Women-run marijuana group to launch Vancouver Island chapter
Gill Polard, founder of Women Grow's Vancouver Island chapter, says there needs to be more of a gender balance when it comes to the cannabis industry. Feb. 23, 2016 (Courtesy Gill Polard)
Published Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:12AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 23, 2016 10:13AM PST
As Trudeau's promises to regulate the marijuana industry inch closer to reality, Canadian women want to ensure their voices will be heard.
Women Grow, a professional network supporting female leaders and entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, will officially launch its Vancouver Island chapter in early March.
"There is a huge underground market right now on Vancouver Island," said Gill Polard, the founder of Women Grow on Vancouver Island. "Women make up a huge part of that. They are veterans in the scene."
The female-oriented organization aims at connecting colleagues in the ever-growing marijuana sector in Canada and creating a gender balance when cannabis goes from underground to mainstream.
"There are more men at the table right now than there are women," said Polard.
Since the Liberal government took power and election promises surrounding weed failed to go up in smoke, there has been a rush to get ahead of the legalization train.
B.C.'s Government and Service Employee's union along with the Private Liquor Store Association are clamouring to control sales. Major growers, like Vancouver Island's federally sanctioned Tilray, also have shown interest in the recreational pot pie.
Meanwhile, women are doing their own jockeying. Women Grow Co-Chair, Renee Gagnon believes that in uncharted territory it is important that everyone is on equal footing.
"As Canada's marijuana industry evolves, it is important to hear voices from all corners of the industry," she said, "to ensure that the cannabis industry is represented fairly."
Women Grow will hold monthly meetings in varying island communities.
The organization has 44 chapters in North America. Vancouver Island is the fourth chapter in Canada.
The Liberal government has promised to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, though it hasn’t said exactly when it will table legislation.