by Javier Hasse, Benzinga Editor

March 7, 2023 7:11 AM | 5 min read

During Women’s History Month Benzinga is highlighting some of the top female innovators in the cannabis industry.

In today’s edition, we’re looking into the scientific sector. These experts are driving scientific innovation across the industry, from research and development to decontamination technology, food science, and more.

Here are three of the leading women in the cannabis industry who are shaping the future of the field.

Seng Robertson

Seng Robertson, technical director of cannabis research & development at Boston Beer Company Inc (NYSE:SAM)’s TeaPot, has an extensive background in research, product development, and quality control in the CPG category. She brings this expertise to the cannabis beverage category, where she has played a key role in the successful launch of ready-to-drink, dry tea, and quick-dissolve formats.

Robertson is passionate about crafting consistent, reliable products that provide consumers with new options for cannabis consumption. As the technical director of cannabis research & development at BBCCC, a subsidiary of The Boston Beer Company, Robertson leads the research and product development of cannabis-infused beverages. She was one of the first to join Fluent Beverages, formed by the joint venture between Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) and AB InBev (NYSE:BUD), before joining BBCCC.

Jill Ellsworth

Jill Ellsworth MS, RDN, is the founder and CEO of Willow Industriesthe first cannabis decontamination company in the country. Ellsworth is a visionary with a passion for innovation and a dedication to health.

Before founding Willow Industries, she founded Vibrant Earth Juices (VEJ), a Santa Barbara-based cold-pressed organic juice company. She became passionate about pasteurization techniques and began employing High-Pressure Processing (HPP) to prevent microbial growth and increase the shelf-life and freshness of her juice line. After seeing the lack of health and safety standards in the cannabis industry, Ellsworth transitioned into the legal cannabis industry to share her knowledge of food safety with the emerging market.

Her patented, organic, ozone-based technology, WillowPure, breaks down harmful microbes living on cannabis, without affecting the medicinal properties of the plant. WillowPure systems are being used by cannabis producers and brands in 26 states, Canada, and Australia, through long-term leases, a mobile service in Colorado, and WillowPure Processing centers in CA and MA.

She serves on the Cannabis Health and Safety Advisory Committee for the City of Denver, is a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Cannabis Certification Council, and is an author for a soon-to-be-released ASTM International standard.

Kate Workman

Kate Workman is the kitchen director of research & development (food scientist) at 4Front Ventures Corp 

FFNTF, a national, vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator with operations in strategic medical and adult-use cannabis markets, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington. Workman has over two decades of experience in the food industry, leading product and packaging development projects from concept to market implementation, leading R&D teams, leading long-term product and technology research teams, and governance of patent portfolios.

Workman is responsible for all edible products and product development across the US, covering everything from strategy and conception to development, ingredients, packaging, and supply chain through to manufacturing, sales, and customers/consumers.

Prior to joining 4Front, Workman served as the director of food technology and innovation for Genie Enterprise USA, Inc. She also served as the Global Gum and Candy Patent Manager & Global Gum and Candy Project Portfolio Manager for Mondelez USA (formerly Kraft Foods – renamed Mondelez) and served as both the Global Chocolate Innovation Manager and Global Hydrocolloids and Carbohydrate Manager for Cadbury and Cadbury/Kraft Foods, respectively. Workman has a BSc in Food Science from Reading University (UK).

As these women continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the cannabis industry, their work pavesthe way for a more diverse and inclusive industry. Their achievements serve as an inspiration to other women in the field and showcase the vital role women play in advancing scientific innovation in cannabis.

In a field that has been historically dominated by men, it is important to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women like Seng Robertson, Jill Ellsworth, and Kate Workman. As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, it is essential to have diverse perspectives and experiences to drive innovation and create products that meet the needs of all consumers.