These 5 women will change on April 20th

The marijuana industry is still driven by men – but these five women are changing 4/20 and turning the industry on its head by focusing on the future.

Since the marijuana industry was legalized, it has been full of bros trying to control everything. Some clever, some hypocritical, they had an outsized say in the development of legal marijuana. But women are having a moment and a major impact on the millions of new legal consumers. Whether it's the imagination, the politics or the products, women are making groundbreaking changes in the way cannabis enters the mainstream. When 4/20 began the landscape was very different, the 5 women are changing 4/20 into a larger, more mainstream celebration today.

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Nancy Whitman

Nancy co-founded Wana Brands in 2010 and grew from her kitchen into an international cannabis edible powerhouse. With North America's largest distribution presence, it is a top international brand available in 17 US conditionsthe U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and nine Canadian provinces and territories, generating annual retail sales of nearly $300 million through more than 3,000 pharmacies.

As a pioneer in the legal cannabis market, she has consistently demonstrated her commitment to researching and producing safe, innovative products. She understands the millions of canna newbies who are looking for something that perfectly fits their non-stoner lifestyle. Under her leadership, Wana was acquired by Canopy Grow, part-owned by alcohol giant Constellation.

Nancy's inclusive vision resulted in a leadership team that is 70% women, a rarity in the industry and a reflection of her commitment to diversity. Her unique insights have given Wana an advantage because she understands the average consumer, who makes up the majority of the market.

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Patty MurrayPhoto by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In Congress' Old Boys Club, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) has risen thanks to her willingness to focus on solving problems, think about the average citizen, and use her knowledge and strength. As the third most powerful person in the Senate, she is working with Senate Leader Schumer (D-NY) and a bipartisan group to make significant progress on federal marijuana policy. As a long-time veteran advocate, this benefits those who have served and suffer from PSTD.

Shawna Seldon McGregor


In a sometimes turbulent industry with some crazy players, it's good to have a PR firm you can trust. A reflection of the mainstream industry, Maverick PR has helped the industry move beyond the old stoner and into the modern day. Founded by Shawna Seldon McGregor, she has become the consul of the industry's executives and a media whisperer who keeps the good players growing. Shawna's ability to bring marijuana messaging mainstream has been a hallmark of her career. Since the beginning of adult consumption in Colorado, she has led effective advertising campaigns for top brands such as Wana, Native Roots, Deep Roots Harvest and Botani. She enjoys the trust of managers and is able to understand companies and accompany them through changes like California Sober. Her understanding of consumers and media has been invaluable to executives.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt

Debra Brochardt was a respected media voice on Wall Street when she entered the marijuana world with the founding of Green Market Report. Premiering at a time when the industry was still seedy and, as one executive said, people would come to meetings and put down a gun, she brought reason and truth to the table. Known for her hard-hitting reporting, she has tackled corruption, crazy executives and complicated financial dealings. Recognizing the market's growth, venerable media company Crains acquired the asset and has only helped Brochardt realize her vision. The Green Market Report highlights reputable companies and has become required reading for investors, politicians and executives.

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Pamela Hart

Pamela Hart

With a talent for organization and building infrastructure, Hart entered the industry in 2015. Seeing the opportunity to build infrastructure and platforms, she brought her management skills to various companies. As COO of Keneh Ventures, she has helped vet, fund and partially advise on several investments, including GoFire and AI startup WeDream World. She understood the mainstream appeal and was an advocate for Cannabition, a state-of-the-art, immersive cannabis experience opening next to Planet 13 in Las Vegas. In addition to her other tasks, she is now also the managing partner and operations manager of the exhibition. She shared that the priorities of entrepreneurs and investors have matured over the last eight years as the market for cannabis has grown and become accepted by the general population.

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