The Skill Shared by Successful Cannabis Industry Veterans
Cannabis-related companies now employ an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 workers in the U.S., according to a report by Marijuana Business Daily. The cannabis industry is growing, full steam ahead, and providing promising careers for those willing to brave the stigma and work really hard.
After managing a number of teams in the Colorado cannabis industry, it’s clear to me that the work demands a specific attitude and approach not commonly cultivated in workers whose experience lies in other, more established industries. Those who enter the industry without expecting to learn a lot and put in a lot of work rarely succeed and are serious liabilities to their employers. Luckily, most people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in this industry act as ambassadors and stewards of a positive movement, and they take that responsibility very seriously.
Whether you’re starting from the bottom or the top, one trait stands out as indispensable to avoid catastrophic failure in the wild west of weed: adaptability.
Anything cannabis-related is heavily regulated, and those regulations change almost every three months, which forces quick compliance in departments such as packaging and testing. Researchers’ newfound abilities to properly study cannabis leads to a rapid change in the knowledge of the plant. Due to this herbal renaissance, niche products that build their concept on outdated information quickly become obsolete. Also, as the public becomes acquainted with easy access to a variety of recreational and medical cannabis products, trends are constantly fluctuating. Note the growing popularity of vaping and dabbing over the traditional smoking of joints and bongs as an example. Everything cannabis-related is constantly changing due to factors like the regulation, education and the trends of the population. Adaptability to all these changes is crucial at every level of operation.
Learning to use a wide variety of skills was one of the most useful applications of adaptability that I found. In such an infant industry, most companies are run by small teams and require employees to wear many hats. Salespeople must be flexible and learn to be marketers, developers, designers, promoters, and bookkeepers. This creates adaptable teams, and combined with excellent leadership, creates companies that adapt flawlessly when it’s time to update operation procedures due to a regulation change.
Industry veterans will tell you stories of all the changes they have seen over the relatively short amount of time that cannabis has been legalized. From the advent of recreational legalization in Colorado to the upcoming sunset of the medical cannabis program, the cannabis industry will keep changing, and those who stay informed and agile will rise to the top.