Latina Entrepreneurs breaking Into the cannabis industry

The cannabis industry, traditionally male-dominated and predominantly white-owned, is experiencing a shift as Latinas in Chicago are making significant strides. Despite the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, legalization in many states has generated substantial revenue, with Illinois alone bringing in over $400 million in taxes last year.

AnaKaren Ramirez, a DACA Dreamer and founder of the cannabis-based brand AK40SEV, challenges gender stereotypes in the industry. Her events, such as “Mother Mary Jane,” aim to educate immigrant families about cannabis benefits. Similarly, Vanessa Cardenas and Victoria Cristina Ruiz (VCR) of Rollin Rosa, a premium pre-roll brand, emphasize creating upscale, luxurious products and have faced sexism while promoting their business. Their products are now available in multiple states and will soon be sold in Urban Outfitters.

Amorinda Martinez, founder of Tranquil Highs, offers meditative cannabis experiences and promotes Indigenous plant medicine traditions. She aims to break cycles of generational trauma within communities of color. LizMarie Palomo, through her alter-ego Mota Mami, provides cannabis education and infused products, emphasizing the importance of representation in the industry.

Clockwise: Vanessa Cardenas and VCR, AnaKaren Ramirez, LizMarie Palomo, and Amorinda Martinez. Credit: Mateo Zapata

These women highlight the ongoing racial and gender disparities in the legal cannabis market. Despite facing challenges, they advocate for greater inclusion of Black and Brown women in the industry. Their message is clear: pursue your dreams and don’t let barriers stop you.

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