In an industry that is often perceived by many to be underrepresenting women’s voices, Women of Weed UK seek to address this by offering a friendly and approachable group. Created by two friends, Nina and Siouxie, this group invites women within the cannabis space to unite from all points within the industry to connect, learn, and share common experiences, promote female voices within the space and empower one another.
We spoke to both of them to learn more about the group, how they feel women are treated within the industry and what they have coming up.
Could you explain to our readers what Women of Weed UK is?
N: Women of Weed is a safe space for women to ask questions, tell their stories, find out about what’s going on in the U.K. Cannabis scene, make friends, plan gatherings…
S: Women of Weed UK is a platform for women in the UK to learn more about the cannabis plant and its therapeutic benefits, network with like-minded women and find out more about what is happening in the UK scene.
What was it that made you create the platform Women of Weed’?
N: We created this platform because there was nothing to bring together women who consume cannabis or are interested in it. We both had realised that women in the cannabis scene were often isolated, feeling judged or stigmatised because of their consumption and didn’t have anyone to talk to or relate to. By highlighting some women’s stories we slowly saw women coming out more and being more open about their consumption. Then it quickly grew and we saw many friendships created and a big support system came into place. Within our first year, we also managed to gather around £20k worth of donations (mostly CBD products) from people and brands and redistributed it all amongst women who needed it.
S: I noticed a real need for a platform that brought women together in their shared interest in cannabis. There are a few women’s groups in the UK but they focus on specific sectors within the cannabis industry. Whereas we wanted to unite women across all sectors of the industry from patients to professionals.
What was your main goal when creating Women of Weed?
N: Creating a space that seemed friendly and approachable enough for women to feel safe to open up about their consumption and not feel lonely anymore. Rapidly women felt comfortable enough to ask questions, talk to another, meet each other … It was great to see and be part of.
S: For me personally, it was very clear; to make female consumers feel less alone by creating a safe space where women feel comfortable to open up and ask questions about their cannabis consumption and interest in the plant. We want to play a part in changing the narrative on cannabis consumers from what you see glamorised in pop culture to the true representation of the average cannabis consumer.
You mentioned that you managed to raised £20,000 in donations, could you tell us a little bit more about that?
S: This is possibly the most beautiful thing to have organically come out of creating the platform. From the outset, it became very apparent that a lot of individuals and businesses really supported what we stood for and what we set out to do. We were incredibly surprised by the number of anonymous donations we received from individuals within the community; These totalled over half the donations we redistributed. What may also surprise you is that most of our key contributors were men. We try our best to keep the donations as quiet as possible, especially as most of our contributors do so anonymously which we absolutely love. We should also give a mention to our good friends across the pond, Blue Ridge Hemp who have supported and been right behind our mission from the start!
What are your thoughts on how women are treated in the cannabis industry?
N: Women are not taken seriously and are most of the time taken advantage of. If you have studied cannabis then people will say that you’re not a proper stoner and don’t have your place here, and if you’re a stoner people will say that you’re not an expert and they don’t take you seriously. It’s really difficult to get it right here. Most people are in this industry for fame or money and they don’t understand that we’re in there to genuinely help women and have fun. For example, not many people know about donations. We like to keep things simple and humble, approachable and friendly.
S: As with a lot of industries there is a huge lack of female voices in the cannabis space, especially in senior positions. This makes it harder to have a balanced voice across the board. Personally, I have found that there has been a lot of similarities between the beer industry and the cannabis industry. The main is actually being seen and heard. From personal experience, it feels so much harder to be taken seriously as a woman and you definitely have to push harder to get your voice heard.
What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the cannabis industry when creating Women of Weed?
N: That there are many different groups of people and that it seems really difficult to bring people together even if we should all be there for the plant. Unfortunately, this is a very divided space and this doesn’t help to send a good message out to the world.
S: If I am being totally honest, I would have to say the divide within the community as a whole. I’ve been surprised at how hard it has been to build WOW into a friendly and safe community. From the beginning, it has been an uphill battle to really show what we stand for and what we want to achieve. We have strived to prove our intentions through our actions rather than our words and I believe we have done a good job of getting the right message out there. Of course, due to the nature of cannabis, it is imperative to earn the trust of those who form our community as a whole and we are truly grateful to the women who have stood by us from the beginning and taken the brave stance to open up and share their journeys with us, really helping us highlight the real voice of the cannabis consumer.
What has been the most memorable moment in Women of Weeds history?
N: From my experience, the first time I met Siouxie. We only met 9 months after creating WOW. Siouxie had reached out to me to create WOW, I love the idea, I loved her spirit and energy so I jumped on board. Soon after this, I travelled to the US so Siouxie mostly managed WOW on her own until I came back here and met her in person. It was very emotional because we are both passionate and both care a lot about what we do. Then each time I meet new women from the community. I could also mention doing a live with the Sisters of the Valley and Mila Hashqueen which was super exciting for me!
S: It has to be right at the start…finding Nina!! I had followed Nina for some time and been in awe of the way she showcases cannabis as a part of her everyday life. She is incredibly empowering and has beautiful feminine energy which really inspired me to create a platform that would embody this spirit and inspire more women to embrace theirs. I had to ask her about the idea of Women of Weed. She responded within minutes and had created a logo and that was the start of Women of Weed. The journey we have had together has been nothing short of amazing and we have had the pleasure of being a part of some really exciting projects and interviews. I definitely have to say that interviewing Mila Jansen and Sisters of Valley for our Sister Sesh IGTV series is up there in my favourite moments of all time and we are SUPER excited to be invited to Product Earth Expo this year!