WTF?! And Just When You Thought Women Were Welcome Here

An uproar took place online following #MJBizCon in Vegas this past week. At an after party, Altai Brands apparently went culturally tone deaf when they covered a woman in deli meats and served her up on the appetizer table. Comments ranged from shock to outrage in social media with calls to boycott the male-led company.

A subsequent Facebook post from Ophelia Chong, founder of Stock Pot Images and champion of women in the cannabis industry, led to a long and growing list of women-owned canna companies for people to support. Stay tuned for our post about these and other companies founded or run by females.

(Photo above found on social media)


Clearly people are outraged by the objectifying display at a business conference.

Here were the most recent comments on the offending company’s Instagram post that solely featured the cheese plates and not the near-naked woman:

This ignorant and tasteless display contributes to making women feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in an emerging industry where opportunities should be open to all. Men, too, are being vocal about their disappointment and even outrage at the sexist display.

In this day and age, and at this stage of the cannabis industry where we are all working hard to normalize cannabis and legitimize cannabis businesses, it is beyond unacceptable that any company would revert to imagery objectifying women and offending key players in this emerging industry.


Cannabis is not the first industry to objectify women to ostensibly reach a male audience – and receive backlash both online and off. Back in 1999, Palm Pilot launched an ad campaign featuring a naked woman holding one of the company’s PDAs.

I was quoted in an SFGate article at the time saying how disappointed I was by the ad and how it showed that “when it comes to technology, women are simply adornments.”

Women are not simply adornments in the cannabis industry. We are business owners, executives, venture capitalists and angel investors. We are educated consumers who can speak loudly with our pocketbooks.

The irony of the lack of taste Altai Brands exhibited and the obvious slight to women is that, as an edibles company, women are poised to be the lion share of their customer base. However, not if they continue to objectify women moving forward.

What do you think of what this company did at #MJBizCon? How can we work together to make sure the cannabis industry is more inclusive and culturally sensitive?

UPDATE: Altai Brands posted the following in response to the comments…

Thank you so much for taking the time to raise your concerns with us, we appreciate it. Please see the statement below that we have provided on behalf of the recent posts:

Altai Brands sincerely regrets a poor decision we made during a private event in Las Vegas by having a professional model act as a physical server for charcuterie. It did not demonstrate the respect that we have for all women.

We pride ourselves on representing California cannabis culture at its finest and we are committed to maintaining a community that recognizes and values the inherent dignity of every person, by fostering sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect of our customers, employees and partners.

The team at Altai is dedicated to making sure that all future events meet our high standards that reflect the core values we live each and every day. Again, we would like to apologize to the community and hope to demonstrate our firm dedication to respectful treatment of all to assure everyone this will never happen again.

Warm Regards, Altai Brands Team

2nd Update

Ophelia Chong received a call from Rob Weakley, CEO of Altai Brands.

Per Ophelia:

“He accepted full responsibility for the choice of using a woman as a serving platter. This is how all industries should communicate. With this, I believe that we are all better people, companies and consumers. The glass is half full. We take that, and we look at how we can be better and be better to each other. Thank you to all the warrior women that stood together and said ‘No.’ … Thank you, Altai, for owning this and taking responsibility.”

3rd Update

Is anyone who is talking about “Meatgate” remembering the financial escapades of Altai CEO Rob Weakley.?

An Investor Is Suing A California Edible Pot Company For Fraud

Rob Weakley sued for fraud related to medicinal marijuana outfit Altai.

And the plot thickens…


12 Comments Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s