Women Leading the Cannabis Industry: “Stigmas matter more than you think; overcoming even one of those is difficult” with Mel Faxon and Len Giancola

Len Giancola
Dec 20, 2019 · 11 min read

Stigmas matter more than you think. In the UK, you’re dealing with stigmas surrounding cannabis still being associated with illegality, general discussion around mental health, and the reluctance to take supplements in general. Overcoming one of those is difficult — tackling all three together is very hard! Get in front of consumers as much as you possibly can as early as you can so you can learn what barriers you need to overcome and help educate against the stigmas.

As a part of my series about strong women leaders in the cannabis industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mel Faxon. Mel is the Co-founder of b. products, a sleep-wellness company in London. She is passionate about promoting education and transparency around cannabis in the UK, as well as furthering conversations around inclusiveness and sustainability in the industry.


  1. Education is key. Going off of my first point, especially as most people still have no idea what CBD even stands for in London, creating content and providing information for consumers to feel fully informed is crucial.
  2. The Culture here in the UK is different. A lot of what you read about in the US is the amazing community coming up around cannabis and how much change has happened in such a short time. We have a long way to go in the UK, and it’s up to founders, especially female founders, to create a network and support each other in the space.
  3. Network, network, network. Meet with as many people as you can as often as you can and grow your network. You never know what partnerships can come out of a simple LinkedIn introduction or the friend of a friend of a friend.
  4. Celebrate the small wins. It’s tough to be in this business! The lack of regulation in this relatively nascent industry that few people understand means you’ll have to fight every step of the way. It’s important to stop and congratulate yourself and your team whenever you hit a goal or get a good review. Recognizing the little wins makes dealing with the setbacks more tolerable.
  1. The inpouring of funding into research around cannabis and its ability to help people. For so long, funding wasn’t available because of the illegal classification of cannabis. Now that funding is available, I can’t wait to see what new solutions come out of it.
  2. The UK cannabis industry is just getting started, and that potential is really exciting. There are many stigmas in the UK around mental health and cannabis, and I am hopeful that the rise of the cannabis industry will help break some of them down. Talking to our customers and acknowledging we all have stress and anxiety has been a gateway for them to feel comfortable talking back to us about those issues.
  1. The rise of CBD as a “good” version of cannabis is pinning marijuana as a “bad” version. However, so many people see medical and mental benefits from THC. Because weed isn’t legal everywhere, this issue is reinforcing the problems I mentioned above. It’s also unfair to the people who simply prefer THC-full cannabis.
  2. The lack of regulation and standardization means that it’s very easy for anyone to enter the industry and to create products that are misleading and potentially unsafe to consumers.
  • Look for and/or create sustainable supply chains and practices
  • Advocate and put money toward programs that support communities impacted by the War on Drugs
  • Advocate for transparency and education surrounding what CBD/cannabis is, as well as standardization and regulation for cannabis products for consumer safety and benefit
  • Make sure we know our suppliers and manufacturers end-to-end

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Len Giancola

Written by

Founding Partner of MJ.com

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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