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The Expanding Acceptance of Cannabis and Culture Among Mainstream Industry

Break Grass Ceiling Panelists

By Tricia Cleppe, Senior Manager, Marketing and Client Support of New Frontier Data

The windfall of cannabis legalization and normalization cannot be overstated. With more than half of the country living in a jurisdiction with some sort of legalized cannabis program, it is safe to say that cannabis is becoming more mainstream than ever before. Acceptance is even arriving in some places you would least expect. 

Less surprising – given the constant stream of advantages, applications and business opportunities described in the daily news – in that entrepreneurs and investors are taking notice. There are dozens of cannabis-centric conferences throughout the year, but we are now seeing the cannabis industry fully included in mainstream business conferences and events. 

This was very clear at South by Southwest, one of the largest annual technology and interactive media conferences in the country, where the program earlier this month included no fewer than 13 cannabis-related panels and events – nearly doubling the slate offered in previous years. 

Panel topics included the medical efficacy and uses of cannabis (featuring former NFL player Eugene Monroe and outspoken medical cannabis researcher Dr. Sue Sisley); event-planning and management sessions for the cannabis industry; how to market legal cannabis; sex benefits from cannabis; and a networking event for those interested in getting into the blossoming new sector. 

New Frontier Data’s founder & CEO, Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, sat on one of these panels with other leading women in cannabis, including Wanda James of Simply Pure and Diane Czarkowski of Canna Advisors. The panelists were all recently featured in the new book “Breaking the Grass Ceiling” (2017), by the program’s moderator Ashley Piccolo, and which highlights the leading ladies of cannabis and their stories. When asked whether the cannabis industry has allowed them to rise to positions and success not available to them in other more mainstream and male-dominated industries, all panelists agreed that this industry had provided more upwardly mobile opportunities for them. 

While the anecdotal evidence about female leadership is interesting, the data bears out the importance of the conclusion: The cannabis industry is led by more women in executive positions than any other multi-billion-dollar industry sector. According to an MJBizDaily Survey done in partnership with the Pew Research Center, 36% of leadership positions across the cannabis industry are held by women, compared to the U.S. national average across all sectors of 22%. 

New Frontier Data will release a report later this spring exploring diversity across the industry, including the growing role of women, their expanded role as consumers, patients, company founders, industry executives and caregivers. Visit this link for updates


Tricia Cleppe, New Frontier Data Senior Manager, Marketing and Client Relations

Tricia Cleppe

Tricia Cleppe is the Senior Manager of Marketing & Client Relations for New Frontier Data. Previously, Cleppe worked as a digital marketer for a wide array of clients, including non-profit organizations within the cannabis industry.  Cleppe graduated with a degree in Advertising from the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.

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