20 Women in Cannabis About to Crush the Industry in 2024

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In chess, the Queen is the most powerful player on the board. In cannabis, female plants carry all the weight, too. Meet the Queens and Godmothers of the weed game to follow in 2024 and beyond—including Sajira Castaneda (pictured above), founder of Medicated Barbies, a California brand that hosts events from coast to coast. / Christina Artwell / Artwell Creative

Experts say that "female cannabis plants are generally considered more valuable than male cannabis plants.” Leafwell explains that male plants are needed for the breeding process, but only females produce the “sticky and stinky” buds that make cannabis one of America’s most in-demand commodities (a 2022 report from Leafly declared cannabis America’s 6th most valuable crop). That’s why it’s no surprise that some of the world’s hottest cannabis brands are run by super women with deep roots in the legal and legacy (unlicensed) weed games. From growers, to grinders, to globetrotting CEOs, here are 20 women in cannabis to follow in 2024.

RELATED: How Shiest Bubz Became the Grand Marshal of NYC Cannabis

1. Godmother’s Garden

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Godmother’s Garden, after winning the 2022 New York Grower’s Cup: “I made the choice to dedicate my life to this, and getting that win kind of confirmed that all the decisions I was making as a grower were leading me down the right path.” / (@WickedSowa / Instagram)

Carrying the Torch for Girl Growers

Growers are the rockstars of the cannabis community. So when Brooklyn’s own Godmother’s Garden won the coveted gas category at the first ever New York Grower’s Cup last year, she instantly became one of the city’s most in-demand cultivators. “After winning, I was taken aback,” she told Reefa Radio, adding that holding the gold trophy was “surreal” and affirmation that “cannabis is finally getting its chance to shine.”

“It’s often said that women have to work harder to achieve the same results men do,” said Mike, founder and lead cultivator of New Amsterdam Cannabis. Mike has watched Godmother grow from rookie to champion at hyperspeed before his eyes. “Without the years of experience that some of us have, she put in all the blood, sweat and tears of 20 years of growing in only a few years,” Mike told ONE37pm. On top of growing spectacular weed,” fellow farmers like Mike admire Godmother’s work ethic and analytic approach to growing. More women who grow in New York include an underground queen at Epiphany, Jasmine Burems of the fully legal Claudine Farms, and Hudson Cannabis, which made waves with $10 dime bags when New York’s first legal dispensary opened last December. For the organic shoppers, Farmacy.NYC specializes in living soil grows with no additives.

2. Dasheeda Dawson

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NYC Mayor Eric Adams chose Dasheeda Dawson to be the “The LeBron James” of his legal cannabis team. As the Big Apple’s Cannabis Czar, Dawson calls the shots for NYC’s budding industry, drawing on experience as a Princeton grad, award-winning entrepreneur, and best-selling author of How to Succeed in the Cannabis Industry. / Getty Images

NYC Pot’s Top Shot-Caller

In New York, corporate, underground, and mom-and-pop operations are fighting for a piece of the fast-growing legal field. As the founding director of the city’s Cannabis NYC initiative, Dasheeda Dawson is facing the unprecedented challenge of keeping all sides happy.

“She is one of the few individuals that I’ve met in this industry that understands the whole business—from cultivation through retail—from seed to sale,” said fellow NY-canna-Queen Dr. Sha-Ron. “She also has a science background, so she understands the importance of the endocannabinoid system.” So far, Dawson has selected Harlem legend Shiest Bubz to be the city’s Grand Marshal of cannabis and partnered with legacy players like Bazaar Royale to launch the first New York’s first legal grower’s markets—state-approved showcases that feature bud from licensed growers, kind of like tomatoes at a farmer’s market. In New Jersey, cannabis regulatory commission chair Dianna Houenou is balancing similar tension between Big Weed, small family-owned farms, homegrowers, and distribution networks.

3. Queen Pee

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"People assume we are just models or working in lower level positions. When the reality is that a lot of the women are on the rise—making the decisions, building, creating.” - Maria “Queen Pee” del Pilar Vargas / @queenpee / Instagram

Cali’s Queen of Cannabis Marketing

Queen Pee helped build massive followings for FashionNova and Joke’s Up! on social media. And, her Pwincess Cutt weed strain is a best-seller at Cookies stores in Cali. Still, most days, she’s up by 4:00 am, looking for new ways to expand her empire of exclusive strains, retail locations, and influential partners. Behind the scenes, Pee brokers big moves, like the deal that brought Diddy’s son Justin onto the Joke’s Up! roster. Justin’s Honeycombs strain dropped last year, at the Joke’s Up Ice Kream Dispensary in Studio City, CA. Pee first got Joke’s Up! bags on shelves by door-knocking like an old-fashioned sales vet.

Pee is also pushing weed-adjacent products that pair well with cannabis consumption—like White Rabbit Energy, an energy drink for health conscious consumers. “Women are often the main consumers of health and wellness products,” Queen Pee told ONE37pm, adding that “cannabis-infused products targeting women's health concerns” present a huge opportunity.

4. Dege and Kym of TribeTokes

Degelis (or "Dege" pronounced "Dayj") and Kym B are leading the charge to bring women, weed, and wellness to the top shelf of NYC’s legal market. / @DMWFoto / Instagram

Wonderwomen of Weed and Wellness

“Built by girls, powered by bud,” TribeTokes vape cartridges are made for NYC’s modern Mary Janes. Since bud was legalized in March 2021, founders Dege and Kym B have flooded NYC with carts that boast sleek designs and sturdy parts. TribeTokes also uplifts women-led wellness start-ups, like HighYogaNYC, which provides 420-friendly yoga practice for all experience levels, and Popped!, a hidden jewel in Manhattan’s Lower East Side that sells CBD, hosts events, and rents “pop-up” space to smaller brands looking for a runway to launch.

5. Hope Wiseman

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“Access to the plant has widened tremendously for the state of Maryland,” Wiseman told ONE37pm this summer. “Now we’re able to serve a greater number of patients, and those that believe they’re using it for recreational purposes—when in reality all use is medicinal.” / @kebz_kapture / Instagram

Trailblazing From The Top

In 2014, Hope Wiseman began the journey to becoming the youngest Black woman to own a legal dispensary. After opening her first Mary & Main store in 2017, she’s thrilled to lead Maryland’s new recreational market, which opened July 1 of this year. Wiseman will be a key voice in Maryland’s robust social equity program, which includes a $40 million fund backed by current medical licenses to support the budding rec market. In New Jersey, the rec market will turn two years old April 21, 2024, and owners like Precious Osagie-Arese of East Orange’s Roll Up Life are braving the Garden State’s early growing pains and glitches.

6. Patricia Conner

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@PatriciaNicoleMusic / Instagram

The Secret Weapon of Smacked Village

Smacked Village soft-launched this January, becoming New York’s second legal dispensary, and the first owned by New Yorkers who embody the “legacy-to-legal” model that the state’s licensing program was designed to serve. Singer/songwriter Patricia Conner is the Queenpin of the Smacked operation, joining her husband Roland and son Darius as New York’s first family of legal cannabis.

Families like the Conners, and other legacy-to-legal operations like Good Grades (Queens’ first legal dispensary owned by South Jamaica native Extasy James) are reaping some of the first legal weed dollars to pass through the state.

“Nowhere in this country was cannabis prohibition weaponized more methodically (than in New York),” said New York Cannabis Office’s chief equity officer Damian Fagon at a 2022 cannabis board meeting. At the meeting, Fagon reported state data from 1980 to 2020, that shows 1.2 million marijuana arrests in New York, which led to nearly 400,000 convictions.

7. Lenore Elfand

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NYC legend DJ Funkmaster Flex has stamped Empire Club NYC as the big dogs of New York’s market. Co-founder Lenore Elfand lives up to title by challenging the state’s most controversial regulations from the front lines. / @AreWeHavingFunYetNYC / Instagram

The Bad Girl of NY’s Empire Cannabis Club

This summer, Lenore Elfand went viral after refusing to let New York officials raid her family’s private weed club. In March 2021, New York lawmakers promised that no one would ever be arrested for cannabis again. Over 8,000 unlicensed stores have reportedly opened up since (compared to roughly 25 legal shops)—and Empire is among the largest, with a fleet of prime storefronts and a massive list of private members that may be too big to stop under current laws.

8. Medicated Barbies

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Christina Artwell / Artwell Creative

For Pretty Girls Who Smoke Pot

The Medicated Barbies are buzzed beauties that made the most of 2023’s Barbie-mania by vending flower and merch at festivals and private parties across the country. In July, founder Sajira flew from Cali to NYC and led a busload of Barbz to a 420-themed Barbie Costume Party. In September, the Medicated gang hit the Champs Trade Show in Denver for more high-level networking, and they just finished up hosting their second KushStock Festival of the year in SoCal this last weekend.

9. Wolf Stoner

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@wolf_stoner_queen / Instagram

The Rolling Wolf Leading the Ancillary Pack

Pick axes and Levi’s jeans were the real come-up of the gold rush, so clever ladies like Krys Wolf are digging their nails into fertile niche markets like custom-rolled joints and cigars. She doesn’t just roll, she also released her own line of branded papers. Other ancillary stars to watch include Ranagade PerRana, who was once Snoop Dogg’s personal blunt roller, and Miss Sonia Singh, The Happy Therapist, who educates and heals with weed and psilocybin positive vibes.

10. Elyssa Colon and Julia Deviatkina

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Courtesy of Work’N’Roll

Raising the Bar for High Hospitality

Elyssa Colon of High Garden NYC and Julia Deviatkina of Work’N’Roll collaborate often to host unique events that touch every corner of the cannabis multiverse. As New York’s premier 420-friendly work space and event venue, Work'N'Roll is frequently booked with events like High Garden’s Canna Burlesque shows.

Other vibed-out venues include The Bronx’s Treehouse Cafe and The Lost Canna Club, which specializes in marrying comedy and cannabis. In August, a new crew known as the Lite Up Ladies made a splashy debut at the Herald Square Cookies Store rooftop.

11. The Dank Duchess

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@thedankduchess / Instagram

The Heiress to the Hashish Throne

The Dank Duchess is carrying on the tradition her late great mentor Frenchy Cannoli shared with the world. With Cannoli's guidance, The Duchess claimed a niche in hashish as a Consultant, Cannabis Cultivator, and Public Speaker who travels the world to teach people about alternative methods of consumption. Her favorite is the Chillum, a precious cultural artifact used in Rastafari rituals.

12. Ashley Picillo

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The Point Seven Group

Advocates and Allies

Ashley Picillo started The Point Seven Group after realizing most newly legal states would be following the regulatory framework laid in Colorado, which became the world’s first recreational state in 2012. Building on that insight, The Point Seven Group guides clients through the license application process with precision, boasting a high success rate and strong reputation nationwide.

In Harlem’s Washington Heights, a hub of NYC’s cannabis culture for generations, Annette Fernandez works through the High Exposure NY agency to support legacy communities and operators that hope to gain access to the legal industry. Other she-warriors of the fight for social equity include Britni Tantalo and Julia Dragutsky, who lead a coalition of retail dispensaries in New York resisting a corporate takeover by Big Weed players from out of state. The Desi Cannabis Collective is another essential platform for change, which educates the South Asian diaspora about cannabis.

13. Natalia Kaminskaya

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Julia Lutsyk /

MFNY is licensed to cultivate, process, and distribute cannabis out of six commercial-scale greenhouses, and the brand is growing fast thanks to Natalia Kaminskaya, who brings an MBA in Hospitality, and real estate expertise to the table. A 2022 MJBiz report stated women hold only 23% of executive positions in the legal cannabis industry.

Natalia and fellow glass-breakers like Jo Jacobsen, the co-founder of the multinational ROVE vapes company, and Vanessa Perez, Director of HR & Operations for New York license holders Happy Munkey, are claiming their space in the corporate suite to make room for more women in weed. This summer, Mary Pryor’s Sheba Baby! and Vic StylesBlack Girls Smoke debuted on New York dispensary shelves, laying the groundwork for more growth as more stores open in 2024.

14. Scheril Murray Powell

15. Lauren Avenius

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Lauren Avenius of Node Labs (second from right in white) leads an elite team of breeders, researchers, and legacy growers to find and scale the best cannabis strains in the world. / Calvin Stovall / ONE37pm

Guiding Node Labs Genetics Company to New Levels

“If breeders are the artists, Node is the recording studio,” Avenius told Honeysuckle Magazine. Node Labs and its flagship brand Compound Genetics operate one of the world’s most-prized seed banks in Sonoma County, California. Node breeds and saves hit strains, innovates new growing processes, and strikes licensing deals to collab with heavy hitters like Berner, Wiz Khalifa, and 2 Chainz on designer lines of bud.

16. Leona KUSA Collective and other Community Builders

17. Alexis Major and Miabelle

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The Hot Gals of Hot97’s GUMBO Radio

If you don’t smell the smoke GUMBO is blowing from coast to coast, it’s time to tune in. Monday nights at midnight on Hot97, Miabelle and Alexis Major bring fly girl energy to the airwaves alongside the infamous FlyTrap cannabis brand on GUMBO Radio. More queens of cannabis media to follow include Ronit Pinto, founder of the CLIO-award-winning Honeysuckle Magazine, prolific DJ and marketer Cat Oullette, and music legend Erykah Badu, whose latest collab with canna-giant Cookies did numbers nationwide.

18. Amber and the Pretty Tokers

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Pretty Tokers

The Trap Princess Behind Pretty Tokers

The Pretty Tokers have motion on both coasts, vending accessories, high-grade flower, and infused treats in California and New York behind lead toker Amber Nichole. In 2023, Pretty Tokers bags hit shelves in LA’s Budder dispensary, and next year the brand aims to build a licensed business in New York using Amber’s deep legacy roots in the city’s pre-legal scene.

More start-up stars to watch include The Herbal Heaux, who blends cannabis-infused edibles, tinctures (teas and juices), and skincare products that sell out faithfully. In New Jersey, Pinks’ branded rose petal pre-rolls have smokers swooning, thanks to gorgeous designs by co-founder and visionary Ali Woods. For the right lady, Pinks can make a more romantic gift than a bouquet of roses.

19. Cora the Boss Budtender

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Cora is a top budtender at Gotham, one of New York City’s most popular dispensaries. / Calvin Stovall / ONE37pm

Budtenders are one of the most important parts of the cannabis supply chain. They curate experiences for buyers based on their budget, taste profile, or desired effects. In addition to being named Gotham dispensary’s top budtender, Cora has also been running her own Elevated Yum experience since 2020.

20. Dr. Sha-Ron Pierre

Leads NY’s Dank Dr.’s and Researchers

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