Women Making a Wave in Cannabis
New dispensary owner builds upon work of female pioneers
“We're ready for it,” said Haley Andrew, about opening her new dispensary, Dixon Wellness Collective. At 30 years old, Andrew represents the next wave of California cannabis businesses founded and owned by women.
The Elk Grove resident previously worked in insurance and restaurants, while her husband was a budtender. “I actually talked him out of the industry. With a family, it was too much risk,” said Andrew. “But then Kimberly [Cargile] called, when she was starting A Therapeutic Alternative.” The Andrews both accepted jobs.
Haley was soon bit by “the bug” when the mother of an autistic patient expressed such gratitude for the relief provided. Andrew was inspired by this woman to do her own research on the medicinal qualities of cannabis.
Last year Cargile said to Andrew, “I heard Dixon is opening up their ordinances. Do you want to go for it?” Andrew said yes, and the two became partners in creating what will be the city's first storefront dispensary this spring. “We will have adult use products, but are still gearing towards medicinal, and having that education side,” says Andrew.
To make the economics more attractive, Dixon Wellness will absorb 5 percent of a local 15 percent tax. Andrew worked with the planning commission and city council to alleviate community concerns. To show her personal commitment to the city of 19,000 residents, “our family is moving there,” Andrew said.
According to a 2017 study by MJBizDaily.com, The percentage of women-owned cannabis businesses in California exceeds the national average, 34.5 percent to 26 percent. But Cargile said that number is still low.
“Our industry is like many others in which fully women-owned companies are the minority,” said Cargile, who works with local women to provide new business opportunities and increase their numbers at executive levels.
Although Andrew survived her own encounter with Child Protective Services, she sees great power in a mother's advocacy. “The women who pioneered this industry opened the door,” says Andrew, “so moms like me would not be so scared. There is strength in a mother going to local government saying, 'This helped my child.'”