Lindzi Vagary

It’s Women’s History Month and with more states decriminalizing and legalizing cannabis we are starting to see women thrive as cannabis entrepreneurs.

Prior to the legal cannabis boom, women were less visible in the agricultural aspect. Women often worked as advocates for decriminalization, medicinal recognition, caregivers, and sometimes distributors.

Until recently, people who cultivated cannabis were not set up in a legal grow-house. Sometimes, they were growing in their cousin’s basement, many times they were in what we know as a guerilla grow. A guerilla grow is an outdoor operation in a hidden and difficult-to-find location1. Some of these operations were on forest service land2. Others might have been found on the back acres of someone’s grandmother’s homestead.

A guerilla grower operates entirely outside of the law and risks severe penalties from fines, of up to life in prison if caught. Guerilla grows can be dangerous for female workers as they require you to be able to disappear for days at a time without anyone wondering where you were or sending a search party. 

It’s also extremely difficult to report an assault at a guerilla grow location because you must admit where you were when it happened, which means implicating yourself in a crime for an investigation to occur. The women I know that have reported their assaults that occurred on guerilla grow locations never received justice, were often re-victimized by the investigating officer, charged with criminal activity, and ostracized by their cannabis community. Sadly, the history of the judicial system enforcing unjust cannabis laws far outweighs the system prosecuting those that would assault women working in the field.

Currently, twenty-eight states have either decriminalized and or legalized cannabis use for people over age twenty-one. Instead of having to hide grows off mountain trails there are now warehouses of legal grows popping up all over the country. 

Decriminalization and legalization have helped to make the industry much safer for women across the United States3. We are seeing more women thrive in what was previously known to be the wild west, and a male-dominated field. Personally, as a long-term medicinal user, I celebrate these advancements and I am looking forward to seeing many more women thrive as cannabis entrepreneurs.

Citations

1 Kushka. (2017, May 29). Guerrilla growing: how to get away with it. Dinafem Seeds. https://www.dinafem.org/en/blog/guerrilla-growing-how-get-away-it/

2 Keen, J. U. T. (2012, December 28). Deep in the woods, pot growing thrives. AP. https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/12/28/pot-marijuana-national-parks/1795477/

3 Wilcox, A. (2019, December 4). Is Prohibition Enabling Sexual Assault In The Emerald Triangle? Herb. https://herb.co/news/legalization/sexual-assault-emerald-triangle/

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