Courtesy Reese Benton

Reese Benton laid out the blueprint for successful socially equitable enterprises. Upon opening the Posh Green Cannabis Boutique in San Francisco, California in 2020, Benton became the first Black woman and first social equity license holder to become the sole owner of a cannabis retail store anywhere in the United States. Benton recently collaborated with Compound Genetics to release her own line of pre-rolls and is focused on franchising, as well as Tax Code 280E reform.

She is a pioneer in the Bay Area’s highly competitive cannabis market in California.

Courtesy Jane Klein

CEO of Quick American Publishing, Jane Klein, has worked in cannabis publishing for decades and is the wife of cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal. Together with her husband, Klein has published over a dozen books providing educational material about growing cannabis. Through this journey, she faced steep odds, long before the plant was socially acceptable, and often had to get strategic as a publisher to avoid attracting law enforcement. Recently Klein and Rosenthal launched their own line of genetics donating a portion of the proceeds to Last Prisoner Project, which aims to free cannabis prisoners.

Courtesy Respect My Region

California NORML Deputy Director Ellen Komp has been on the frontlines of cannabis reform since 1991, five years before the first statewide medical cannabis bill. In 1993, she volunteered to petition for the California Hemp Initiative, then volunteered the next year as well, and helped successfully petition for Proposition 215 at the statewide level in 1995. In the years since, Komp has been a regular political commentator for High Times regarding California legislation. She edited the ninth edition of The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer, launched the blog Tokin’ Women, and is author of Tokin’ Women: A 4,000-Year Herstory (2016).

Courtesy Alice O’Leary Randall

Alice O’Leary Randall was arrested in 1975 along with her late husband Robert Randall for growing cannabis. She helped to launch the U.S. medical cannabis movement the next year in 1976, when Robert Randall became the first to gain federal permission to use medical cannabis legally before statewide laws were in the books. Alice O’Leary Randall was a nurse for 10 years, six in hospice care, and returned to the medical cannabis movement after her retirement in 2012. She worked with Mary’s Medicinals for about five years, writing the brand’s medical cannabis primer, and co-wrote Medical Marijuana in America: Memoir of a Pioneer (2015) and Pain-Free with CBD (2019).

Courtesy Shaleen Title

Attorney Shaleen Title works tirelessly to guide people in staying legally compliant in the industry. She served as a regulator and commissioner of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission from 2017 to 2020 where she refined her knowledge of legal compliance. Recently, she authored peer-reviewed articles focusing on the cannabis marketplace including Fair and Square: How to Effectively Incorporate Social Equity Into Cannabis Laws and Regulations (2022) and Bigger is Not Better: Preventing Monopolies in the National Cannabis Market (2022).

 From authors to business owners, these five women are leaders in the cannabis industry.  Read More