In an industry where the mother plant is often referred to with reverence, women are taking their place in many different parts of the business as human “Green Goddesses.”
There are, by now, many women working in the ranks of the cannabis industry everywhere.
In the international space, they come from literally every walk of life and profession before they “graduated” to cannabis – and in some cases are starting their career working in the space. They are also increasingly taking their places as some of the most integral cogs of the wheel – even if they are still in short supply at the top of companies and on boards. Like many of the men who work in this fascinating vertical, these green goddesses are usually adept at hopping countries as well as adapting to the still evolving challenges of the industry and on a global basis.

Here is an introduction to 3 of them.
Hana Hallaj is based (primarily) between Lebanon and Dubai and works as an investment facilitator
© Hana Hallaj
“Basically, I support investors in many ways to set up and initiate their cannabis investments,” as she describes her professional activities. “My focus and experience are in Africa and Europe. I was approached by someone over three years ago in Greece with a business plan for an indoor cultivation project. He asked me to review it and check if some of the investors that I work with could be interested in investing with them. I was intrigued on the spot and the more I dove into the industry the more I saw interest and potential.” Among other clients, Hallaj is currently working with a South African cannabis cultivator to find distributors in Germany and the EU.

She loves her work simply because every territory brings a new set of problems she must solve. “Different countries have different challenges,” she said. “Unclear and unharmonised regulation, immature environment and infrastructure are some examples.”

When asked about what she hopes will happen in the industry if not for her career, she is quick to answer. “Primarily, that more cannabis and cannabinoids research go into the development of medical, health and wellness applications as we are still in the early stages of adoption. Of course, I aspire and hope that more approved medical cannabis can be prevalent to patients globally.”
Tseli Khiba is a young cannabis lawyer in Lesotho, Africa. She is a cannabis consultant, providing legal advice to companies, advocacy organizations and even individuals operating in the cannabis industry.
© Oane Solutions
She is also, almost by definition, an activist, legislative drafter, YouTuber, and amateur grower. Khiba explained her entry into the industry this way to High Times. “In the beginning, I was assigned to a cannabis-related project during the course of my work. I started doing more research and learned more about the uses of the plant, the reasoning (or lack thereof) of its prohibition, and the vast opportunities and potential of the industry. What I found resonated with values, passion, and interests.”

Khiba believes that the future of cannabis in Africa is exciting, but not without its challenges. “I think that more countries will open up to medical cannabis and industrial hemp,” she said. “Unfortunately, the adult/recreational use of cannabis is still a thorny subject and may take a little longer to embrace.” She hopes to “see more African countries decriminalising cannabis. “The current approach is untenable as it perpetuates negative stereotypes about cannabis and leaves those without issued licenses or permits vulnerable to continued harassment by enforcement officers,” she said. “I would like to see the business becoming more inclusive, integrating traditional African knowledge and methods, and ensuring patient access to cannabis-based medicine.”
It’s difficult to know what women’s needs are in this space – but this challenge is currently being addressed by Joanne Hope, founder of KushKush, a lifestyle cannabis store for women that showcases premium cannabis-related products alongside women’s interest articles.
© KushKush
It is the first of its kind in Africa and was conceptualised when Hope realised that there was a gaping hole in the market. “My first experience purchasing cannabis-related products was somewhat alienating: my boyfriend was looking for a particular vaporiser in a local head shop (a shop that sells pothead paraphernalia) and as I stood waiting for him, I felt really uncomfortable. I didn’t see myself reflected in that environment at all.”

It was at that moment that Joanne conceived of a platform that would, over time, help normalise this often stigmatised industry, offering a retail experience and judgement-free space for the higher-end female cannabis consumer – whether a regular recreational smoker, medical user or even just canna-curious to learn, enjoy and be part of a like-minded community.