Equity, Incentive, and Performance based Compensation in Cannabis

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Dan Walter, Managing Consultant at BlueFire Cannabis by FutureSense sat down with David Belsky of FlowerHire to discuss the current state of compensation in cannabis. Dan has extensive experience working with Executives and Board members in the Cannabis industry to design Equity, Incentive, and Performance Compensation plans that work. This informative webinar provides real-world ideas and solutions to help attract, engage, motivate, and retain valuable staff even as business plans adjust and event horizons extend. The conversation explores what’s needed to assess, correct, and improve a company’s pay for performance programs during volatile times.

Dan and Dave begin by discussing the pros and cons of equity-based incentive plans. Dan refers to them as a dessert topping and a floor wax. While the plan can be used as a retention tool, wealth creation for employees to take part in, and an incentive tool, it’s unlikely that one program for a company will do all those things effectively.

David then asks about the major challenges of designing an equity plan for cannabis since it is an industry unlike any others. Dan comments that cannabis is not an industry. It is an industry of industries. “You’re plan must reflect the sub-industry you are in and you must compare your plan to companies in your sub-industry. There is no other industry that currently exists that acts like cannabis.” 

Dan emphasizes that one of the most important pieces of the plans is to make sure it is back with education, communication, and belief. You need to understand how the program works yourself first at the HR and Executive level. These levels need to be educated on what is the reality and intent of your program and make sure everyone who leads in the company is educated on this as well. Likewise the program should be talked about consistently at least every quarter. Finally, the CEO and top leaders need to believe in this program themselves. There is nothing behind the program if there is no faith in the programs. This ensures that your employees value the process and the product.

Dan then leads a discussion on wealth creation by explaining profit-sharing programs in two ways: 

  1. Synthetic divine program – a cash program that pays out based on the companies equity 
  2. Profit functionality – letting employees cash out or hold on to equity after the company hits a goal.

Dan and David continue to discuss more on this topic such as fantom equity, equity program for nonemployees, and much more.