Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8.

The history of Women’s History Month

In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California participated in Women’s History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8 (International Women’s Day). In 1979 a fifteen-day conference about women’s history was held at Sarah Lawrence College from July 13 until July 29, chaired by historian Gerda Lerner.

It was co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, the Women’s Action Alliance, and the Smithsonian Institution. When its participants learned about the success of the Sonoma County’s Women’s History Week celebration, they decided to initiate similar celebrations within their own organizations, communities, and school districts. They also agreed to support an effort to secure a National Women’s History Week.

In February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. The proclamation stated, “From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.

As an industry, we too should recognize this month and honor the women of yesterday and today. We need to continue sharing the stories of these women, their struggles, accomplishments, philosophies, and ideas.

So in honor of Women’s History Month, DCN will be highlighting 30 women entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for the #togetherwellmakehistory spotlight.


To kick this off we are honored to introduce you to

Dr. Lakisha Jenkins

Dr. Lakisha Jenkins holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and is a Professional Member of the American Herbalist Guild. Her core competencies include utilizing herbs as the basis of nutrition to help combat the symptoms of a myriad of illnesses. Additionally, through research and consulting practicum, Dr. Lakisha became proficient in identifying the active constituent and cannabinoid profiles in botanicals and integrating those profiles together in herbal compounds.

Dr. Jenkins is a Founding Board Member and the first elected President of the California Cannabis Industry Association and also served on the Board of the National Cannabis Industry Association as the California State representative.

In your own words, who is Dr. Lakisha Jenkins?

“I am a Traditional Naturopath, registered master herbalist, and teacher of endogenous cannabinoid system education. I have a sincere passion for empowering patients to understand their bodies and discover the gentle power of the healing arts. As Traditional Naturopath, I enjoy being able to bridge the gap between western medicine and the “alternatives,” while providing a safe and nurturing atmosphere in which to heal.” 

www.drlakisha.com


Maritza Bermudez

Maritza Bermudez

Maritza Bermudez, an experienced executive with over a decade of diverse business experience, gained while working at publicly traded multinational companies within the insurance, gaming, retail, and technology sectors. Before joining Cannabis Commerce Group Consulting as Vice President, Maritza was founding partner at K&H Consulting, a licensed Las Vegas-based professional services firm focused on assisting businesses in the regulated cannabis industry manage their unique tax, accounting, and operational challenges.

Maritza possesses an experienced and unique understanding of cannabis-related business from the financial and tax aspects Maritza is a passionate cannabis activist and patient advocate who served as the Industry Liaison for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in support of Question 2 and is a registered NV lobbyist for The Nevada Coalition for Patient Rights. She is an active business member for Las Vegas Medical Marijuana Association and National Cannabis Industry Association, where she demonstrated her commitment towards changing social, cultural and political stigma by participating as Nevada representative during NCIA’s Lobby Days held in Washington D.C.

What is your elevator pitch?

“The Cannabis Commerce Group Team is comprised of some of the most experienced and renown professionals within the marijuana industry. With our combined years of experience within all segments of the marijuana industry, to their concise understanding of regulatory and legal issues, we are Nevada’s leading cannabis consultancy. Our clients include top-rated publicly traded cannabis companies and former legislators and lawmakers within the industry. We specialize in all aspects of the marijuana Industry and presently manages over $100 million in marijuana/cannabis assets.”

www.cannabiscommercegroupconsulting.com


Nurit Raphael

Nurit Raphael

ONA.life founder and Marin native Nurit Raphael believes “The little spontaneous things in life makes us feel like we aren’t just existing, but living.” That same adventurous spirit (and some inspiration from her brother Aviv) took Nurit from production coordinator on Game of Thrones to a starring role of her own: founder of ONA.life—an only-in-Marin boutique cannabis concierge/delivery service. Years of hard work and positive word-of-mouth have helped ONA.life thrive, earning the collective a 2018 GreenState Cannabis Award from the San Francisco Chronicle and Best of the Bay from SF Magazine 2018.

Nurit’s active participation in local government led her to found the Marin County Couriers Association and helped ensure that ONA.life was one of only five cannabis delivery services statewide that was in full compliance with the law and ready to roll on January 1, 2018. Today, she continues to work tirelessly in the community, hosting educational-and-wellness events designed to destigmatize cannabis.

Why is this plant important for you on your journey as a woman entrepreneur?

“The plant has become important to me on many levels, but I would say this plant has allowed me to find my voice. It has allowed me to speak up for what I believe in, which made me become a cannabis advocate.”

www.ona.life


Nikki Lastreto

Nikki Lastreo

Nikki Lastreto, a native San Franciscan and hippie at heart forever, spent several years developing her writing and marketing skills working at The San Francisco Chronicle and KRON-TV. She went on to live and work primarily from Asia for the next decade, when she finally returned to California, settling in Mendocino County.

Nikki is a founder and CEO of Swami Select, a respected cannabis journalist and the head flower judge at the prestigious Emerald Cup since it began in 2003. As a strong voice for women, she shapes the industry, educating consumers, cultivators and politicians about the value of pure cannabis cultivated using organic methods.

Why is this plant important for you on your journey as a woman entrepreneur?

“To be a good farmer or businessperson, it is utmost important to believe in your product. I have believed in cannabis since I smoked my first joint in 1969, sold my first “lid” a few years later and now am proud to announce to the world I am a cannabis farmer with a legal budding company. Cannabis has taught me how to do all that, with never a question about equality in the business. As pioneers, we have the right to shape the perception, and that includes equality for all sexes, races, and religions. Cannabis teaches us compassion, and equality is a natural progression. I would not be who I am today if it were not for cannabis in my life.”

www.swamiselect.com


Ashley Picillo 

Ashley Picillo

Ashley Picillo is the CEO and Founder of Point Seven Group, a global management consulting firm dedicated to the cannabis industry. She is also the author of Breaking the Grass Ceiling: Women, Weed, and Business, published in 2017 and released at SXSW. Ashley joined the cannabis industry in early 2014 and served as the head of marketing, sales and operations at a large vertically integrated facility in Colorado, before launching Point7 in 2016. Since then, the firm has grown substantially, supporting more than 100 clients across 55 regulated cannabis markets worldwide. Ashley splits time between LA, Denver, and many, many airports.

What is your elevator pitch for Point Seven Group?

“Point Seven Group is a tenured, global management consulting firm known for agility, speed, and exceptional service. Our success is measured by that of our clients’ whether that’s winning licenses, creating global brands or expanding operations into new markets.”

www.pointsevengroup.com


Carol Ortega

Carol Ortega

Ms. Ortega is the Managing Director and Founder of Muisca Capital Group. Headquartered in California USA, Muisca Capital is the first Latino investment management firm supporting initiatives in the legal cannabis industry, through a combination of events, acquisitions, business incubation and venture capital. Our target is to build a portfolio of leading Latinx companies that will shape premium cannabis brands worldwide. We are founders of Cannabiz Latino HUB – Impact Investment Summit. The 1st Investment Summit for the industry in LATAM.

Ms. Ortega is the Founder & BOD Chair of the Cannabis Entrepreneurs Network (REC in Spanish), which foster and serves through its programs and services Latinx cannabis ventures in the Americas, founding entity of the cannabis science event called CannaCiencia, a state of the art B2B event that promotes science, research and good practices of the analytical laboratory of Medicinal Cannabis in the Americas.

Why is this plant important for you on your journey as a woman entrepreneur?

“The emerging Cannabis Industry is a socioeconomic revolution that has the power to mitigate the levels of poverty within the Latino Community worldwide. From my financial background and perspective, this emerging industry has a tremendous impact in terms of wealth generation for the Latino community, as a woman, in the financial and cannabis industry is a mandatory call for inclusion, diversity and gender equity. Si se puede!”

muiscacapital.com


Kyra Reed

Kyra Reed

A social media and branding expert, Kyra’s background in community building using digital technology has positioned her to build a thriving community of women entrepreneurs in cannabis. Her focus now is on helping the incredible women in the cannabis industry connect, share resources and grow strong and profitable businesses and realize that we are #bettertogether.

Why is this plant important for you on your journey as a woman entrepreneur?

“Embracing the mother has gifted me with creativity, relationships, and experiences that don’t exist elsewhere. She is a miracle worker and what she is going to do for women entrepreneurs is nothing short of magical. I see the same effects in other women in the industry and in the community we are building around the world. She harmonizes, unifies and heals. How can we go wrong with that as the center of our tribe?”


Wendy Kornberg

Wendy Kornberg

Wendy Kornberg is a mother, wife, and second generation, a regenerative farmer residing in Southern Humboldt County. Her family-run farm, Sunnabis: Humboldt’s Full Sun Farms, has produced high-grade, medical cannabis for herself, her family, and California patients, respectfully tending to their stunning, off-grid location through organic and natural farming methods. Kornberg’s family cultivates heritage strains—their farming techniques and seed stock have been lovingly preserved and passed down since the 1970s.

Kornberg strives to help other cultivators succeed and believes that more involvement with the political process is critical to that effort, and therefore is an advocate for sound regulatory programs and processes that support small farms and businesses. Being of service to her community, both Southern Humboldt County and the greater cannabis community is a key personal trait and she sits on the board of a many of non-profits, as well being the Sun Grown Advisor for Sensi Magazine.

Kornberg is launching a series of workshops that will be available both in person and online to help others learn how to grow high-quality food and medicine by utilizing the same techniques and methods she has perfected over the course of her life, and she has also started an advisory business for large scale grows to help them become more sustainable and regenerative.

Why is this plant important for you on your journey as a woman entrepreneur?

“Cannabis holds a special place for many women, and I’m no different. My experience with this plant has been nothing short of miraculous. When western medicine failed at helping with debilitating endometriosis, and eastern medicine was only slightly more successful, I turned to cannabis and found not only relief but a passion for growing this beautiful plant. The joy and thrill of finding the right varietal and the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids that prove helpful for a huge variety of ailments lift my soul and makes my heart sing.

I’ve seen Vietnam vets go from paranoia to relaxation, skin cancer lift up and melt away, and arthritis and other body pains simply disappear after the use of cannabis medicine. This plant has grown and evolved with us over a millennium for good reason. Women have been known as the keepers of the hearth and home, as well as healers, herbalists, and gardeners for as long as we have been on this planet, and the energy of this queen of the garden is in perfect harmony with my beliefs and love for life. As a female in this industry, it is imperative that people see us not just as support and auxiliary services, but also as leaders and farmers in our own right.”

www.sunnabis.com


Stay tuned for Part Two of the #togetherwellmakehistory spotlight.

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