Culture Fit is no Longer an Issue with the Cannabis Industry

Working with the Black Market is going to be a Thing of the Past

Culture Fit has been thrown around recently as an issue in hiring within the cannabis industry. The current "experts" and long time to fame individuals in the cannabis community were the growers, processors and educators from Jorge Cervantes [x] to Marc Emery [x] that technically participated in an illegal market at their time. The glaring truth is that the black market dealers and quasi legal businesses did pave the way for technology, practices and research.

Who or What is a Cannabis Professional?

Just last week we attended the High Standards Agency [x] talk featuring Yoni Meyer, Partner at Casa Verde. Part way through the talk the concept of culture fit was brought up.

  • "Now culture fit isn't so much an issue anymore, we are bringing professionalism to the industry."

As Meyer was essentially hinting at, there are professionals in their own crafts outside of cannabis now coming in and bringing what they have to the industry. You hear it often with "Ex-Google Employee Opens Cannabis Coffeeshop in Toronto" or "Ex-Amazon leader partners with cannabis pre-roll company". Big names that are suppose to impress those without much industry experience. There is still a place for those experts to bring in their knowledge into teams & workplaces while allowing cannabis professionals in their own right guide the next generation of cannabis businesses beyond 2019. There is often confusion as to what culture fit is. You can read more about the challenges for culture fit at Tech Target. [x]

Not every professional's decision turns out positive. Sometimes even offending the larger cannabis audience.

For now- until the true big businesses can start penetrating the market in 2023 [x] there will still be a demand for those truly passionate for the plant, the industry and community associated with. With growing cannabis we already see "professional" teams who don't understand it totally ruin it. Recently the University of Mississippi failed to provide samples of their government weed free of mold & yeast [x], they even mislabelled potency [x]. How did they think that mixing terpenes and strains would lead to a homogenous result? A difficult conundrum that many struggle to understand, including myself.

Even beyond the actual farming of the plant- not touching the plant at all can lead to some fails.

The Dyanmic Duo that led to Disaster

A personal tale of a flop- at the beginning of the process of hiring a new team of sales representatives for a cannabis distribution network, a sales duo that apparently was highly recommended was enlisted by the company owner. Having experience in Boeing he assured us that he values "professionals" and "experts" of their respective field. A whole week went by with large anticipation, the excitement brewed in the staff. I was not in the office the day of their meeting but by the following round up meeting we learned that the specialized team had absolutely zero clue how cannabis was sold, quantities or even strains. The leader didn't know indica & sativa, she hadn't done any research and tried to give us a premade formula that doesn't apply to the cannabis industry. We moved on from that and kicked it into gear, seeking individuals already with history in the industry- we were recommended from a friend to find the now Director of Sales, an ex-employee of another cannabis tech company.

What is Valuable to You?

Again it is vital to ask yourself what are the most necessary skills you need from your team. [x] There are many careers that do require specialized education such as extraction technicians or laboratory testing specialist. These individuals are who require more than just the knowhow but to an extent specialized educations/degrees on their process.

On the flip side of the coin, careers like chefs, sales teams, budtenders- they can all be taught within a matter of weeks if not hours. They definitely need to have interest in continuous education because there is always more to be exposing yourself to, latest products, newest processes and science behind the product being sold. Now even a new market has emerged featuring classes beneficial for budtenders applying for their licenses, or cannabis cooking classes dedicated to dosage and infusion (we even attended one a few months ago). The resources are available to make yourself as a candidate fit for the position. Looking forward to the wave of universities (like UCLA) looking to teach on the subject of cannabis.

2023 seems like a far away date but in actuality is more tangible as 2018 to 2019 rolls around- moving a lot of businesses not capable of handling the legal recreational market of California out as the big businesses prepare their paperwork to buy out and clear out a portion of the market struggling. Having the appropriate team to push you beyond the initial bubble burst will be necessary.

If you think your product is in need of assistance being pushed to the next level for California Legalization whether it's compliant packaging or branding, please reach out to us here.

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Rebecca is a professional freelance designer and social media marketer. Graduate with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from one of the top 10 public universities in the US.