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Celebrate Women in Weed: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (& Grow Better Weed)

Celebrate Women in Weed

Through March, we’re not just celebrating women– we’re celebrating women in weed. Cannabis has traditionally been a male-dominated industry where women have found it difficult to find representation. In the workplace, we see this especially at a leadership level. Society says that using cannabis is “unattractive,” a “turn-off,” and that it makes women lazy and less traditionally feminine. Harmful generalizations like these perpetuate the idea that using cannabis makes women subpar moms, inadequate employees, or bad partners, making them less likely to invest in cannabis as a consumer or see the industry as a career path.

In a report by MJBizDaily, author Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier states that while the percentage of women that hold executive positions in the cannabis industry averages about 4% higher than the national average of other industries, a significant gap lies in the number of female executives leading investment firms and vertically integrated businesses (like Airfield!) With such a low rate of executive positions held by women in investment firms, whether consciously or not, women tend to have more difficulty finding funding for their businesses, ultimately making it more challenging to get them off the ground or keep them growing.

Our commitment to closing this gap starts with elevating the voices of the powerhouse women currently crushing these stereotypes, owning and running successful businesses, and sharing their success stories to inspire women like you and me. Join us on our trip down memory lane with nine of California’s most successful women in weed as we discuss their products, passions, and incredible success stories, many of whom began their journies intending to improve the lives of women like you and me. Find Laurie Holcomb, Kristi Knoblich Palmer, and Imelda Walavalkar’s stories below, and head over to part two featuring Susie Plascencia, Anna Willey, and the Kitahara sisters!

Laurie Holcomb – Gold Flora

e’re ecstatic to kick this off with a bit about Airfield’s own female leader, Laurie Holcomb: CEO of Gold Flora. Before her journey in cannabis began, Laurie earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University, completed her Entrepreneurial Leadership certification from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and earned over 20 years of experience working in start-ups, business development, financing, executive management, and real estate. She was named one of the “Top 25 CEOs in the nation” and “Woman of the Year” by the National Association of Professional Women in 2011 and 2012.

Laurie Holcomb - Gold Flora

Laurie shifted her career to focus on cannabis in 2017 when she spearheaded the purchase of Gold Flora’s 28-acre Desert Hot Springs Cannabis Campus. Since then, she has catapulted Gold Flora into a new level of success with various acquisitions, including the Higher Level dispensaries in Hollister and Seaside and Airfield Supply Co in 2021. In February 2023, it was announced that Gold Flora and the Parent Company would merge in a deal that would name Laurie CEO of the largest female-owned vertically integrated cannabis company worldwide.

We asked Laurie, of all the products she produces with Gold Flora, which is her favorite? She said,

“Out of all of the products we’ve created, my favorite has to be the Black Gold all-in-one vaporizer. They’re the definition of luxury, crafted with the highest quality ingredients that evoke a true-to-the-strain taste and unmatched effects. A close second would be the original Naked Af all-in-ones, though, because I named them myself & had a lot of fun doing it!”

Kristi Knoblich Palmer – KIVA

Kristi has been in California Cannabis long before it was legal, starting Kiva over 12 years ago in her kitchen with her now husband, Scott. Starting with the original hash-infused chocolate bars, Kristi took her time perfecting recipes and has now developed over 50 products found in 11 states, including Terra, Petra, Camino, and Lost Farm. When we asked about herself & her experience running Kiva, she said,

Kristi Knoblich Palmer - KIVA

“we’re both honored and somewhat awed to have made these momentous milestones. We could have never imagined that those delirious, side-by-side all-nighters in our home kitchen would lead to the full suite of award-winning products we now offer. It’s been a long journey- at times difficult, mostly enjoyable, but always rewarding. We were there when businesses were being raided, when the first recreational purchase was made in California, and when cannabis finally earned the designation it always deserved: essential. The standard that we first helped set in this industry so long ago is one that we feel privileged and fortunate to uphold with every single confection we make. It is an honor to take this ancient, enchanting plant and explore the diverse flavors, profound effects, and incredible experiences it can impart to our lives.”

We asked Kristi about her favorite product from KIVA’s suite, and she said,

“The Kiva product that steals my heart to this day is Petra, our micro-dosed Mints. This product was developed for someone like me: a person who requires just a touch of THC to make the day-to-day just a little more sparkly. Doing laundry, a treat! Standing in line at the DMV, a pleasure! Petra, with its micro-dose, easy to carry package, and tasty fun flavors can turn the mundane into something rather enjoyable. They earned the nickname Mom-mints years ago, and now that I have two kids of my own I can personally attest to Petra’s ability to help one be more present in the moment while enjoying the chaos of childrearing. Surprisingly, my husband and I have super low tolerances, so we designed Kiva products to be extremely consistent and make dosing a breeze. The Petra mints in particular allow me the most precise dose so I can conquer all that life throws my way!”

Imelda Walavalkar – Pure Beauty

As CEO and Founder, Imelda started Pure Beauty with Tracy Anderson in 2017 after discovering the power of microdosing cannabis. In college, like many of us, she tried weed for the first time in the form of a giant bong rip that sent her to a different planet– after a colossal freakout and a five to six-year break, she thought, can’t we just ease into it? Thus, Pure Beauty was born! The intersection of sustainable premium cannabis products, art & culture, and social justice; since its inception Pure Beauty has been committed to social and environmental responsibility as reflected by its industry-first eco-conscious packaging, progressive cultivation practices, internal and external practices around social equity, diversity, and criminal justice reform.

Imelda Walavalkar - Pure Beauty

We asked Imelda to choose her favorite product on the Pure Beauty Lineup, she said,

“I am currently obsessed with our solventless infused pre-rolls. We took our full indoor flower and added first press live rosin from full flower and first wash ice water hash also from full flower to create what is, to us, the perfect pre-roll in terms of smoothness, balance of flavors and multi-dimensional high (you get 3 highs in one!). While a simple concept in theory it took us a very long time to get it just right; the right quality of ingredients, the right balance of every ingredient, and refining a process that would make them accessible pricing-wise.

“We wanted something that was true to the quality standards of our brand but also would appeal to people that like dabbing and infused pre-rolls, and still be accessible and embraced by people who do not consider themselves infused consumers. That love our babies but want to mix it up. We feel we accomplished this!”

April 13, 2023


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