We had the amazing pleasure of speaking with Jane West and we are proud to share our conversation. Jane West is a cannabis activist and CEO of the cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West. She is best known as the founder of cannabis networking organization Women Grow. In 2016, Inc. Magazine named her “the most widely recognized female personality in cannabis."
West founded Women Grow, the cannabis industry’s largest professional networking organization, and is now the CEO of her eponymous cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West. At Jane West, she develops accessories and home goods that invite women from all walks of life to experience the benefits of cannabis and take part in the legal lifestyle.
Jane is a voice for mainstream consumers and women like her who stand to benefit greatly from an alternative to alcohol and pharmaceuticals. She believes that cannabis is the best alternative, and invites consumers to elevate their experience.
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
I would describe myself as a working mother who in 2014 founded the consumption-friendly cannabis events company Edible Events as well as Women Grow, the cannabis industry’s largest professional networking organization. Now I am CEO of my self-titled cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West, which develops sophisticated, user-friendly cannabis accessories and home goods for mainstream consumers, especially women.
How has Cannabis influenced or affected your life?
Well, cannabis cost me a job – and earned me a new career! In 2014, my employer fired me after I was spotted consuming cannabis on CNBC. That’s when I decided to dive head first into the then-nascent legal cannabis industry. I haven’t looked back since! (Mostly because I haven’t had time.)
What did you do before you got involved in the cannabis industry?
I worked as a corporate event planner. I loved the job, but in the long run, it clearly wasn’t meant to be. However, I continue to use the skills I developed in the traditional business world to develop plans, relationships, and procedures in the cannabis industry, where so much of the traditional industry infrastructure is still in the process of being built.
How did you start Women Grow and Jane West?
I realized pretty early on that cannabis was already starting to become an old boys club, where the information that you needed to succeed was handled like a trade secret. I figured the best way to combat that development was to launch a nationwide networking group of women in the cannabis industry. I had no idea that Women Grow would become so successful. We quickly blossomed from a single get-together with less than 100 attendees to a nationwide network with chapters in nearly fifty cities and tens of thousands of regular attendees.
Similarly, it frustrated me to no end that it was impossible to find high-quality cannabis accessories that were designed for the needs of women and others who weren’t part of the traditional cannabis lifestyle. Even as cannabis became increasingly mainstream, the products that surrounded it were largely stuck in the dark ages, making something that was modern and wonderful still feel downright illicit. That’s what led me to fill that gap with the launch of the Jane West lifestyle brand.
What keeps you inspired working in the cannabis industry?
I am constantly inspired by the idea that we are working to motivate and empower women and others who have traditionally been denied a seat at the table in the business world. We recently wrapped up an equity crowdfunding campaign, where we allowed people from all over the world to invest in our company. The stories we heard from people who had never before invested in any company, let alone a cannabis operation, but were now willing to join our team were both humbling and invigorating.
What does wellness mean to you?
Carving enough time out of my busy workday to ensure I have a few minutes to relax, engage in self-care, clear my head, and appreciate everything that I have in my life, right here and right now in the moment.
What is your self-care routine? Do you incorporate cannabis into your routine and how?
I like to kick off the end of my workday with a “flower hour” starting at 4:20. Yes, cannabis is a big part of the routine. It’s no different than going to happy hour at your favorite bar after a long week of work.
What is your favorite way to use Cannabis? Do you have a favorite strain and why?
I am an old-school girl, so I still prefer to smoke flower. It’s why I designed a whole product line called the Jane West Collection designed to let folks smoke their favorite strains in elegance and style. And honestly, I don’t have a favorite strain. I love the huge diversity of flavors and effects. Variety really is the spice of my cannabis life!
What advice can you give someone who wants to come out of the cannabis closet to their friends and family (children, spouse, extended family)?
Cannabis use is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is a personal choice. You shouldn’t be afraid to explain to your loved ones why you prefer cannabis over more harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals, but you should do your homework first. Share with them the data the demonstrates that cannabis has been unfairly maligned for decades, and that the accompanying war on drugs has had catastrophic ramifications. Explain your feelings to them, but also allow them the opportunity to question your decision. These interactions should be a conversation, not a diatribe.
What impact do you think Cannabis will have on women’s health?
Cannabis has the potential to be transformational for women’s health. After all, one in four women takes prescription drugs for mental health conditions, compared to just 15 percent of men. When we are in the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic, those numbers have to change. Imagine if all of those women replaced their pill bottles with medical cannabis, which has never once led to an overdose?
What kind of advice can you give someone who has expressed interest in Cannabis?
What are you waiting for? As the unfair stigmas around the plant continue to fall away, there is never been a better time to explore cannabis as either a consumer or an entrepreneur. If you are in a state that has or is preparing to legalize medical or recreational cannabis, don’t be afraid to dive in. Help us lead the movement to legitimize cannabis worldwide!
How to connect with Jane West:Website: www.janewest.com