The National Women of Cannabis Conference returns to Las Vegas Dec. 10 for the second year in a row. This one-day event aims to engage, empower and encourage women in the marijuana and hemp industry.

“Our goal is to get women together to empower and encourage them to keep going,” says Annie Epley, the director of operations for Women of Cannabis.

The conference is a “story-geared event,” says Epley, a place where women can tell their story, not just promote and pitch products.

Cannabis entrepreneur Stacy Thompson came up with the idea for this conference because she saw a need for more women to get involved in conversations around cannabis. She strategically decided to center Women of Cannabis around MJBizCon, one of the largest gatherings of cannabis business professionals in the world.

“I started this conference to kick off the week of MJBIZCon with women coming together to support, empower, and encourage each other in the cannabis industry,”  Thompson says. “I wanted women to bond together and go throughout the week with familiar faces and new relationships.”

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This year, Women of Cannabis will be a partner of MJBizCon, which runs from Dec. 11-13. Epley says they will participate in the conference’s Empowering Women in Cannabis Reception on Dec. 11.

The Women of Cannabis Conference will be held at the Eclipse Theater, a venue located near the Arts District in Las Vegas. The daylong event will be filled with networking and educational opportunities. Several women who are leading the way in the cannabis industry will speak, including community activist and designer Ophelia Chong, canna-business leader Stormy Simon, cannabis entrepreneur Frances González, canna-inventor Mila Jansen and CEO and co-founder of InnDica.com Monique Jackson-Fitzgerald.

Along with these five inspirational women, Scarlet Ravin won a speaking slot at the conference through the Women of Cannabis Speaker Contest. The founder and CEO of White Fox, a cannabis and wellness brand, Ravin was selected because her entry video garnered the most views.

“People jumped in to support me. It was so beautiful,” Ravin says. “It felt like a manifestation of all my prayers right now.” In Ravin’s entry video, she talks about plant spirit medicine, the insight that comes from it and how it can help us “activate the life we want.”

“That is the power I bring to the table: Those steps and keys into unlocking the life you want is the gift I want to bring to the National Women in Cannabis Conference,” she says in the video. Ravin heard about the Women of Cannabis conference last year when she attended MJBizCon. Having mentored many young women through her women-run business, she thinks events like this are extremely important.

“It’s so next level to get us all together, to get us sharing our strengths together,” she says. “I think that is what’s going to change the world, when we get women together and understand that we don’t have to be under a man to make things happen.”

As the Women of Cannabis Conference grows, it’s expanding its reach by hosting regional events. The first was in Detroit in spring 2019.

“After our national conference, we talked about a way to get other personalities from other states involved, because all women are different,” Epley says.

They’re aiming to have three regional conferences in mid-2020 in Detroit, Los Angeles and somewhere in Oregon.

“We want to bring women together in their own states with their own personalities to have conversations around marijuana and hemp,” Epley says.

Photographs courtesy of the Women of Cannabis Conference organizers, top image by Jennifer Skog.