Women Grow, one of the cannabis industry's most well-known trade groups, held its annual leadership summit over the weekend in downtown Denver, and it ended with a big announcement: founder Jane West is stepping down as chairwoman of the board.
West started Women Grow in Denver shortly after recreational cannabis sales began, to give women business owners opportunities to network and grow. It has since turned into a force to be reckoned with. The organization now has dozens of chapters across North America and counts hundreds of businesses as registered members.
Chanda Macias will take over West's position as chairwoman.
"It was just an appropriate time. The company has grown so fast, and there's an incredible next generation of leadership out there who are doing great things in their cities, too," West says. "Dr. Macias has been an incredible leader in her own area and a mentor to so many."
Macias is CEO of a medical marijuana dispensary in Washington, D.C., and a former research specialist for Colgate Palmolive Company. She sits on the board of the Minority Cannabis Business Association and holds leadership positions with several other business groups.
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“Women Grow is the most important legacy organization for women in cannabis today,” Macias says. “Since it began, its model has been the gateway that launched countless cannabis careers, and my goal as chairwoman is to continue building that legacy for the next generation of women. I am honored to step into the role of chairwoman, and I thank Jane West for this opportunity."
West will remain a boardmember as she focuses on raising capital for the line of cannabis accessories that bears her name. Although she will continue to work with the organization and provide mentorship to women entrepreneurs in legal pot, she says the direction of Women Grow is "up for the new leadership to decide."
"It's been incredible to watch it grow. Now there's this incredible nationwide network of women who are passionate about the networking and opportunities here," she says. "The only way to show that you truly care about making this industry more diverse is through your actions, and that's what we're doing here."
The leadership change wasn't the only big announcement made during the Women Grow Leadership Summit. On Friday, February 2, Annie Nelson (wife of country-music star and famous pothead Willie) announced her upcoming edibles line as part of the Willie's Reserve brand.