Women Grow, an organization that aims to serve as a “catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry,” opens its Kootenay chapter in January, in Nelson.

The group has 31 chapters following the legalization of cannabis in Colorado in 2014, with Canadian groups in Vancouver and Toronto.

Kootenay chapter chair Kaleigh Herald said the group aims to strengthen the growing cannabis industry in the region.

“As the prohibition is ending on a national level we’re seeing different industries and cannabis businesses popping up all over Canada and this is a great chance for people to connect and professionalize the industry,” Herald said.

Herald said as the industry is still developing, the chance for women to solidify themselves in the business hierarchy is there, compared to more entrenched industries.

“We have this new industry that’s totally being born so it’s definitely been really cool to see the amount of women that are taking charge,” Herald said.

Herald hopes the new Kootenay chapter will encourage a wider acceptance of the cannabis trade in the area.

“So many people in the Kootenays are used to staying underground and not sharing their info, so they really keep it quiet and keep to themselves,” said Herald. “But there’s so much opportunity here because there’s so many people here that grow, use and manufacture cannabis.”

“We saw this as an opportunity to help break down those walls and those barriers and to get people talking and sharing info more.”

Herald is planning the area’s first Women Grow event for Jan. 7 in Nelson, B.C. at the Hume Hotel.

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