Top Woman-Founded Company: Wana Brands
Nancy Whiteman, co-founder and CEO, Wana Brands
Heralded as “The Queen of Legal Weed” by Inc. and “The Martha Stewart of Edibles” by Entrepreneur, Nancy Whiteman is co-founder and CEO of Wana Brands, a top international cannabis edibles brand already available in more than 3,000 dispensaries across the United States and Canada. She also was awarded the 2023 Green Market Report Women’s Leadership Award for Woman-Founded Brand.
“While our young industry faces formidable headwinds, I know from attending the Green Market Report’s Women’s Summit that we have some of the brightest minds working on the sector’s biggest challenges,” Whiteman said. “I was incredibly honored to be recognized as the recipient of the ‘Woman-Founded Business’ award category.
“I was the lucky one that got to pick up the trophy,” she continued. “However, I want to dedicate this award to the entire Wana Brands team, including our eight-person executive team.”
The former insurance executive co-founded the company in Colorado in 2010. Now Whiteman leads Wana with a majority female executive team that includes women in the positions of COO, CFO, vice president of expansion, and director of corporate social responsibility.
In October 2021, Canopy Growth Corp. purchased the option to acquire Wana Brands in a deal valued at $279 million. It is currently in the process of exercising the option through the creation of Canopy USA, a roll-up of its U.S. assets.
With proceeds from the deal, Whiteman established The Wana Brands Foundation, a $50 million organization working to provide people with the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. Its areas of focus include:
- Research and education
- Food security
- Mental health
- Social justice
To date, the WBF has committed more than $3.8 million to more than 50 nonprofits.
“Since we began Wana Brands in 2010, our mission has been to enhance lives through cannabis,” Whiteman said. “Today, we remain committed to the overall mission, but the formation of the Wana Brands Foundation enables us to dimensionalize what it means to enhance people’s lives and tremendously expands the scope and impact of how we can serve our communities and the world at large. It’s an incredible privilege to be able to give back through the foundation.”
Two examples of the foundation’s largesse are:
- $2 million to Johns Hopkins University to benefit the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in support of cannabis and cannabinoid research, including the potential use of cannabinoids to treat autism.
- $1 million to the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which focuses on how psychedelics affect behavior, mood, cognition, brain function, and biological markers of health.
Green Market Report is thrilled to honor Nancy for all she has contributed to the cannabis industry.