Most Influential Women in Cannabis

From pharaohs to A-list celebs, women have a history with cannabis dating back to 1550 BC. In some of the earliest accounts of cannabis in recorded history, women were described as healers that brought the plant medicine to their tribes and communities. March is Women’s History Month, and this March, we’re celebrating the lives and stories of five of the most influential women in the history of cannabis.

Hatshepsut and the Legacy of Cannabis in Ancient Egypt

Hatshepsut was one of the few female pharaohs to live in ancient Egypt, and by all accounts, one of the most successful. Though she lived over 1500 years before Christ, Hatshepsut was a truly modern woman- making public works programs and cannabis key components during her reign. She was a habitual user of cannabis herself, and an advocate for its’ use among females in ancient Egypt, to ease the pain of menstrual cramps and childbirth (Queen Victoria would also harness the power of cannabis for this reason much later on in the 19th century).

Louisa May Alcott and Cannabis in Literature

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott wrote her bestselling book “Little Women”, a publication that to date has sold over 1.7 million copies. However, much more fascinatingly, she wrote a book under a decade later titled “Perilous Play” that highlighted Louisa’s approval of cannabis through a character that (among other things) exclaims “Heaven bless hashish if its’ dreams end like this!”.  It’s widely believed that Louisa utilized the power of cannabis to inspire her creative and captivating stories. Talk about a way to beat writer’s block!

Margaret Mead and Cannabis Activism

Historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich once said “well behaved women seldom make history”, and for Margaret Mead that was certainly true. Margaret was one of the most devoted advocates of cannabis to come out of the 20th century, devoting most of her life to the study of “controversial” areas such as sex and cannabis. In October 1969, Mead delivered a contentious yet eloquent speech about cannabis in front of the U.S. Senate defending cannabis. She even went as far as stating that anyone over the age of 16 should be able to consume cannabis, arguing that cannabis does not pose the threat to the public that substances like alcohol and heroin do. 

Maya Angelou and Cannabis in Poetry

Maya Angelou was one of the most renowned poets of the 20th century and the first female inaugural poet in U.S. presidential history. A three-time Grammy award winner, Maya Angelou was undeniably a powerhouse with a pen who frequently detailed her experiences with cannabis through her writing. In her first memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” Angelou goes into detail about her first experience with cannabis, smoking a cannabis cigarette with friends before a meal. She continued to write about “Mary Jane, hash, grass, gauge, weed, pot”  throughout her career, even saying she “had absolutely no fear of using it.” 

Rihanna and the Modern Representation of Cannabis in Pop Culture

Rihanna’s pop-icon status has been solidified over the years, with her 9 Grammy Awards, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and a long list of other incredible feats in the music industry. However, Rih-Rih has also been an outspoken advocate for cannabis use throughout her career. It’s even rumored that she and her team were once kicked out of a hotel room in Barbados for smoking in the room. She has frequently been photographed enjoying cannabis, even once rolling up on her bodyguard’s head at Coachella in 2012. Even though she is now expecting her first child with her boyfriend, notorious rapper A$AP Rocky, Rihanna to this day is an advocate for the legalization of cannabis nationwide. 

Today, women are one of the fastest-growing segments of cannabis consumers globally. While women’s history with cannabis is rich and well-doccumented, many cannabis retailers under-market to women as a demographic and under-hire woman in professional roles within the cannabis industry. So, as we all march forward into the brave new world of modern cannabis, don’t forget about the women that paved the way.

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