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Connecting the Dots into Cannabis

“Plant touching” businesses that have stayed ahead of regulations are getting access to capital and are spreading their operations across cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, brand development, and retail – requiring a massive up-leveling of skill sets.

When the average person thinks or talks about jobs in cannabis, images of large farms with laborers in the fields painting the crops are what initially comes to mind.  If you’ve experienced a clinic or dispensary, perhaps the security guards or sales associates come to mind as well.

If you’re well versed in the industry and were asked about a role that required specialized training, a chemist or botanist for extractions may be the image you see, however there are so many more opportunities that what initially meets the eye.

The Cannabis Industry is actually going through a period of building scale in California and companies need to fill the same departments that you’d find in consumer products, tech, or the services industry.  Couple this with the fact that there is hardly anyone with prior experience in cannabis, and you’ll find that companies are hiring outside the industry to help staff their businesses.

“Plant touching” businesses that have stayed ahead of regulations are getting access to capital and are spreading their operations across cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, brand development, and retail – requiring a massive up-leveling of skill sets.  At the same time, a whole range of ancillary technology and professional services businesses are growing alongside the industry.

For plant touching businesses the most common skill set in demand is related to Finance and Accounting.  Think about it a traditionally COD industry has become hyper regulated overnight where financial statements and compliance are of the utmost importance.  Additionally, access to capital from investors and institutions requires budgeting, forecasting, and FP & A work.

Outside of Finance the cannabis industry is looking for employees that can do Compliance, Operations, Marketing, People Ops / HR, and Sales.  Compliance is necessary because new regulations are coming out at the state level on a quarterly basis that can force a company to pivot its operations substantially.  At the same time there are multiple governing bodies at the state level with often conflicting standards that could all shut operations down. Operations tends to be folks that wear lots of hats:  designing efficient processes in a manufacturing environment, managing workers to be productive, working with vendors, building a supply chain, interfacing with politicians, lobbyists, and financiers.  Marketing in cannabis is usually a combination of brand and packaging development, social media community management, media / community partnerships and thought leadership, and in person activation. People Ops is incredibly important as companies shift to having w2 employees in California within an industry as visible as cannabis.

No matter what it is you have done in your career it is possible to connect the dots into the cannabis industry.  Every job title out there exists in some form. The exciting part is being one of the first specialized professionals shaping what that function looks like when it is done well.