We here at Alibi HQ regularly write about the impact of the new cannabis industry on the jobs sector. Highlighting the tremendous growth of jobs in cannabis is a regular topic here. Recently Leafly joined the bandwagon and reported that cannabis is one of the fastest growing job sectors, the fastest even, in the USA.
But there’s an issue in the industry and in light of Women’s month it’s important we talk about.
Gender parity and gender discrimination.
As we all know, in the USA cannabis is still a controlled Schedule 1 substance. An illegal substance, despite state level legalization in several states. As such jobs in the cannabis sector fall mostly outside of any regulation, especially regulations which still need to be fought for to be implemented nationally, and worldwide, such as gender parity.
But the USA doesn’t track jobs in the industry because federally cannabis is an illegal drug. Which leads to the most ridiculous situations, like the fastest growing sector not having legal access to banking.
Luckily, as a modern new industry the cannabis sector is a rather healthy new economy and does pay above national average, as we also highlighted in our post about the most popular jobs in the cannabis sector. But that’s currently based on the industry’s goodwill, not based on any standard, laws, or even backed by unions.
While it is a rather decent percentage compared to other industries, according to Leafly’s report only 33% of the employees in the sector are female. According to Kate Phillips, an advisor and previous cannabis dispensary manager in Massachusetts, this can often lead to a toxic work environment. She even reported several women had left the sector already because of the disparity and complaints not going heard.
Additionally, she also mentioned that most managerial roles tend to go to men and women generally land lesser paid jobs in the retail area.
“It’s a boys’ club. There’s a large issue with gender discrimination across the industry as a whole.“
—Kate Phillips, cannabis advisor and former dispensary manager
Phillips noted that when she worked as budtender she made $15/hour which did lead to stress about how she would pay her bills. But she also mentioned that contributing to helping patients feel better was a satisfaction in the job.
Luckily, the sector is new and in recent years we’ve seen an increase in female entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs being highlighted and given the spotlights. This is already taking place in the cannabis industry but at the same time only 11 according to the linked report is also disappointing.
With more than 200,000 US jobs in the industry already, surely there is room for more than 11 female pioneers, trailblazing the sector’s evolution. More than that, we definitely also need to see and hear more about female dispensary owners, managers who can cascade/create contribute to a healthy environment not dominated by male culture. And definitely job and wage parity.
The budding cannabis industry should not become the “next bro club”.