansas anymore, spread the word.