These are very uncertain times, and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight. The recent reversal of the Cole Memorandum by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has thrown a monkey wrench into the industry. At this point there is a tremendous amount of concern and confusion among Cannabis businesses that have been compliant, legal and diligently following state laws. Sessions’ actions will allow U.S. attorneys nationwide to determine the level of federal resources to devote to marijuana enforcement based on what they see as priorities in their districts. How that plays out is anyone’s guess.
There is most certainly a great deal of momentum driving the Cannabis industry forward. In 2017 the state of Oregon alone employed more than 20,000 people and generated nearly $450 million in sales. California, having just legalized the recreational use of Cannabis this year, is expected to generate well over $1 billion in revenues in 2018. These are numbers that state legislators cannot ignore.
While recent events have injected a large dose of caution into an already cautious industry, there has been a tremendous amount of time and money invested with the expectation that Cannabis is the next big thing. These conglomerates and the investors they represent are not going to simply disappear. The industry will continue to grow and gain acceptance, and companies will continue to hire talented individuals.
Finding the top talent in the Cannabis industry will continue to be crucial in 2018 and beyond. In fact, given this new level of uncertainty I believe it’s more important than ever before, and partnering up with an experienced Recruiter could be the difference between success and failure for many small and mid-sized Cannabis companies.
Why do I say this? Think about it. Hiring and retaining top talent in ANY industry is an issue most companies face. Hiring and retaining talent in the Cannabis industry has been more of a challenge as many potential candidates – more often than not, those at the more senior levels – maintain a very covert presence on LinkedIn and other social media for fear of the stigma associated with Cannabis. In fact, much of the hiring taking place – at least in many “inner circle” positions – is simply the hiring of friends. These friends – while trusted advisers – may or may not be as familiar with the rules and regulations of the industry. In addition, they may not have the network or level of sophistication necessary to get the company where it needs to be over the next 6-12 months and beyond.
I’ve found this to be particularly true of small to mid-sized grow operations and dispensaries. Many of these companies don’t have the deep pockets, legal teams or organizational sophistication of the large, multi-million dollar operations, and this makes them particularly vulnerable to the type of roadblocks our current administration seems dead set on continuing.
To sum it up, these are most certainly uncertain times and a great deal of caution is required moving forward, but caution doesn’t mean going into hiding. There is still a great deal of optimism and momentum within the Cannabis industry, and enlisting the help of experts – and recruiters who’ve made a career of finding these experts – has become more necessary than ever for the mid and senior levels of an organization. I’ll go into the reasons why this is, and how to properly partner with and utilize recruiters, in next months’ installment. Until then, I wish you much continued success.