Tapping into the Gray Market of the “Green Rush”
As a wanderer, I’ve always been absorbed by the cultural customs and stigmas in different societies. Before the image degradation of the Middle East, it was seen as a place of : belly dancers, curly shoes, jewels and hookahs (the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland). Smoking, for men at least, is socially acceptable there. That is where the culture of the hookah comes into play, as men would converse as they smoked in a circle. Many of them would also use substances like Hashish within these smoke circles. In most Western cultures, having a drink at a bar would be a more socially accepted for the same purpose. Consuming alcohol in Islamic countries could lead to long prison time and even the death penalty. Seeing the stark differences in the way each society handles different stigmas brought me to ask: Why is there such a stigma in the cannabis industry? Even with Cannabis use being legalized medically and recreationally in different states, why are users so reluctant, specifically females? Obviously, cannabis is still a substance that is illegal on a Federal level. So there are issues when dealing with a product or a service that caters to this industry, even if the current Federal government is turning its head away to legalization in states like Colorado.
Here is a list of the few obstacles when dealing with the cannabis industry (both female users and female entrepreneurs):
- Illegal at a Federal level, which means no banking & cash only
- Inclusion of women in production ( female ganja growers vs. legacy of male dominated criminal culture)
- Difficult finding female customers for products
- Differentiating cannabis brands from hippie and outlaw culture
- Stray away from the stoner babe stigma
Even choosing this topic for my User Experience class, makes me nervous, especially living in Texas. It’s a hot topic in current politics for sure.
Can a woman be respected in the household, an academic, a professional or a parent, if she uses cannabis? There are a few start — ups that are making sure women have a voice in the industry. The only reason women can grow in the cannabis market is because of the ending of a prohibition which brings life to a new market. A chance for the industry to be gender- neutral. (references watch 22:20–25:00)
Cannabis startups are using data science to create products that help boost consumer confidence, streamline and simplify supply chains, and fight back stigmatization. These startups are building the data foundation that the industry will use now and in the future.