Woman in Hemp: What Leadership Looks Like | Franny's Farmacy

The CBD-Market and Hemp Industry: Right now

As a whole, the CBD market and the Hemp industry is experiencing staggering and rapid growth. As the world has woken up to the potentials of CBD, interests have grown exponentially!

This enterprise is taking the world by storm, and it’s not about to slow down any time soon. 

Google Searches for “CBD” has more than quadrupled since 2017

Hemp has flowered into many wholesome and diverse business opportunities throughout our community: hemp growers, artisans, hemp-processors, and other businesses with “farmer-focused” values are back on the map and thriving!

I mean, One-second we were fighting for legalization, and the next thing you know, we have a full-on “.com” style gold rush on our hands. We all remember the .com boom back in the 90’ s—where the money was flowing, and anyone with an idea could get in on it.

And like then, a similar movement is taking place within the CBD markets. Which has led to an oversaturation of CBD purveyors, some of whom are less than reliable. A recent study found that nearly 70% of CBD retail brands mislabel their products! This study found that 42.85% of tested CBD products were over-labeled (contained less CBD than claimed), while 26.19% were under-labeled (contained more CBD than claimed). 

“As the cannabis industry matures, we need to focus on safety and trust. Powerful education products must be supported by tools that build trust and help people to track their response to formulations.   We need to be especially focused on making sure the first interaction with our industry feels secure and supportive for our clients and patients.”-Dr. Mary Clifton, MD

Fortunately, ‘the investor’ is a touch wiser this time around and can fairly easily discern which organizations are led by passionate, visionary leaders and which ones aren’t.

I see this as a super exciting time for the hemp industry as it evolves into a more mature and stable platform, providing more streamlined services and products for people who need it.


CBD: We are here:

First, let’s look at the natural growth process for any new enterprise that moves with the nature of demand and supply. Public demand creates a space for entrepreneurs to build companies, and investors show up to help them grow. And when the investments don’t bear fruit, it naturally leads to the culling of the market. Basically-Separating the weeds to get to the top crop!


 Which is where we are now, and I’m super excited about it because, as nature would have it, calls for immediate action, and luckily, this time around, were a touch wiser. People are waking up to the fact that it is essential to integrate authentic leadership’s streamlined dynamics into the CBD-Industry. The world at large owns up to the overwhelming evidence of a woman’s potency in a leadership position. Female entrepreneurs are founders and general managers of about 75% of CBD brands out there, a staggering amount! Women in leadership positions are spearheading the whole business end of CBD.

“hemp and the ancillary economies need to be at the forefront of discussions”-Debbie Custer, CEO Coeus Research, Hemp Industry Disruptor, Keynote Speaker, Founder/CEO at Women in Hemp. 

It’s not my first rodeo, and when it comes to business, I ain’t shooting from the hip…

I have seen the Hemp industry up close. I’ve been making moves that have influenced the regulatory climate and learning about the industry dynamics as they shaped alongside the Hemp Industry.


In this TEDx talk, I talk about the obstacles I faced growing a federally illegal crop and how it helped cultivate me into a leader for the ‘Woman in Hemp.” and the industry as a whole.

In 2017 I unknowingly became the first female Hemp farmer In North Carolina after I planted and donated varieties of hemp for food and fiber toward research, which was the first crop of its kind in over 75 years.

 In 2018 I shifted focus toward the hemp varieties grown for cannabinoid production and opened the first Franny’s Farmacy Dispensary in Downtown Asheville NC.

 Front Range Biosciences is global researchers for hemp varieties. Front Range Biosciences is also collaborating with trials being conducted on Franny's Farm and with growers for our brand! Front Range Biosciences is global researchers for hemp varieties. Front Range Biosciences is also collaborating with trials being conducted on Franny's Farm and with growers for our brand!

Front Range Biosciences are global researchers for hemp varieties. Front Range Biosciences is also collaborating with trials being conducted on Franny’s Farm and with growers for our brand!

My experience as the 1st female hemp farmer in North-Carolina and one of the “Pioneering-Planters” of the modern Hemp industry tells me that it’s vital for companies to elect real leaders that will help the Hemp industry move forward.


Leadership In Hemp:

Women have spearheaded this industry since the time of legacy cultivators, and the beginning of regulated markets. With spending power and influence over household decisions, it’s no wonder that women jumped in and took the reins on bringing this plant out of the shadows and into the light of our homes.”-Emerald Magazine.

What does this mean for you, and what makes hemp such a unique and challenging market? Here is what I learned during my last three years on the frontlines of the Hemp industry. From the 2017 legalization in NC to federal the legalization in 2019 and presently-building Franny’s brand on continued growth through time.

For wholesome success, leaders in hemp need to be aware of the complexity of each particular market in their domain and how that affects their decision-making process. There are unique sets of challenges for every state-legal market that range from the licensing structures, consumer demographic, regulatory environments, banking dynamic, government influences, regulatory history, etc. What works for other retail organizations doesn’t necessarily work for the Hemp industry. 

Now I have seen people in leadership positions attempt to navigate through these potential state-snares -without proper know-how of where to take the next step.

And it’s not pretty guys and gals; it can cost businesses precious time, momentum, and capital.

“One step forward, two steps back.”

Unfortunately, when a leader can’t recognize these complicated differences and then attempts to move forward without the fundamental understanding of the regulatory, commercial, and consumer circumstances, more often than not, it ends up forcing these leaders out of the industry altogether.

So again, the basic rules that go into ‘traditional’ business success just don’t apply to hemp- which requires a much sharper, more multidimensional approach.

“ Leadership looks like waking up, growing up, showing up, and shaking it up! Leadership looks like no longer asking men for permission… giving our power away. Leadership is thinking, and both heart-centered and fierce…. it’s partnering with nature instead of fighting nature… building giant networks of smart women and creating the world for our children that we want to see and know is possible.Marty Clemmons, Chair of the Board South East Hemp Association 

Hempire investments- Leadership Qualities To Capitalize On

1st: -Integrity is the first step to true greatness”-Charles Simmons

In the Hemp Industry, integrity is an absolute essential, in any business really, why? Simply because ethical leaders attract business-people want to work for and do business with reliable leaders who mean what they say and say what they mean…

Stephanie Lahart: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”


Right now, the lines between cannabis and hemp are still quite hazy for some.

The lawless history of pre-legal times still shadows cannabis, and hemp often gets thrown under the same bus.

That’s why it’s even more critical that any significant Hemp business’s leadership team is built on a foundation of integrity, reliability, and compliance.

Hemp can only be normalized and accepted if it’s built on trust….


2nd: Empathyis the life force of any good leader, and I found that it applies neatly in two unique ways here at Franny’s Farmacy. 

Firstly, since the 2018 Farm Bill passage, we’ve seen CBD products explode in popularity and retail presence, which meant a massive increase in revenue and operations here on our farm, i.e., stressed staff.

By recognizing the issues of burnout and stress, I have tremendously addressed and reduced this issue. I have shaped Franny’s Farmacy into a more cohesive, unified, and dynamic organization, leading to a supported and understood staff.  

Second, only by truly understanding our community can we create experiences that lead to meaningful connections. The needs and motivations of older folks ordering our CBD products will differ from those of private label businesses interested in selling our white label products or a young person browsing for a recreational product at one of our dispensaries.

Empathy is super crucial for leaders to connect with their community and understand their customers.

Women are rapidly on the come up in the cannabis industry. The Pew Research Center reports that 36% percent of executives in the cannabis industry are women, whereas only 22% of executives in all U.S. businesses are women. Additionally, a study conducted by Marijuana Business Daily  reports that 63% of high-level positions at testing labs are held by women!

Idealistic or pragmatic leadership – What the What?

Conventional leadership thinking recognizes two leading echelons of leadership style.
First, we have ideological leaders that provide the vision of the desired outcome but aren’t majorly concerned with how that vision becomes a reality, a more goal-oriented individual.

Second, we get pragmatic leaders who focus their energy on the process and are more interested in how they will get it done. Although I see both essential leadership qualities necessary at different stages in the development process, the hemp industry needs to look toward more pragmatically orientated leaders.

Innovation- a “Multidimensional Approach.”

And I’m not only talking about cutting edge technology business innovation, writing apps, or creating a technical solution for an industry problem.
I am also talking about looking at a problem in a new way and finding a unique approach to an existing issue.  Leaders need to adopt a sharper, more multidimensional approach. 

The Hemp industry is notoriously volatile, changing on a yearly, monthly, sometimes even daily basis. Rules and regulations shift, a global pandemic can turn business on its head, and consumer behavior or perceptions can dramatically change. It takes an innovative leader to find the right approach for each situation. 

So the industry and community are maturing, and hemp is evolving ever so beautifully!
I’m super excited to be part of the leadership community. I am grateful to collaborate with genuine and authentic leadership, which I believe will ensure excellent outcomes for this unique and beautiful industry.

“ I advocate for hemp because it is the plant of hope, health, and prosperity. As we move into the growth of fiber and food we will five the earth a chance to regenerate and the economy to thrive. Hemp has the potential and opportunity to help our society and planet become more sustainable and operate at a higher consciousness. “
-Cait Curley, CEO, Content Creator, Educator, Advocate

Investing In Authenticity:

Here at Franny’s Farmacy, we meet every business opportunity with vigor and vitality, functioning at the core level with the highest and best intentions!

With me at the wheel, alongside our team of specialists, you can be confident that we will keep achieving incredible success in the CBD and Hemp industry. We’re confident in our brand and products’ future and hope you will join us on this incredible journey and help support our vision of growth and prosperity!

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