How to Get into the Cannabis Industry: 7 Mistakes to Avoid

The Cannabis industry is finding its way through a maze of changing regulations and technology. Being a fairly new industry means having to frequently adjust as the market expands. If you are looking at how to get into the cannabis industry as a business owner or worker, some things will help rather than hinder you. Understanding the market and how to avoid the pitfalls of the growing cannabis industry is important.

1. Misunderstanding or Being Unknowledgeable about the Terminology

You wouldn’t build a company or enter an industry without some knowledge of it. Going in blind is detrimental no matter what level you are getting in on. With the legality of both recreational and medicinal marijuana expanding throughout North America, you need to understand what every part of the industry entails, especially the difference between recreational and medical marijuana. Medical needs a doctor’s prescription to treat cancer, glaucoma, or HIV/AIDS, just to name a few. Recreational is self-monitored and no doctor’s involvement is needed. It does not have to be used for medicinal reasons. Not knowing these definitions along with other relevant cannabis terms is a big mistake as you enter the market.

2. Do Not Break the Law

One of the biggest mistakes you can avoid is breaking the law and ending up with a criminal record. The marijuana industry is one where background checks, past convictions, and current legal issues all play into the regulatory process. If you have legal issues, starting a company or getting a job in this industry is going to be harder. Felony convictions are more problematic than misdemeanors but working in any licensed cannabis facility means your background should not be riddled with legal issues. Some places even do background checks on spouses of those entering the industry. Regulation of the legal marijuana industry is tight and you do not want to make the mistake of breaking the law and excluding yourself from working in the industry.  It is essential to hire a cannabis lawyer. A good attorney specializing in the cannabis industry will protect you, your business and most importantly, your investments.

3. Inflexibility

Different governments classify marijuana in various ways. Canada has dealt with it nationally while the US is going state by state. The US still classifies marijuana as illegal at the federal level so there is a lot of uncertainty on how the industry is going to act and react. The US still says marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug like heroin and state it has the potential to be abused and no medical value. That said, we all know that this interpretation of the drug is being challenged by science and the societal value it now holds. Governmental changes and cannabis laws could happen at any time depending on who is in office.  Right now, the DOJ can not interfere in state programs but that can change at any time. As the cannabis laws adjust and change, you have to make sure the marijuana business you are with or running is flexible enough to meet those adjustments. Inflexibility stalls any potential growth and is a big mistake when entering the cannabis industry.

4. Lack of Mobility

Lack of Mobility

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is digging your heels in and refusing to move where the cannabis industry is strong. The industry is ever-expanding and changing as new states come on board with both medically and recreational availability. As things change and marijuana laws adapt, starting or expanding cannabis companies or applying to work at one becomes easier if you are mobile and not locked into one area. You reduce your chances of success if you are unwilling or unable to move. The market for cannabis is competitive and many companies are searching for employees. If you have the experience, a worker’s badge for certain states, or a good business background, there are a lot of job opportunities out there if you’re willing to move.

5. Underestimating Your Worth

Money that flows through the marijuana industry allows for a wide range of salaries. If you want to join the industry, you need to gauge what your knowledge and experience are worth. So many people underestimate what they should be paid. Dispensaries, jobs in cultivation, production, marketing, and executives are all new areas so make sure to research what your background and job description should entail and what the appropriate pay is. While you don’t want to price yourself out of the market, you don’t want to make the mistake of not getting paid what you’re worth.

6. Don’t Jump into the Market Just Because it’s the Hot Trend

Whether you are looking to invest, build, or join the marijuana industry, don’t make the mistake of jumping in if you are only doing it because it sounds like it’s the next big thing. If you are not interested, passionate, and suited to it, you are wasting your time and money. This is a newer industry that is constantly changing and if change is not your strong suit then you may be heading into the wrong area. Don’t make the mistake of buying into the trend if it is not for you.

7. Don’t Believe Everyone is an Actual Expert

The industry is fairly new so do your research. People who say they are experts may not be. You are making a big mistake if you simply believe people who espouse to know everything. Make sure those experts aren’t just people growing plants in their basement. Check backgrounds, ask for references, and make sure the company you create or work for is stable and well versed in the industry.

Final Thoughts

When you are looking at how to get into the cannabis industry, you shouldn’t just jump feet first without doing some serious work on the details. You can make some huge and costly mistakes if you don’t go into it with your eyes wide open. Be aware of what is good and what is problematic in the industry. If you know the things that can trip you up, you will make smarter decisions for your career and company.

Olivia Solero

Olivia Solero is the Co-founder of Cannabis Stack. Olivia has an unusual blend of creative thinking and the ability to put that thinking into effect. She likes to write; loves to edit; she knows how to lead, follow or get out of the way; she is good with a buck and wicked smart when it comes to data.


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