Celebrating International Women’s Day with Shanel Lindsay of Ardent CannabisMarch is International Women's Month. As we contemplated women working in the cannabis sector, the very first person we wanted to connect with was Shanel Lindsay, Founder & CEO of Ardent Cannabis.
Ardent Cannabis is a Boston-based biotech and medical cannabis device company, most famous for developing a laboratory-grade precision decarboxylator for medical cannabis patients. The Ardent Nova (and now the FX) helps consumers perfect and refine the decarboxylation process to deliver consistent results every time.
In the latest episode of the Cannabis Tech podcast, Lindsay shares her journey as the female founder of a cannabis company. She shares the challenges of navigating such an explosive sector with us and the opportunities for women in this space today.
A Journey to Achieving Consistency, Precision, and Discretion
As so many businesses came about in the early days of legal cannabis, Ardent came out of necessity. Twenty years ago, Lindsay struggled to manage the pain and inflammation related to lingering medical conditions following her son's birth.
Although prescribed pharmaceuticals, she was wary. Medical cannabis was still very much taboo in Boston, Massachusetts, at the time, but she had heard about what was happening in California. Soon, she was tinkering with flower and edibles and finally experiencing real relief.
But Lindsay began thinking beyond her own medicine, about the genuine issues patients faced producing their own medicine, especially in states with no legalization. As a lawyer herself, she understood the severe repercussions that medical cannabis patients were facing all across the country.
Then, Lindsay herself was arrested for cannabis possession. In her words, it was a "moment that all of that was going to be taken away because I had less than the decriminalized amount here in MA." As she told Cannabis Tech, "That was a real turning point."
Soon, Lindsay found herself building real solutions for medical cannabis patients that solved many issues at once: discretion, consistency, and dosing. In 2015, she launched Ardent, a small electronic device using advanced thermal engineering to ensure consistent decarboxylation for a predictable dose.
Women in Cannabis: Experience from the Inside
As per a Marijuana Business Daily (MBD) report from 2019, women held 37 percent of senior-level jobs at cannabis companies, while the national average was 21 percent. The cannabis sector has more female executives than most other industries, but the tide is turning.
During the initial infancy of this industry, it was easier for women to break into it. But now, as the markets mature and there is big money to be had, mergers and acquisitions are forcing women out.
As Lindsay explained, "The more developed the industry, the more developed big money in the industry is. Traditionally, big money isn't about female-forward opportunities." As competition increases, companies seek to fill senior roles with extensive experience and connections, which usually means men.
According to Eli McVey for MBD, "The money and resources companies need to survive and expand often comes from private capital markets, such as family investment offices and venture capital firms – a largely male-dominated industry."
Lindsay can attest to the difficult nature of raising money as a female-led cannabis business, as it's something Ardent has had to overcome. Lindsay revealed, "There have been some hardships along the way, but they have turned out to be things that have been important growth and development." She is worried about the many women-run cannabis companies that face these barriers and never get off the ground.
But that doesn't mean women can't make it. Lindsay holds that there is still "so much opportunity to make an impact." The entire industry is still underserved, especially female consumers.
No matter the background, there is a need and a cannabis company that needs that support. Lindsay explains, "Women-led brands are universal brands, but we bring a certain panache, style, and viewpoint to the industry."
What's Next for Ardent in 2021?
Ardent launched their second device, the Ardent FX, in 2020—a larger, all-in-one device that levels up the potential of the original countertop decarboxylator. Coined the "Easy-Bake Oven of Cannabis," this magnificent device not only decarbs your flower, you can even use it to make cannabis treats without firing up the oven!
Tune in to the podcast to learn more from Lindsay on what went into the new design and how it is once again simplifying edible production for the at-home consumer. We also get intel on where Ardent is headed in 2021, plus her insider's scoop on what the future holds for women in the cannabis industry.
Interested in trying out the Ardent Nova or the new Ardent FX for yourself? Order one now from the new Cannabis Tech Marketplace.
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