This summer, Amsterdam’s Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum presents We are Mary Jane: Women of Cannabis – an exhibition which explores the role of women in the world of cannabis. On June 7th, Dutch House of Representatives member Vera Bergkamp (D66) will open the exhibition. Bergkamp was the driving force behind the new Dutch ‘Weedlaw’, a groundbreaking initiative to fully legalize the cannabis production, sale and consumption. From prehistoric times to the present day, the Museum pays tribute to the often overlooked female contribution in the history of the world’s most versatile plant.
In recent years, the legal cannabis industry in the USA has become a multibillion dollar venture. Estimates are that marijuana sales will rise to tens of billions in 2021. Today, women hold a greater share of executive positions in the cannabis industry than in all other U.S. industries combined. This will increase as the industry grows and develops, which raises the question: at the dawn of cannabis legalization in different parts of the world, will women lead the cannabis industry into a new era?
A new image for weed
For a long time, the cannabis business has been male-dominated and its products primarily aimed at a male audience. Now, women from diverse backgrounds are closing the gender gap and shaping this relatively new field. The business is gaining a brand-new image. Cannabis offers a wide variety of fields to explore: from recreation to medicine, from ecological sustainability to human health and wellbeing, from legal and financial to marketing.
“I want every woman to know that there’s a place for you in this industry, and there will never be a better time to find it” – Jane West, founder of Women Grow in 2017.
A tribute to female pioneers
This exhibition features medical marihuana products for women from Whoopi and Maya, a company co-founded by Whoopi Goldberg, artfully designed pipes from Stonedware and durable hemp clothing by Dutch fashion label Studio Jux. In the past, a huge part of the cultivation and processing of hemp crops was performed by large numbers of women, as depicted in a watercolour by famous artist Piet Mondriaan. The ancient Chinese venerated a hemp Goddess by the name of Ma Gu (hemp maiden).
In modern times, Mila Jansen established a precursor of the coffeeshops in Amsterdam, while in the US Mary Rathbun, AKA “Brownie Mary”, pioneered medicinal cannabis by providing HIV patients with her magical brownies. In cooperation with photographer Maria Cavali the museum presents “1042 – We Are Mary Jane”: a series of photos of female cannabis consumers as an ode to the diversity of the Amsterdam cannabis culture.
“We are Mary Jane” highlights the extraordinary women who have shaped the modern cannabis world, and shows how women are advancing the industry today.
WE ARE MARY JANE: Women of Cannabis
8 June to 23 September 2018
Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, Oudezijds Achterburgwal 130