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The 2016 CBE 50 Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry (57 Actually!)



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By Rob Meagher and Christine Edmond

When CBE presented its first ranking of the 2014 Most Influential Women in Cannabis 18 months ago—our headline read “Better Start for the Glass Ceiling in this Industry, CBE’s Most Influential Women”. I knew I was taking a chance, as a man, subjectively identifying the 20 women that I felt were most responsible for bringing the industry to where it stood as of November 2014. We launched the list to coincide with the inaugural release of the CBE 100 PPRs and the CBE Political 50 in order to make a splash at the lightening bolt Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. Looking back, in many ways, this was the industry’s coming out and arrival party.

I met many of the very people represented on those lists at a great coming out party for the industry in the Executive Suite at the conference, which was put on by Women Grow. The mission of Women Grow to mentor and assist their peers in getting their piece of the Green Rush gold was only in the beginning stages of its meteoric rise.

The original list of influential women included seven members of this year’s list, which started as a list of more than 150 women in the industry. It was whittled down by Christine Edmond, CBE’s copy editor and yours truly before we settled on this year’s 50. CBE has written about the success of many of the women on the 2016 list in the past year and a half, and they all have something in common, all have had success prior to entering into the Cannabis Industry and are advocates for an inclusive industry.

Most (if not all) of the members on this year’s list have proven themselves as business leaders either as licensees, ancillary business owners, or through other ventures. To name a few, Meg Sanders, Patricia Rosi-Santucci, Nancy Whiteman and AC Braddock are great examples and role models.

Even the celebrity members of this year’s list, Whoopi Goldberg and Melissa Etheridge, have started cannabis businesses. The lone exceptions include Dr. Sue Sisley, Prime Minister Portia Simpson of Jamaica, Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. These four women have had a hand in either improving the footprint of legal cannabis access in the US and Jamaica, or have been instrumental in changing the federal and local ground rules that must be navigated by industry entrepreneurs and leaders.

The 2016 list is composed of 57 women representing the following:

Category Number %
Producer, Processor & Retailer Licensees 31 54.4%
Ancillary Businesses 22 38.6%
Advocacy Groups, State or Federal Governments 4 7.0%
Total 57 100.0%

Since CBE published the first list, Women Grow has seen its membership, online audience, and a number of city chapters grow as their message resonates with female ganjapreneurs nationwide. With over 35 cities generating more than 1,000 attendees to their Signature monthly networking events and 35,000 newsletter subscribers, the for-profit organization founded by Amy Dannemiller (aka Jane West) and Jazmin Hupp (past CEO) is affecting people around the world. This year’s top rated duo are to be congratulated as CBE’s Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry.

These two women recently passed the torch of building on the organization’s success to Baltimore attorney and new CEO Leah Heise, who has a tough act to follow in continuing  the organization’s rapid rise. Leah will have to build consistency and quality across all events put on by the chapters to  garner additional support from industry leadership like many of the others on this year’s list. She will also  need to charter new chapters in key metro areas nationwide and abroad.

CBE will also be following the founders; including Amy’s new venture, Jane West Enterprises, where she is raising funds to launch a line of cannabis products by and for women, and Jazmin, who has also been recognized by Forbes and Fortune for her industry leadership.

Many of the other members of this year’s list have been recognized on other CBE lists for their company’s performance or for their legislative efforts, and are to be congratulated for making sure that the glass ceiling doesn’t block equal opportunity for all constituencies in the Cannabis Industry!

As always, please let CBE know if we have missed someone and please reach out so we can recognize them too!

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RankingNameJob TitleCompanyLocationCategory
1Jazmin Hupp & Amy Dannemiller (aka Jane West)
Jazmin Hupp & Amy Dannemiller (aka Jane West)
Co-FoundersWomen GrowSan Francisco, CA & Denver, COAB
Jazmin and Amy struck a nerve and mobilized the movement for female inclusion in the Green Rush when they launched Women Grow in 2014. Their idea blossomed into a multi-state, chapter driven, for-profit organization that today has monthly events in over 35 markets, a large e-mail subscriber base and brand recognized nationwide. Jazmin and Amy have leveraged their roles in starting Women Grow to personal success and have moved on to pursue other opportunities in the industry. They passed the organization's leadership role to Leah Heise, a Maryland attorney, advocate and business woman. The brand these women built over the last two years is positioned to compete for a piece of the media market and CBE looks forward to watching the organization's next steps.
2Meg Sanders
Meg Sanders
Founder & CEOMindfulDenver, COPPR
Meg, along with her 2 managing partners, founded Mindful in 2010 and led its growth to nearly $18 million in 2015 revenue. In addition to the 4 dispensaries, cultivation, and processing facilities in Denver. Mindful most recently increased its footprint by opening a dispensary in Addison, Illinois. With a count of more than 100 employees and a consulting operation (Marimind), the company is well-positioned to extend the brand into multiple states. Meg was a member of Governor Hickenlooper's Amendment 64 Task Force and has been a vocal patient advocate.
3Patricia Rosi-Santucci
Patricia Rosi-Santucci
CEOWellness Connection of MainePortland, MEPPR
After a highly successful international advertising and marketing career, Patricia joined the firm in 2013 as COO and took over as CEO by the end of the year. Wellness Connection of Maine, along with four of the state's eight vertically integrated licenses, operates medical cannabis dispensaries in Brewer, Gardiner, Portland and Thomaston. They were ranked as number 21 on the 2015 CBE Top 100 PPR list.
4Nancy Whiteman
Nancy Whiteman
Co-Founder & CEOWana BrandsDenver, COPPR
Based in Colorado, Wana Brands (WB) is a manufacturer of infused products (edibles, extracts and medicinals) with more than 90 employees and product distribution in 90% in dispensaries the state. Under Nancy's leadership, WB established Good Manufacturing Processes to ensure consistency and quality, while also being a key component of their domestic and international expansion through licensing plan. As you read, WB is increasing their footprint in Nevada and Oregon this year. Nancy is also the edibles chair for the Cannabis Business Alliance.
5Dale Sky Jones
Dale Sky Jones
Executive Chancellor, Oaksterdam University Oaksterdam UniversityOakland, CAAB
As a business woman, advocate, activist, educator, and mother, Dale has been focused on cannabis policy reform throughout the country. She became President of Oaksterdam University with a goal to provide education, help the Cannabis Industry, and offer quality training. Dale was Chairwoman of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, as well as the spokesperson for the Prop 19 California legalization initiative. She was a key player in shaping the debate for California's 2016 AUMA initiative.
6Jamie Perino
Jamie Perino
Founder & CEOEufloraDenver, COPPR
As number 25 and with more than $12 million in revenue on the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers (PPRs), Jamie launched the "Apple store of weed" in 2007. Euflora was the first dispensary to break into the Denver retail scene and now boasts three store locations in Colorado. A unique feature of the store is that it displays feature glass jars of cannabis with tablets next to them so customers can learn about each strain. Plans to expand include Chicago, Illinois among other locations.
7Brooke Gehring
Brooke Gehring
Founder & PartnerFGS,Inc. Patients Choice & Live Green CannabisDenver, COPPR
Brooke's company ranked as 25 on the 2015 CBE 100 PPRs list, with more than $12 million in revenue. Her company has four locations across Colorado and two large-scale cultivation operations that employ at least 85 state-licensed employees. She is currently Chair on the executive board of the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG)—the largest industry organization in Colorado. Recently, Brooke was selected to be a Founding Board Member of the Council for Responsible Cannabis Regulation (CRCR) and a Founding Member of Women Grow.
8Dr. Sue Sisley
Dr. Sue Sisley
Researcher & PsychiatristScottsdale Research Institute, LLCScottsdale, AZResearcher
After gaining approval from the National Institutes of Drug Addiction (NIDA) in 2014 to study the effects of marijuana for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the University of Arizona, Dr. Sisley was unceremoniously fired before receiving a $2 million grant from the state. Thanks to the new amendment passed by the Senate, veterans can now get medical marijuana in any state that permits the use of therapeutic cannabis. Doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are can prescribe or recommend the use of medical cannabis to patients.
9Sally Vander-Veer
Sally Vander-Veer
PresidentMedicine ManDenver, COPPR
Under Sally’s leadership, Medicine Man was named the “Best Medical Marijuana Dispensary” of 2015 in Colorado's highly competitive and innovative emerging market. Prior to becoming President of Medicine Man in early 2013, Sally spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry working for Parke-Davis and Pfizer—first as a research and development chemist, then later in sales and clinical trial development. Sally is an accomplished entrepreneur who has also successfully developed commercial and residential real estate with her husband. She also served as Senior Vice President for BioCritique, an online physician medical education program.
10Dr. Cristina Gonzalez & Nicki Gonzalez
Dr. Cristina Gonzalez & Nicki Gonzalez
CEOG FarmaLabsAnaheim, CAPPR
"Behind every great man is a great woman." In the case of G FarmaLabs, the idiom should state two great woman! Nicki Gonzalez, Co-Founder of the company, has been instrumental in establishing best practices that have helped the company grow. Ranked as 27 on the 2015 CBE 100 PPRs list, G FarmaLabs made nearly $12 million in revenue and expanded into Washington and other markets. Dr. Cristina Gonzalez now runs the the company as CEO.
11AC Braddock
AC Braddock
CEOEden LabsSeattle, WAAB
Like G FarmaLabs, the same idiom applies at Eden Labs where revenues have grown substantially since CEO AC Braddock assumed the reigns. In addition to establishing best practices that allowed Eden Labs to become one of the top extraction equipment manufacturers in the industry, AC has given her time and energy as a Board member of NCIA and as a Founding Member of Women Grow.
12Kristi Kelly
Kristi Kelly
Co-Founder & Co-Owner
Good MedsDenver, COPPR
After a successful career as an advertising executive, Kristi co-founded GoodMeds with her husband Nathan and their friend. She is a Co-Owner of CBE's 30th ranked PPR in 2015 and has been heavily involved with several industry organizations over the last five years. She served the industry as Vice Chair and Board Member of the Marijuana Industry Group (where she is currently the interim Executive Director) helping to create Colorado’s medical marijuana regulatory framework—and as a Founding Board Member of The Fourth Corner Credit Union.
13Kristi Knoblich
Kristi Knoblich
Co-FounderKivaBay Area, CAPPR
Kristi is co-founder to one of the most recognized medical cannabis companies in California. During an interview with the Kiva founders, CBE learned that they distribute products to more than 700 dispensaries in California, has over 40 employees, and generates in excess of $10 million in annual revenues. The edible company was number 28 in the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers (PPRs), and we'll see where they end up this year!
14Cheryl Longtin
Cheryl Longtin
CEONexus Greenhouse SolutionsDenver, COAB
Since Cheryl Longtin and her husband, Mike Porter, purchased the business in 1994, Cheryl has led Denver-based Nexus Corporation as the Chairman and CEO for more than 20 years. Under her leadership, the company was ranked as number 3 in the 2016 CBE 100 Ancillary Businesses list. Cheryl brought years of business and law experience as an executive and general counsel for Fortune 100 automotive companies, Borg Warner Automotive and ITT Automotive,
15Jamie D'Agostino
Jamie D'Agostino
CEOPhytologieOakland, CAPPR
CEO Jamie D'Agostino opened Phytologie to provide self service and full service options for patients, and the dispensary was ranked as number 34 in the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers (PPRs). She remains active in advocacy as a founder and current chair of the Cannabis Business Alliance chamber of commerce and by serving as board chair for the National Cannabis Industry Association.
16Amy, Hillary and Keeley Peckham
Amy, Hillary and Keeley Peckham
Co-Founders, CEO, COO & CHOEtain, LLCKatonah, NYPPR
The Peckham family won one out of five highly sought after New York licenses to run a vertically integrated operation with four retail medical marijuana stores in the State.
17Cassandra Farrington
Cassandra Farrington
Co-Founder & CEOMJ Business MediaProvidence, RIAB
Cassandra is the co-founder, CEO, and former publisher of Marijuana Business Daily. She is also the COO/CFO at Anne Holland Ventures, Inc., the parent company of Marijuana Business Daily, which founder Anne Holland refers to as “the Wall Street Journal of pot."
18Nicole Smith
Nicole Smith
Founder and CEOMary's MedicinalsDenver, COPPR
An industry pioneer, Nicole is founder and CEO of Mary’s Medicinals, Mary’s Nutritionals, Mary’s Pets, and Mary’s Foundation for Caring—a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to patient education and outreach. She was recognized by the Denver Business Journal as an ‘Outstanding Woman in Business ‘ and ’Mile High Leader’ this year.
19Kate Brown
Kate Brown
GovernorState of OregonSalem, ORState Government
Governor Kate Brown replaced John Kitzhaber, who was less than supportive of the state's legalization efforts. Her administration oversees the implementation of Oregon's legalization legislation. It remains to be seen how the oversight of Oregon's Medical and Recreational programs will progress in light of the number of state regulatory agencies involved. But stay tuned, her leadership will be crucial!
20Amy Poinsett & Jessica Billingsley
Amy Poinsett & Jessica Billingsley
CEO and COOMJ FreewayDenver, COAB
Amy and Jessica are industry leaders, mentors, and advocates. They've built a successful software company to help states, local governments, and licensees track legal cannabis and run their businesses nationwide. Their company won the Nevada state tracking system software competition earlier this year.
21Julianna Carrella
Julianna Carrella
Founder & CEOAuntie DoloresOakland, CAPPR
Bringing more than 20 years of culinary experience to the industry, Julianna founded Auntie Dolores and the Treatibles company. Auntie Dolores made it as number 99 to the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers. Inspired by customer requests, Treatibles incorporates CBD and can be sold all over the world.
22Dr. LaKisha Jenkins
Dr. LaKisha Jenkins
OwnerKiona’s Farm’acyCAPPR
LaKisha's company, which is divided as the Kiona Foundation and the Farm'acy, has provided holistic health services to Northern California since 2010.
23Meg Collins
Meg Collins
VP Public AffairsGood ChemistryDenver, COPPR
Meg was the executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) prior to joining Good Chemistry—one of Denver’s leading medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries—as the Vice President of Business Development. She was at the forefront of recreational legalization in Colorado with CBA and helped build the framework for Amendment 64.
24Rowshan Reordan
Rowshan Reordan
CEOGreen Leaf LabsPortland, ORAB
Rowshan is CEO of Green Leaf Labs, which ranked as number 51 in the CBE 100 Top Ancillary Businesses of 2016. She is also an attorney for Loney Law Group, assisting in criminal defense and business transaction issues for the cannabis industry.
25Allie McAboy
Allie McAboy
OwnerThe Novel TreeBellevue, WAPPR
Allie partnered with Chris to open Bellevue, Washington's second recreational marijuana shop, the Novel Tree. The company has seen much success since launching and made it to number 49 on the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers (PPRs) list.
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26Peggy Moore
Peggy Moore
OwnerLove's OvenDenver, COPPR
The year of 2011 marked the beginning of Peggy's cannabis advocacy, when she joined Love's Oven as a partner. Love's Oven is a bakery focused on serving patients through high quality Cannabis deliveries with small batch, home-style baked goods. As Executive Director of the Cannabis Business Alliance, Peggy is helping to develop the guidelines that protect and educate cannabis consumers, like product testing and warning labels.
27Emily Cohen
Emily Cohen
Director of Business DevelopmentThe ClinicDenver, COPPR
Part of the Cohen family team, Emily has played a key role in overseeing the company's vertically integrated operation expansion to include six retail operations in Colorado, two retail operations in Illinois, and a location soon to open in Las Vegas.
28Portia Simpson Miller
Portia Simpson Miller
Prime MinisterJamaicaKingston, JamaicaNational Government
The well-respected, diplomatic leader led the charge in reforming Jamaica's drug laws. Cannabis in small amounts was decriminalized during her tenure. She is also ranked as 66 on the 2016 CBE Political 100 Influencers in Cannabis list.
29Noelle Skodzinski
Noelle Skodzinski
EditorCannabis Business TimesValley View, OHAB
Noelle, co-founder and editor of Cannabis Business Times, has been in the publishing industry for more than two decades. She started the only national print magazine for legal marijuana growers with her partner in 2014. Most recently, she has been an advocate and speaker for legalization in New Jersey.
30Amy Margolis
Amy Margolis
Executive DirectorOregon Cannabis AssociationPortland, OregonAB
In addition to being Executive Director of the Oregon Cannabis Association and advocating for cannabis policy in the State, Amy has been representing people charged with marijuana related offenses for 13 years. She is also a practicing criminal defense attorney in both State and Federal court.
31Debbie Bacon
Debbie Bacon
Green-TheoryGreen-TheoryBellevue, WAPPR
Debbie opened Green Theory, Bellevue's first legal recreational cannabis store, with her husband in 2014. The shop made it to number 57 on the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers list. The couple is known for their philanthropic efforts in Washington with a focus on at-risk children.
32Sage Peterson
Sage Peterson
CEOCanuvoBiddeford, MEPPR
Sage started Canuvo with her husband in Maine, which serves as one of eight (medical) marijuana districts in the State with a population base of 190,000. Under her direction, Canuvo made it to number 82 on the 2015 CBE 100 Producers, Processors and Retailers (PPRs) list.
33Meghan Walstatter
Meghan Walstatter
Co-FounderPureGreenPortland, ORPPR
Meghan has been growing cannabis for more than 15 years. She and her husband own Pure Green, a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregon. She is a founding member of the Oregon Cannabis PAC and the Oregon Cannabis Association, as well as a member of the Retail Sub-Committee for Oregon's recreational marijuana program.
34Bugi Perrone
Bugi Perrone
Owner/PresidentGobi AnalyticalDenver, COAB
As co-owner, Bugi opened Gobi Analytical—the first state certified lab to get the green light to start testing retail marijuana products for containments like bacteria and mold. The company was number 36 on the 100 Top Ancillary Businesses of 2016 list.
35Jill Amen
Jill Amen
Founder and Chief Executive OfficerHouse of JaneCaliforniaPPR
Jill's passion for cultivating cannabis and the desire to become a barista turned into House of Jane, cannabis infused coffee. The brand has received recognition from several media outlets and channels.
36Kirsten Gillibrand
Kirsten Gillibrand
US SenatorNew YorkNew York, New YorkFederal Government
Listed as number 17 on the 2016 CBE Political 100 Influencers in Cannabis, Senator Gillibrand co-sponsored the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act (CARERS) which seeks significant reforms in marijuana policy in the US, according to the Brookings Institute. She is an advocate for the cannabis community in Congress.
37Susan Chikovsky
Susan Chikovsky
CEOHarvest Green TrimmersDenver, COAB
Sue is proud owner of the first medical marijuana harvest and trim company to be fully compliant with Colorado regulations. She started the “Trimmer Training School” and plans to go national. Green Mountain Harvest currently boasts four locations in Colorado with more than 75 employees. Championed as the "Queen of Best Practices" by CBE, we look forward to what she has in store next!
38Wendy Robbins & Karen Paull
Wendy Robbins & Karen Paull
Producers, The Marijuana ShowThe Marijuana ShowDenver, COAB
These two women helped cannabis businesses draw the attraction of traditional and non-traditional investors and venture capitalists with the online launch of the Marijuana Show in 2014. The duo has invested millions in budding entrepreneurs, and it doesn't look like they're stopping any time soon.
39Whoopi Goldberg & Maya Elisabeth
Whoopi Goldberg & Maya Elisabeth
Co-FoundersWhoopi & Maya Medical CannabisCaliforniaPPR
Whoopi is known for her acting in several films and has not been shy about her cannabis use. Now, she has paved a new path with founder of OM Edibles, Maya Elisabeth, to create cannabis products targeted toward women with menstrual discomfort.
40Wanda James
Wanda James
CEOSimply Pure DispensaryDenver, COPPR
Wanda decided to get into the cannabis industry due to her brother's 10-year prison sentence for marijuana. She now owns and operates the first black-owned dispensary in Denver, Colorado for recreational sales. Not limited to the borders of CO, James is also the president of Cannabis Global Initiative—an attempt to connect marijuana worlds in CO and abroad.
41Cheryl Shuman
Cheryl Shuman
Entrepreneur, Business Woman, ColumnistSeveralLos Angelas, CAAB
Cheryl is a businesswoman who has promoted Cannabis products and advanced legalization efforts since surviving cancer and injuries from two car crashes. She's developed partnerships with celebrities and speaks about the health benefits on national television.
42Julie Dooley
Julie Dooley
CEOJulie's Natural EdiblesDenver, COPPR
Julie's diagnosis of celiacs disease led to her launch of Julie's Natural Edibles, which supplies products to medicinal and recreational dispensaries across Colorado. In 2014, she was featured in the MSNBC documentary, "Pot Barons," and continues to see growth for the company.
43Diane Stratford Czarkowski
Diane Stratford Czarkowski
PrincipleCannaAdvisorsBoulder, COAB
Diane is Co-Founder and Principle at Canna Advisors, a Colorado-based cannabis consulting firm. She is a founding member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and founding member and benefactor of Women Grow. Diane has 12 years experience in the tech industry and 10 years in real estate.
44Jaime Lewis
Jaime Lewis
Founder and CEOMountain MedicineDenver, COPPR
Jamie is the founder and executive chef of Mountain Medicines, a medical marijuana-infused product manufacturer founded in 2009. Since 2006, she has managed the production of medical marijuana-infused products and lead medical and recreational dispensary operations. She first began making medical marijuana edibles for HIV/AIDS patients in California as part of a compassionate care co-op.
45Melissa Etheridge
Melissa Etheridge
Musician and AdvocateWine TinctureCaliforniaAB
Melissa is among celebrities who has advocated for the plant since it was her preferred choice during breast cancer and chemo therapy treatment. She entered the business side of the industry by creating cannabis-infused wine. She believes "the cannabis revolution is being led by middle-aged women," and she is highlighted as being among the most influential.
46Celeste Miranda
Celeste Miranda
Founder and CEOThe Cannabis Marketing LabCAAB
According to her company's website, Celeste's goal is "to empower cannabis-related businesses to grow and succeed through digital marketing strategies." Beyond the Cannabis Marketing Lab, Miranda works with Cannabusiness Attorneys in Florida and writes articles on cannabis marketing for CBE.
47Chloe Villano
Chloe Villano
Founder and PresidentClover Leaf UniversityDenver, COAB
Chloe has taken the industry by storm as founder of Clover Leaf Consulting and Clover Leaf University, the only cannabis education program and university approved, regulated, and licensed by the Colorado Department of Higher Educations Private Occupational School Board. She is executive director of the Cannabis Business Association and opened the first cannabis club in America—Club 64.
48Karson Humiston
Karson Humiston
CEOVangst (Gradujuana)Denver, COAB
Karson, the creator of Gradujuana—now Vangst Talent Network—began connecting great cannabis companies with college graduates as a cannabis staffing agency while she was still in school. Since starting in 2015, Gradujuana has helped companies employ candidates in California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada.
49Giadha Aguirre De Carcer
Giadha Aguirre De Carcer
Founder and CEONew FrontierWashington DCAB
Giadha started New Frontier, which provides Big Data to the cannabis industry through analysis and industry reporting. Her company's services equip customers with the knowledge necessary to increase profits, identify opportunities, and navigate this nascent yet under served market.
50Jen Gentile
Jen Gentile
Co-Founder and COOSpeedWeedCaliforniaAB
With her husband and his brother, Jen co-founded SpeedWeed, one of the most successful delivery services in Southern California. She is well-known as an industry advocate, reporter, and marketer.
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Rob Meagher & Christine Edmond



Rob Meagher

Rob Meagher

Rob Meagher, CBE’s Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief is a 30 year veteran of the media world. His career has spanned from stints representing the Washington Post, USA Weekend, Reader’s Digest, Financial World & Corporate Finance to the technology world where he worked at International Data Group and Ziff Davis where he was part of the launch team for The Web Magazine, Yahoo Internet Life, Smart Business and Expedia Travels before starting his own marketing and Publisher’s Representative Firm. He also ran all print and online media sales and marketing for the Society for Human Resource Management before partnering with Forbes and then Fortune to create Special Sections covering a variety of topics. Rob, who started CBE Press in 2014, can be contacted at [email protected]

This Post Has 30 Comments
  1. Im a little disappointed about number One ! These 2 girls both walked away from there company and left it to a new person to run with no guidance. Everyone else is pretty good !

    1. Appreciate your comment Brenda and we were pretty torn by whether CBE should be recognizing Amy and Jasmin as number 1 on the 2016 list. At the end of the day, we felt that the two of them did more in the last 2 years for women in the industry then any of the other important women on the list. They did in our opinion, leave the organization in the hands of a very capable leader, advocate and industry participant (Leah Heise and her partners have applied for a MD license) and she has a very clear vision of expanding the work done by her predecessors and being an outspoken advocate for inclusion and diversity in the new industry. CBE is as well!

      We will see how Women Grow progresses and CBE wishes the organization and its leaders, present and past as well as the other 55 women on this years list all of the success they can muster!

  2. Thank you so much for honoring us by being #38 on a list of impressive women… many are our friends! We really appreciate it and look forward to being in service to the community for many years to come! Congrats to all of the powerful women on this list!

  3. These women would not be where the are today without Mickey Norris, Debbie Goldsberry, Aundre Speciale, Dona Frank, Kumari Sivadas, Mary Pat Jacobs, Sara Shrader, Valerie Corral, Lisa Gygax, Surina Sisavath, Lauren Goodwin and one of the greatest of them all Steph Sherer, the creator of Americans for Safe Access. No offense, but while everyone else on this list was hiding under a rock waiting for legalization, these women I just listed put their life and liberty on the line. Rob, you put people like Whoopi and Melissa on this list, but seriously, the true pioneers are missing. This is about celebrity rather than those that risked everything. Jazmin Hupp has done more for the industry in two years? LOL. Who do think paved the way for her? Speak up Dale Sky Jones because you know better! Message to Rob, time to reevaluate dude.”

    1. Remember Randy, everyone has a journey that led them to cannabis. Perhaps silence was necessary for some of us? It is with great respect and humility that I get to work in this industry paved by true courage and grit. Honoring the pioneers you mention along with many others is part of my mission. And I celebrate the new courage and grit that has joined in the fight for legalization. Together we will legalize. Together we accomplish the impossible. The future depends on us.

  4. I find it interesting that I own the largest extraction concentrate company in the state of Colorado. I am no where on the list I have more employees and probably make more money than most of the women on that list. I belong to many industry groups I participate in many political and advisory committee situations . It just kind of cracks me up how those are the 50 most important women in marijuana … I must just be a nobody

    1. Hi Shannon,

      Glad we were able to catch-up and look forward to sharing your story with CBE’s readers. You are definitely “Somebody” that deserves to be on the top women list. Sorry that we missed you!

      Rob Meagher

  5. You are truly a disgusting display of what should not be displayed. Have you heard of Debbie Goldsberry, Madeleine Martinez, Diane Fornbacher, Amanda Reiman, Kyndra Miller and every other woman you made sure you forgot? Wow!

    1. CBE welcomes any and all suggestions for others that deserve recognition, after all we are a free society.

      If you were a regular reader of CBE John, you would understand that we are a business to business publication covering the legally regulated business of cannabis. The list you are referring to as “disgusting” recognizes those that are most important, for the most part, based on their ability to take the financial risk, put in the long hours required to run a business in a highly regulated environment and in this case transparent industry pioneers who CBE feels have done the most, since our original list of 20 women in 2014 who are fostering inclusion and diversity in the legal cannabis industry.

      So, like any list, the 2016 CBE 50 Most Important Women in the Cannabis Industry represents those individuals or teams that CBE feels are leading the charge towards profitability or shaping a regulatory environment that is laying the foundation for the fastest growing industry in the country and can’t include all of the worthy candidates out there including those advocates who clearly set the stage for this year’s listees. We encourage dialogue so our nearly 30,000 readers and subscribers can benefit from each others view point as well.

      There was no intent to “Skunk” the worthy women you mention; CBE just uses a different set of criteria then let’s say a Business to Consumer publication like Skunk would have used.

      1. Rob, I am sorry you are taking so much shit for putting together a list of awesome women. I bet it took you and your team an extraordinary amount of time to come up with this. Kudos to you and your team! Many are friends of ours and you are right we all put in 80 to 100 hour weeks. We are advocates, educating and honoring of those who came before us. What I love is how many amazing women there are on and not included this year on the list and we would love to connect with all of you to see if we can be in service, network, etc.. make the community greater. What if we don’t complain and simply come together to legalize this amazing medicine?

        1. Thanks Wendy, let’s set up a time to talk about how we can all make this happen and also for empathizing with the task of coming up with a list of 50 when there are so many others. We will be publishing a follow-up with a few others that have come to our attention, I think Noelle Skodzinski (#29) over at Cannabis Business Times was right on when she answered one of her readers saying that there is no way to identify, none-the-less discover everyone!

          Thanks again for the kind words and lets get some collaboration going!



          1. Ok! I know a lot of the women on the list and maybe we can all brainstorm.. we love Noelle! #29. She is awesome. Can you email me so we come up with time to connect?

  6. I encourage you to take a look at the work my organization is doing for the Illinois medical cannabis industry.

    Medical Cannabis Outreach – Caprice Sweatt, CEO please google our organization as we are leading the charge in outreach, education, and patient acquisition

    Thank you for recognizing women!

    1. Will do Caprice and thank you for reaching out. We appreciate you identifying the good work you do, there are too many women worthy of this list, I guess we will have to expand it to 100 next year! RM :-)!

        1. Certainly all impressive professionals. Not sure they would have made this year’s 50 list, tough call to replace any of the listees orthe additional women recognized in today’s newsletter.

          Appreciate the input Ophelia, connecting me with more great candidates and remember there is always next year’s list which we are already working on the 100Most Important Women!



  7. I would like to introduce Eva Dickinson MD PhD. She is a Pain Management Physician that recommends more patients for Cannabis in the State of De. Than any other Physician. She has weaned most of her cannabis Patients off of narcotics or reduced their use of Narcotics with Cannabis. She is dedicated to the medicine of cannabis. At the end of the day, this is what counts

  8. Giving a shout-out to everybody working to end prohibition!!!
    I give a shout out to these Washington State women who are definite inspirations and trail blazers…
    Alison Holcomb – wrote I-502, Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles – former State Senator champion of the Medical Use of Marijuana Act and Cannabis Patient Protection Act (aka 5052), Michelle Sexton – co-author of AHPA Cannabis monograph, Ah Warner – founder/owner Cannabis Basics author of CHABA law, Pam Haley – co-founder of Cannabis Defense Coalition owner of 1st female operated CO2 extraction lab, Shawn DeNae – R5 zoning activist owner Washington Bud Co, Sharon Whitson – Executive Director of Seattle Hempfest, Stephanie Viskovich – former dispensary owner now running for State Rep. of 46th district , Terra Martin – Founder of the Pink Gene Foundation, Alison Draisdin – founder of Ettalews a High Times award winning company, Joy Beckerman-Maher – Founder of Hemp Ace International Industrial Hemp, Rachel Kurtz – attorney former board member of People’s Harm Reduction, CCSE and Seattle Hempfest, Dawn Darrington – Owner Choice Wellness producer All Day Live, Deidre Finley – owner MMJ Universe farmers market, Meghan Schwarting – creator of Kush Creams.

  9. Rob –

    Humbled and honored to be included in this list of amazing women. I know that it is by no means an all-inclusive list of the rockin’ ladies that make strides every single day in cannabis. We all have our own paths and challenges, and we all know that we are climbing the ladder that was built by those who came before us.

  10. How do you select your 50 (or 57!) most important women in the Cannabis Industry? I would like to nominate someone for your 2017 list. Please tell me how.
    Thank you!
    Jacqueline Langwith

    1. She is a black girl who quit her news job on air for weed. founded the alaska cannabis club and is facing prison for it. Also has an online show called The Weed Show and has a line called CBD beauty.

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