- The cannabis industry is gradually shedding its status as a macho world in which the only women seen adorn posters and pictures of dubious taste.
- Fortunately, more and more women are heading up important projects, from business ventures like grow shops, magazines and YouTube channels, to grower associations and competitions.
- In countries like Canada, which in 2017 will approve the legalisation of the recreational use of cannabis, women are even leading the industry. Aurelia Vaillancourt, who runs the Club Paradise grow shop along with her husband Jason in Toronto, told us about this trend.
How did you get involved in the cannabis industry?
The truth is that I tried cannabis quite late, and I did so for medical reasons, as I was suffering backaches. Later I met Jason, my husband, from whom I learned a lot about cannabis. He is a patient who produces his own medicine: cannabis.
Jason taught me about the different functions and properties of different strains, information that helped me to treat my ailment. Together we formed a team: I became an expert on cannabis seeds and he an expert grower of cannabis.
Does consuming cannabis help you when advising your clients on what strains to choose?
My body reacts well to Sativa varieties. I use different genetics as medicine, and I like cultivating exotic strains with
fruity flavours. And, of course, I like to inform my customers about the different genetics they can find on the market, so they can understand what their options are when it comes to growing.
I try to guide people to the best choice for their health, showing them different genetics, like autoflowering strains, those richest in CBD, and varieties whose characteristics meet their medical needs.
While there are more and more of you every day, it is still hard to find women heading up businesses in the cannabis industry ...
As I mentioned before, I learned everything I know about growing from my husband. In any case, with my experience and my passion, from the outset, when I decided to dedicate myself to this, I knew that I could make a living without any problem.
And there are many women who are very good growers. In fact, I daresay that women are made to be good cultivators. We have more patience when growing because we love the whole natural cycle of plants and, above all, the results.
But don´t you think that the cannabis industry is still pretty hostile territory for women?
Not at all. More and more women are heading very interesting projects. In fact, I would say that it is women who are leading the cannabis industry in Canada. I recently started working with Abi Roach, who runs the Roach-o-Rama dispensary in Toronto and who has launched the magazine Spliff so that the local cannabis community has access to a free publication.
There is also Sarah Sunday, who for three years has been organising the Karma Cup here in Toronto. Both Sarah and Abi, like myself, are examples of women who can inspire others to cultivate cannabis for medical purposes. We women should be proud and not afraid to enter this world.
How do you think the new regulation to be implemented in Canada in 2017 will affect your business?
I hope that cannabis is legalised in such a way that patients can freely choose it as a treatment, and access it, and the resources to grow it, without any problems. I think that if cannabis is legalised in Canada sales will skyrocket at my store, I can grow my inventory, and create new job opportunities for others. Also, if cannabis is legalised, more women will be able to state that they are working in this industry without fear of reprisals.