Carrie Solomon co-founded topical and edible company Leif Goods in 2014. Originally, it could only sell to medical dispensaries. In mid-2016, it put out its first recreational product and by 2017 the business was booming.
"You can invent the way you want to operate in many ways,” Solomon said.
Today, Leif Goods is poised for even more success and showing tremendous growth.
Barbari Herbal Blends is spearheaded by two college girlfriends who are expanding their business and products this year. They are currently preparing to pitch to investors.
Valarie Sakota, chief creative officer and head of product development, and Meryl Montgomery, chief executive officer, say they came from male-dominated spaces in the marketing and tech spheres.
"We knew that we wanted to contribute to be able to create a different type of environment for not only cannabis industries but for our employees and the culture as it moves forward," Sakota said.
Jumping into cannabis, they wanted to create their own brand for creative, ambitious professionals who use cannabis at a fraction of the dose.
Homegrown Dispensaries, sprouted in Salem, is owned by wives Jill and Alicia Smith.
"I think any industry that's very creative I think you're going to get a lot of women interested,” Jill Smith said.
The women started the business together and in just a couple years, they have grown to multiple dispensaries, and have a large percentage of female employees.
The Smiths say there aren’t many barriers to entry in the cannabis industry because everyone is coming into the marketplace new, and they feel it’s welcoming to diversity.
"I think women have a much better chance of being in those leadership roles,” Jill added.
These are just some of the many women who make up the evolving face of cannabis in Oregon and in the United States.
“It's amazing women have an actual opportunity to get in on the ground level and be owners or majority stakeholders and have equity in companies," Cultivation Classic Program Director Steph Barnhart told KGW. "There are so many other instances in other industries where that’s just not possible because they’re operating from old outdated patriarchal structures."
Cultivation Classic is a craft cannabis event that brings cannabis business owners, leaders, producers and consumers together from across Oregon. Barnhart is connected to a plethora of women who own both primary cannabis businesses and ancillary services, which includes everything from graphic design to laboratory testing.
"The spectrum of opportunities for women to innovate here is incredible,” Barnhart added.