Weed is about to become the first billion dollar industry not dominated by men. Suck it, oil and gas!

Life is hard when you don't have a penis.

You get paid less in most industries, you're expected to adhere to limiting gender roles, old white men who've never met you legislate control over your body, and you're systematically shamed for things men do to you, like rape or domestic violence.

However, there's one place where gender equality and equal treatment of women seems to be not only prioritized, but flourishing.

Ladies and gentlemen; meet legal marijuana, the country's most female-friendly industry.

Businesswomen and female entrepreneurs in states like Colorado are launching successful weed-centric companies that are helping them circumvent the pervasive glass ceilings some say prevent them from attaining status and satisfaction in other industries.

In the years since legalization in Colorado and Washington, women have become a significant driving force in the growth of the marijuana industry. As one magazine cover announced, “Legal marijuana could be the first billion-dollar industry not dominated by men.”

The numbers seem to support that theory. According to Marijuana Business Daily, women make up about 36 percent of top execs and senior offices in the weed industry, compared to about 22 percent in others. At S&P 500 companies, the ladies hold just 4.2 percent of the CEO positions, and at tech companies like Google and Twitter, only a baby handful of engineers are women.

If you take a stroll around the Internet, you'll see that the top female-run industries are things like interior design, accounting, education and food and beverage; all things that place women in traditional gender roles. The only industry in which women have nearly caught up to men seems to be medicine, where 41 percent of doctors are now female. However, even there, there are gender imbalances; male doctors still earn an average of 24 percent more than females do.

Given that context and those options, weed seems like a pretty exciting (and profitable) alternative for women looking to break out of the cycle of workplace inequality.

So, what's different about the cannabis world that allows them to do that?

Simply put, there are no rules in weed right now. Because it's such a nascent industry, gender roles and institutionalized sexism haven't quite had the opportunity to insidiously creep in, and the result is that there is no ceiling for female entrepreneurs looking to get into the weed game. The playing field is just about equal.

“It’s not often that entire industries are born,” Crystal Huish, a certified public accountant with an M.B.A. in accounting tells The Atlantic. Huish owns Count Cannabis, an accounting company that caters to the marijuana industry. "With cannabis companies, business models aren’t set yet," Huish said. “It’s an opportunity to break old traditions.”

This is being facilitated in part by organizations like Women Grow. Launched in 2014, the group aims to help women “influence and succeed in” the legal weed market as more states adopt legalization procedures. Women Grow pushes its members to enter the market early, so they have as much of a say as men do about how the industry develops, evolves, and is run. In the years since legalization, its membership has ballooned to more than 30 chapters across the country as women interested in getting their foot in the door are increasingly given the opportunity to do so.

Women entering the marijuana market also have an advantage over men when it comes to creating market openings and strategies that men have overlooked … marketing strategies like cannabis massage.

Jordan Person does just that with her own weed-infused massage therapy company, Primal Therapeutics. Person told The Atlantic she "wasn’t expecting to be the self-described 'grandmother of cannabis massage,' but since no one had ever thought to start a company quite like hers, she enjoyed complete control over the market. Without competition, her business exploded and since and there was no one else to look to for guidance, people to started coming to her in search of advice on how to start similar ventures.

In addition to reefer rubdowns, Person also serves as the executive director Denver NORML, a national advocacy group pushing for marijuana legalization. Most of the chapter’s officers are women, Person says.

Another brilliant female marijuana idea untapped by male brains? Selling weed via the Mary Kay business model.

“I think it’s a chance for women to make the rules,” says Becca Foster, an independent consultant with Healthy Headie, an in-home cannabis shop that goes by the tagline “the Mary Kay of Mary J.” It's currently the only in-home, direct sales company for those with a taste for pot.

After all, the weed industry offers much more flexibility and potential for creative business models than something like finance. Because of that, there are fewer glass ceilings since, as Foster says, everyone is “figuring it out simultaneously.”

Additionally, women's shared experience in male-dominated fields where they experienced gender discrimination tends to make them more supportive of each other. That support is a huge deal in a profitable new market, where cutthroat practices and ruthless businessmen have traditionally tended to dominate. Instead of worrying that their competition will tear them down and shred them to bits, female industry leaders are finding that their lady peers are interested in helping them achieve their goals, not hindering their success for their own gain.

“The conversations that I have with executives of companies that are women are a lot easier than the conversations that I have with men,” says Kendal Norris, who runs a company that puts on fancy pot parties. “And I think that might be for a couple of reasons, one of which is, it sort of goes back to that thing from Madeleine Albright, that there’s a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.”

It's not just the support, innovative business models or the uncharted territory of a new industry that's helping women succeed in weed though. More than anything, it's the fact that only those with good business plans have survived. While making a profit obviously appeals to both male and female entrepreneurs alike, none of that matters if your business doesn't have a leg to stand on. It just so happens that many of the weed businesses that do are fronted by women. 

Plus, there's no doubt that the people who support legalization and the accompanying weed industry tend to lean a little liberal politically. Although there are definitely conservatives who support legalized marijuana, liberals still tend to make up the vast majority of the movement to do so. According to a survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 70 percent of Democrats support legal weed, while only 47 percent of Republicans feel the same.

These liberals are also more likely to support gender equality and hold beliefs that necessarily allow for women's upward mobility. They're also more likely to support legislation that empowers women with the right to chose what happens to their bodies; pro-choice and pro-Planned Parenthood movements are both heavily rooted on the left. There's no empirical evidence for this, but we're just taking a wild gander that this means men in the marijuana business could be less likely to subject their female employees and coworkers to gendered glass ceilings and unequal pay. It could be that marijuana men are as interested as women in creating a more progressive, welcoming industry. Maybe the lefties just don't mind having a woman boss them around.

“I think that definitely does prove something,” says Heidi Keyes, who runs a cannabis-friendly art program called Puff, Pass, and Paint. “To be a part of this industry, as a woman, it’s really rewarding. It’s an exciting time.”