Women Grow Edmonton plants seeds of entrepreneurship ahead of marijuana legalization

With marijuana legalization on the horizon in Canada, Edmontonians are starting explore ways they can get involved in what could be a multi-billion dollar industry.

The organization invites women to get involved in what could be a massive industry in Canada

Provinces must write legislation to govern how marijuana is distributed and sold, and to set prices. (CBC)

With marijuana legalization on the horizon in Canada, Edmontonians are starting explore ways they can get involved in what could be a multi-billion dollar industry.

Women Grow Edmonton is already looking at how female entrepreneurs, in particular, can get in on the green.

The group launched a month ago, with the goal of starting a conversation on the future of legal cannabis in Edmonton.

But chair Alison McMahon says it's already creating a buzz.

"It's a way for people ... to come together, as well as an opportunity for anyone who wants to get involved with the industry to come have a place that's professional, where we can make connections and start to build that business community around that topic," McMahon said during an interview on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.

With federal legislation to legalize marijuana coming in spring 2017, now's the time to have this discussion, McMahon said.

Cannabis industry remains male dominated, McMahon says

Women make around 80 per cent of healthcare decisions in a family, McMahon said, so they will play a big role when it comes to cannabis consumption.

McMahon said Women Grow Edmonton strives to offer entrepreneurship opportunities in an industry still dominated by men.

The group is the fifth chapter in Edmonton, and they've already hosted a sold-out informative event. Around 100 people came, McMahon said, looking for advice on how to start a business in the cannabis industry and how to find employment in the industry.

This is can be something where we can feel economic growth, we can create jobs, and that's exciting to be a part of.- Alison McMahon, Women Grow Edmonton

Medical marijuana patients saw the event as a way to openly discuss marijuana and connect with other, McMahon said.

Once legalized, marijuana has the potential to become a massive industry in Canada — an exciting prospect in Alberta, McMahon said, where jobs in the oil and gas sector have been slashed in recent months.

During the second year of marijuana legalization in Colorado, the state made a billion dollars just in tax revenue, McMahon said.

"This can be something where we can feel economic growth, we can create jobs, and that's exciting to be a part of," McMahon said.

"There's been that kind of an underground industry with cannabis for a long time, and there's a lot of people that now have an opportunity to take a business that may have been illegal at one point and do this in a completely legal way."