The female grassroots movement taking on the European cannabis industry

women in european cannabis industry

There is a global movement to legalize cannabis. And Germany just ignited Europe with its recent law to remove it from the country’s narcotics list, which gives a broader range of people access to it. Many believe their actions will be the catalyst for other governments to follow. Countries like Portugal, Switzerland, Netherlands, England, Italy, Malta, and the Czech Republic already have some level of medical program, test pilot, or decriminalization status.

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The cannabis industry will one day be a thriving global industry requiring expertise in medicine, education, scientific research, government policy, finance, and supply chain operations to build it. While the recreational market will take time to develop in Europe, the medical market holds potentially lucrative business opportunities. However, engaging in a cannabis-related business can be costly and risky because of the unpredictability of laws and the complicated patchwork of regulations from country to country. To be successful, you must have an extensive network of professionals across borders to manage your supply chain.

The rise of the fem-fire

Many women from different countries, backgrounds, professions, interests, and goals are banding together to help each other make an impact on the European cannabis industry through a newly founded women’s professional group, EmpowHer Cannabis Society. This grassroots movement of supportive women benefits from the members’ collective knowledge and resources.

women in cannabis
Women from the EmpowerHer Cannabis Society at ICBC in Barcelona. Photo: Pam Chmiel

This article will introduce you to three women who take a collaborative approach to navigating the emerging global cannabis marketplace and helping women entrepreneurs succeed.

Heidi Whitman: England  

heidi whitman
Heidi Whitman


Heidi Whitman, a Global Strategy and Business Development Officer for Swiss Queen GmbH, a CBD company, is one of the founding members of EmpowHer Cannabis Society. The organization currently represents 22 countries and is rapidly growing in membership.

Whitman calls the networking group an experiential education that comes with communicating with other women to learn how to maneuver the nascent industry and have a seat at the table. Members include power player activists, lawyers, investors, scientists, medical professionals, and business leaders willing to elevate women in the industry. Women aren’t afraid to ask for directions or lean on each other. It’s their way to get sh*t done, and it’s these female personality traits that are giving momentum to the group.

Cannabis science education is another component of the organization adds Whitman. They encourage doctors, nurses, and recent graduates to join and learn about the plant’s health potential. 

The cannabis industry also needs female and diverse perspectives, as well as cannabis health-inspired products. The US is already creating products like suppositories, bombs, sexual oils, and mist that we want to bring to the EU, she exclaims.

Whitman also founded and sold Naked Leaf, a CBD product line for pets, and intends to use her background in veterinary health to advance CBD research and product development for pet healthcare.

Kristen Beury: France

kristen and tim beury
Tim and Kristen Beury

Doctors and healthcare professionals around the world are struggling to understand the medicinal benefits of cannabis and how to use it as a treatment. They need more science-based research and education to understand the somewhat recent discovery of the human endocannabinoid system and how the cannabis plant’s compounds positively interact and affect it.

And this is where Kristen Beury steps in. She and her husband, Tim, are spearheading a medical cannabis educational conference called Plant-Based Medicines, which will take place in Bordeaux, France, in October 2024. It will bring together experts in multiple fields of integrative and functional medicine, legal experts, and supply chain resources for the medical community to learn and share knowledge about the health benefits of cannabis.

The Beurys are based in NYC and have been educating and advocating for cannabis medicine in the US for years through their company, Medical Resource Association. They decided to take their expertise and educational program to France, where they have roots, and lean on the women in the EmpowHer Cannabis Society to navigate the European community. And to add a woman’s touch, the event will take place at the vineyard, La Cité du Vin, in Bordeaux.

Lisa Haag: Germany

lisa haag
Lisa Haag

Another founding member of EmpowHer Cannabis Society, Lisa Haag, has always leaned into collaborating with other women to achieve goals. She supports projects that accelerate cannabis medicine, advocates for a fair legal framework, and participates in activities that mainstream cannabis.

As a public advocate for cannabis rights in Germany since 2017, Haag is often seen on stage at B2B events throughout Europe because of her in-depth knowledge of the industry. She publishes Krautunvest, an online B2B magazine that reports on cannabis policies, global news, social justice, scientific medical research, and interviews with industry experts. Her business consulting company, MJ Universe GmbH, helps companies navigate the European cannabis ecosystem through her team of experts.

In addition, her cohort of experts is working on an app for cannabis users in the German market to document their experience with specific products, form factors, or strains that work best for them. The user information will not only help each other identify the right products to target specific symptoms but also be a valuable resource for the research and development of cannabinoid medicine in the future.

Now that Germany has taken the lead in global legalization, Haag is a wealth of information for the members of the EmpowHer Cannabis Society and is willing to educate and share all she knows to make all boats rise.

This women-led grassroots movement is creating a space for female leadership and fostering valuable connections and education across borders. By leveraging their diverse expertise and experiences, these trailblazers are paving the way for a more inclusive and successful future for cannabis in Europe. Their combined efforts ensure that women have a rightful seat at the table and that the industry benefits from a broader range of perspectives and a collaborative spirit.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The author is solely responsible for the content.


Pam Chmiel is a contract marketer, publicist, podcast host, and a published writer specializing in the cannabis industry. She is based in Manhattan, NY.