Jenny Argie is the founder of Jenny’s Baked at Home Company, a licensed New York cannabis processor/manufacturer/distributor. Her brand in the adult use market is “Jenny’s.”

In the newest entry of “NY’s women in cannabis,” Argie talks about barriers for women in cannabis, how surviving cancer led her to the weed industry and her favorite resources within the industry.

Women are vastly underrepresented in cannabis, and not just in New York. From 2019 to 2022, executive-level females have seen their industry wide status drop from 37% to 23%. Yet the MRTA makes things very clear: women-owned businesses are a key component of the state’s social and economic equity plan.

NY Cannabis Insider is seeking to elevate women in cannabis through a hyper-focus on female story sourcing and balanced representation in articles.

This series will last for as long as submissions come in.

Why did you launch your career in the cannabis industry? Were there any women who inspired you to do so? How did you do it?

I’m a cancer survivor. Eight years ago, I decided to manage my post-surgical treatment with cannabis rather than radiation, chemo, and tamoxifen. I didn’t want to smoke cannabis, and the problem was, all I could find was sugar-filled edibles. It wasn’t hard to find tons of data about how sugar feeds cancer – exactly the opposite of what I needed in recovery!

Fortunately, I’d been a product designer for 15 years, and I realized, “I can do better.” So I got my cannabinoids with tinctures, while I started to develop the edibles that eventually became “Jenny’s.” Eight years later, I’m cancer-free and have dedicated my life to producing healthy cannabis products, which include sugar-free, kosher, vegan, products with only organic ingredients and incredible cured resin.

When I say my products are made with love, I mean it with my whole heart. In fact, just the other day I got an email from a father who wanted my Zee Zee Gummies to help his daughter sleep. We had a long exchange, and he was able to find them at Herbal IQ, a dispensary near him. It really captured everything I’m trying to do in the industry.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to women leadership? Are the barriers different in cannabis than any other industry?

The lack of balance regarding women in business, investment in female-led companies, and women in leadership roles is bad enough to make any thoughtful person blush with embarrassment.

Nancy Whiteman has said, “When women in the industry raise capital, their valuations can be 30% to 40% less than similar male-led companies.” And women-led companies get something like 3% of total VC-finding (which is hardly available in cannabis anyway) and have only 5% of C-suite roles. The data on cannabis companies is probably on par with these horrible statistics.

I’m a third-generation entrepreneur, so my experience is different. When I see an opportunity, I don’t ask for a job, I build a company. That’s why I’m busier than ever manufacturing Jenny’s products, while helping brands that need vision and guidance borne of my 25 years’ international manufacturing experience. Male or female, my resilience and experience-level are highly investment-worthy.

Why do you think women are so underrepresented in leadership roles in cannabis?

Bro-dominance of cannabis stems from the outlaw culture that was created by 100 years of cannabis Prohibition, and it’s led to an unnecessary focus on THC potency, heroic bong rips and all the rest.

Rather than giving any oxygen to gender tribalism and the colossal waste of superior education, talent, and experience that cannabis industry women possess, let’s look ahead. Female perspectives on innovation, flavors, form, effects, product, marketing, and sales are essential to reaching our largest underserved buying population: 35-plus women and men.

By the way, women-led companies are on the rise in our industry. We are immensely creative, and are able to make our way, smash, create, hustle, whatever we have to do to stay afloat ‘… backwards and in heels’ as Anne Richards said. The bros may not invest in us, but they hire us when they want something done well.

What are some ways in which companies can support gender diversity at senior levels?

Close your eyes and hire people for their talent, experience, mental quickness, creativity, problem-solving ability, resilience, humor, kindness, empathy, and positivity. Open your eyes and I’ll bet you’ve got a balanced team across genders and ethnicities.

Shout out your other favorite women-owned or women-led businesses in the industry.

My inspirations come from both inside and outside the industry. I’d like to shout out ‘Carol’s Daughter’ founded in Brooklyn by Lisa Price. ‘Ritual’ founded by Katerina Schneider. And ‘BLK + GRN’. Let’s support these awesome women-owned businesses!

Who/what are your favorite tools and resources in the industry?

These could be organizations, online websites, consultants, attorneys … anyone or anything.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self? What advice would you give to the next generation of women leaders?

I’ll quote my father, my beacon of light who just passed away last week at 90 years old. He was a lifelong entrepreneur, the son of immigrant entrepreneurs, who raised 4 kids mostly on his own while building a national court-reporting company from scratch. When I was worried about my second company’s prospects, he said: “If this doesn’t work, keep your chin up and try it again.” He never said “Just go get a job,” he believed in supporting the family by building a company around good ideas and hard work.

If you’d like people to connect with you, please share your favorite methods of contact.

Check out my LinkedIn page at linkedin.com/in/jennyargie, or email me at jenny@jennyloves.me.

“}]] Argie is the founder of Jenny’s Baked at Home Company, a licensed New York cannabis processor/manufacturer/distributor.  Read More