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Business - Cannabis

‘Mary Janes’ Director Talks Film, Finance, and Puffragette Power

  • Journalist and Director Windy Borman talks about her journey documenting the rise of female leadership in the Cannabis Industry
  • “In 2013, I heard this statistic that women accounted for 36 percent of leadership in the cannabis industry,” Borman said to interviewers at Leafly. “And when you compare that to the national average, well, the national average is 22 percent.”
Director Windy Borman sets up an interview with Dr. Daniela Vergara, an evolutionary biologist who researches cannabis genomics at the University of Colorado. (Photo courtesy of ‘Mary Janes’)

Back in 2014, Windy Borman was no cannabis connoisseur. But she knew a good story when she saw one. A documentary filmmaker with roots in the Pacific Northwest (she spent her teen and college years in Oregon), she moved to Denver in 2014 shortly after Colorado’s first legal cannabis stores opened their doors.

“I just couldn’t ignore it,” she recalled in a recent interview with Leafly. “All the amazing stories I was hearing about women having success in the industry—that piqued my curiosity as a storyteller. But as a non-cannabis user, I didn’t necessarily feel like I had a way to tell that story.”

‘All the amazing stories I was hearing about women in the industry—that piqued my curiosity as a storyteller.’

Borman’s previous films had zero relationship to cannabis. The Eyes of Thailand was about an elephant hospital in southeast Asia. The Big Picture re-framed the discussion about dyslexia.

As she watched Colorado’s cannabis industry grow around her, Borman noticed that, unlike finance, law, or tech, the cannabis industry was rife with budding female entrepreneurs, CEOs, and scientists.

“In 2013, I heard this statistic that women accounted for 36 percent of leadership in the cannabis industry,” she said. “And when you compare that to the national average, well, the national average is 22 percent.”

Director Windy Borman: ‘There are so many women in this industry, we could have just kept filming.’ (Photo courtesy of ‘Mary Janes’)

What Does It Mean?

Seeing an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a fast-growing industry with no glass ceiling in place, women signed up in (relative) droves. That’s when the filmmaker decided on her next project: She would document the leadership of women in a history-making movement.

“I started interviewing people over the phone, just to try to see if that was true,” Borman recalled. “And then also: What did it mean” for women to embrace executive roles in a new industry? What difference did it make? Her research led her to the realization that the more-visible role of women in this industry was leading to gains in gender parity, as well as in areas of social justice and environmental sustainability.

Four years and more than 100 interviews later, Borman is unveiling her documentary, Mary Janes: The Women of the Weed,on the film festival circuit this spring. The movie will be screened on May 15 at the Seattle Art Museum; on May 24 at Banker’s Hill Club in San Diego, and on May 26 at Sacramento’s Crest Theatre.

New Industry, New Values

The documentary serves as part primer for the cannabis curious (how the plant is grown, the difference between hemp and…

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