Challenges Facing Employers in the Cannabis Industry

The usual challenges of running a business can be difficult. Hiring, retaining, and firing are some of the most challenging. Still, most industries have solutions in common that work across the board. But what about industries that differ from the usual mix, or even outliers, such as the cannabis industry?

For most of its existence in the US, the cannabis industry has had a difficult time. Much of that has come from the puritanical attitude towards cannabis as a recreational drug. Despite that, there is a legal, legitimate cannabis industry in the US, including cultivators and producers, distributors, researchers, and regulatory agencies.

The cannabis industry in the US may benefit from significant growth in the near future. In 2018, Canada legalized private sales of recreational marijuana. The US following suit would mean a rapid growth in business, but would also mean the industry would have to find employees to keep up with the demand.

What Kinds of Employees Work in the Cannabis Industry?

Hiring people to work in the cannabis industry will have some challenges. The number of people working legally in the cannabis business is relatively small compared to the tobacco or alcohol industries. Expanding to anywhere near the size of those businesses will require huge numbers of workers.

Unlike other industries, there are no training or academic programs to produce people certified to do the work. Yes, there are people with experience, but could you hire them? Many are likely to be those who have worked “under the radar” of law enforcement. A business owner in the cannabis industry must ask if he or she would you hire from that pool of potential workers and how he or she would go about doing so.

How Do You Judge a Potential Employee?

The usual seals of approval for employees, like university degrees or training program certificates, aren’t available for most work with cannabis. As someone hiring staff, you probably won’t be able to get a resume with a work history, either. Whether or not you’ll be able to receive references is also in question.

As an employer, you could be in the situation where you need to concentrate on an applicant’s “soft skills” or people skills. In this case, you’ll consider how well applicants will fit in with you and your team. Whether or not they are self-motivated and figure things out for themselves is also likely to be a deciding factor in lieu of more traditional criteria, such as certificates and references.

How Will You Foster Employee Loyalty?

Just by the nature of the cannabis industry, you’re going to have employees cut from a different cloth. It’s worth considering whether or not the usual employee benefits will be enough? They may not even be appropriate.

Your future employees may be used to a very fluid work environment. They are likely to be less happy in a factory-style or rigidly-defined position.

Besides the work environment, cannabis industry workers are likely to be very computer savvy. They’ll expect a high degree of control over their benefits, including real-time information.

How Will You Adapt?

You’ll need to grow with your employees. But, don’t let them dictate to you. Adapt to their needs, while still running your business properly. It’s a brave new world, but with the right attitude and the right support, there’s no need for you or your business to be left behind by the cannabis industry.