From CBD products to legislation reform, these are the names you need to know.

By: Hannah Baxter

Despite the federal government’s refusal to legalize or regulate marijuana, the cannabis industry has continued to gain traction in a number of different arenas, including fashion, beauty, the media, and more. Every week it seems like there is a new brand touting the benefits of CBD, or if you live in one of the ten states where recreational weed is legal, THC. Stylish websites for the new generation of smokers are popping up everywhere, filled with valuable tips, tricks, and product recommendations. And while It’s no secret that the majority of Americans support some form of legalization, there is still a long way to go before a reasonable solution to the marijuana debate presents itself.

So, who exactly are the people working behind-the-scenes to not only push through legislation reform, but develop innovative (and effective) cannabis products and services? To no one’s surprise and everyone’s delight, there are hundreds of women leading the charge.

To get the lowdown on the state of the industry in New York (especially since weed was decriminalized here in 1977), we spoke with Nancy Udell, a Director of Empire State NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. “New York State has a medical cannabis program, [the] Compassionate Care Act, passed in July, 2014 that is administered by the Department of Health,” she explained via email. “The program allows for people who have qualifying illnesses to obtain cannabis products from a licensed dispensary.” But while this act has made marijuana accessible for a specific group of New Yorkers, there is still a racial disparity when it comes to the incarceration—of men in particular—for recreational use and

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