Our Female Founders on Empowering Women, Elevating Cannabis

Mar 14, 2024 | Autumn Brands News

Here at Autumn Brands, we’re committed to growing premium cannabis using sustainable cultivation techniques and elevating the roles of women in the cannabis industry. To continue our celebration of Women’s History Month, our two female founders, Autumn Shelton and Hanna Brand, share their journeys, perspectives, and aspirations in the cannabis industry.

What does being a woman in the cannabis industry mean to you?

Women play a vital role in the cannabis industry in multiple ways. To start, all our cannabis plants are female. You don’t want any males unless you are trying to fertilize the plants to make seeds for new genetics. The end consumer product is only obtained from female plants.

Cannabis is also a health and wellness product, and women are typically the caretakers in the family, making decisions on what products are best for the family. Women want the best quality products; they want to know what’s in them and who is behind them. So, choosing a cannabis product that is pesticide-free and crafted by women is very important.

This is also a new industry where the sky’s the limit for opportunity. Other industries are highly male-dominated, but for cannabis, every part of this industry is being freshly invented. There are so many different products and affiliated companies, that women whether in creative or executive roles can provide innate key abilities to grow successful companies.

What are your views on the current state of the cannabis industry and the climate for women in the sector?

2024 marks 100 years of prohibition, and the era of “reefer madness” is (almost) behind us. Every day, the world is learning and understanding this plant’s importance. Twenty-four states have legalized adult use and medicinal cannabis, while an additional 14 states have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. There is a high chance that cannabis will be rescheduled this year, marking a historical destigmatized path toward normalcy.

Cannabis is an incredible plant that helps people medicinally and recreationally every day in many ways. It has changed lives and allowed adults and children (when used medicinally) to live better lives. Our bodies have the endocannabinoid system that naturally binds to cannabinoids in cannabis, which is why so many people have seen a positive difference in regulating their bodies, aches, pains and illnesses.

Do you believe gender bias remains an obstacle to achieving true equality in the cannabis industry? And if so, what would you like to see changed?

The cannabis industry is important to many people on many different levels. This is a relatively new industry where the sky’s the limit to anyone. Professional women can dominate this industry if they set their minds to it. Cannabis is a health and wellness product and women tend to have a better grasp on what their immediate and extended family needs to stay healthy and balanced.

This is the time to get involved and participate in this rapidly growing industry. However, it takes someone with drive, the ability to adapt and change at a moment’s notice, and a great appreciation for this plant’s natural abilities.

What do you love most about working in cannabis? 

We’re excited to see more female founders in this space, more education, less stigma and cannabis becoming more and more accessible to the world.

What’s been your most significant learning or “a-ha” moment?

Always stay true to your company vision. When something isn’t working, make small revisions to determine exactly what needs to change.

In any business, but especially in a new industry, it’s important to stay frugal and avoid trying to be the fanciest company out there, or you could lose everything. We saw so many cannabis businesses go out of business because they spent too much before they even got their business up and running.

Any advice for women looking to get into the cannabis industry?

The incredible part about this industry is that there is no glass ceiling, nothing set in stone, and endless opportunities. Women are an important part of this industry from the desired flowering plants being female to the natural abilities of women to provide insight and guidance into health and wellness.

There are so many different ways to get into this industry, so it’s really up to the woman on what calls her. It’s important to understand that this industry continues to change at a moment’s notice, so adapting and modifying quickly is critical.

The industry is taxed higher than any other industry, so understanding your cash flow every single month is critical. Women who want to get into this industry must do their research, understand all the regulations, learn from others, be frugal with the money they invest, and be ready to have a lot of fun and feel good about what they’re doing!

The future of the cannabis industry in the US is…?

Increased supply: California’s ever-growing cannabis cultivation and lack of retailers have increased the supply, creating a flooded market. Due to the wholesale market crash, there is more opportunity for new brands to try their hand in the market by offering ridiculously low prices. Some dispensaries find this enticing and are enjoying a race to the bottom while still keeping their retail prices the same for the consumer.

Bigger brands are coming in: Cannabis is undoubtedly a growth industry, and more prominent brands are entering the market. Beverage companies such as Pabst, Lagunitas, Anheuser-Busch, and others are leaping into creating cannabis-infused beverages.

Cannabis is becoming a global commodity: The worldwide demand for cannabis has skyrocketed with the pandemic, bringing a massive increase in sales globally, with the worldwide market estimated to be at $130 billion by 2025. More countries like Poland, Ukraine, and South Africa are moving toward legalization, and US cannabis companies are making moves toward international growth.

Consumers are increasingly interested in clean products: Consumers are more educated about everything they are ingesting, including cannabis. However, every state that has legalized recreational cannabis also requires quality and contaminant testing, but there is no central system regulating cannabis products. Consider only purchasing from reputable, transparent brands.

Autumn Brands is on a mission to chart new territories and break barriers to help elevate women in cannabis. We’ll continue to shape the industry’s future and elevate cannabis to new heights of innovation and impact.