Fast Five Q&A: Annu Khot, Founder of Socíale Dispensary

fast five q&a annu khot

Being a woman in cannabis is not always easy. From a lack of studies on females and the plant to a serious shortage of products crafted with women in mind, there are many parts of the industry that fall short.

Annu Khot understands these challenges firsthand. As the first female cannabis license holder in the uber-competitive state of Illinois, Khot recognizes the need for an emphasis on wellness, education, and social equity in the space. Her dispensary Socíale provides a supportive, nurturing, and empowering environment to guide customers through their entire cannabis journey.

Khot answered GreenState’s five fast questions, sharing her deeply personal story of healing through plant medicine, how her experience shaped the future of Socíale, and the advice she has for fellow women of color in cannabis.

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GreenState: How did your journey with cannabis begin?

Annu Khot: My journey with cannabis unexpectedly began over a decade ago. I suffered a number of miscarriages before the birth of my now ten-year-old son and turned to cannabis as a way to cope with the physical and emotional pain. The plant had such an impact on my well-being that I immediately knew I wanted to make a career in the space.

GS: What are your go-to methods of consumption?

AK: I’ve always been a fan of edibles! A foodie at heart, combining cannabis and delicious treats is truly a beautiful thing.

GS: How did cannabis help you through trying times in your life?

AK: Cannabis enabled me to let go of the negative mindset I had around my fertility–and allowed me to enter a more relaxed state. In addition, cannabis has helped me unwind and deal with the everyday stresses of being a working parent, wife, and caregiver to my aging parents.

GS: Socíale is all about safe and inclusive access to cannabis. What does that look like, and why does it matter?

AK: The cannabis industry proudly preaches inclusivity and access. However, these promises do not come to fruition for many hard-working employees part of the cannabis value chain from the very start–growers, packers, budtenders, and more. 

At Socíale, we have committed to driving our employees’ financial success as we achieve the same. In addition, we will take every opportunity to advocate for cannabis social justice and the continued pardons of those imprisoned for cannabis crimes. 40,000 people remain imprisoned in the U.S. today for non-violent cannabis crimes. That’s 40,000 too many!

GS: How did it feel to be the first female license holder in Illinois, and what advice do you have for your fellow women of color in cannabis?

AK: I was so humbled to learn that I was the first female social equity holder in Illinois to open a dispensary–which only encourages me to further advocate for fellow women of color in cannabis. 

This industry continues to be male-dominated, and you have to get comfortable with the word ‘no.’ Federal regulations make it difficult to secure capital and openly promote on social media, but often, you only need one ‘yes’ to push your goal forward. Focus on the number of ‘yeses’ you’ve already received–not the number of ‘nos’ ahead.

Annu Khot is an award-winning Founder-Managing Partner who is transforming the cannabis industry to foster greater inclusivity and benefits for all. Driven by a commitment to acknowledge, value, and empower every individual, Khot is on a mission to bridge societal divides, create economic opportunities for underrepresented communities, and enhance well-being. In 2019, she founded Socíale Dispensary, a social equity business exclusively offering products from female and minority-owned operations. Her leadership has earned her an invitation to the exclusive Forbes Business Council. Subsequently, she was recognized as one of the Top 50 Women Leaders of Illinois for 2023 and received the distinguished Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Award.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter