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Top 5 Qualifications to Succeed as a Cannabis Employee

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard the latest news about big cannabis firms laying off employees from entry level to C-Level, no one is safe. While this has many of the pontificators “worrying” about the state of the future for Cannabis, insiders have seen this coming for the last couple years.

The marijuana industry took off, much like the dot com businesses of the early 2000’s. And without skipping a beat, the cannabis business owners, followed the exact same pattern of overspending and saw the exact same results – failure! But thanks to that dot com industry we have easy access to critiques and reviews for any business we want, good or bad. Business owners spend a great deal of money to open their businesses and are doing everything they can to succeed. Do we want to be the employee who has 5-Star reviews and makes our business shine bright or the employee that never gets mentioned or worse, mentioned with a 1-Star?

What do you need to do to be the best team member you can be?

1) AUTONOMY – If you want it, you will need to work hard to make it happen. You will need to put in the effort and the hours and no one is going to hold your hand. It’s all on you. This starts in the application process. If you don’t follow directions to apply- the business owner is not going to look past that. Instead, the assumption is you won’t follow directions, once you get the job and that’s a reg flag for cannabis business owners. This will really matter, once you get the job. Everyone needs and receives extra training at the beginning but it’s those that listen, follow directions and do everything right, that shine. Managers have a million things on their plates at the same time and don’t have time to micromanage you every minute of the day. If you want to be the next manager, you will need to micromanage yourself. Once the “honeymoon” period of your job is over, you need to step up. You know your schedule and you know your responsibilities so the expectation is that you get in and be the best at your job.

2) TRAINING/EXPERIENCE – to be considered the best – you need to prove it. Entry level folks all start out the same way. First, they take the first step towards their new career and get themselves some training. There are so many aspects to this industry that business owners want employees who are assets when they walk in the door, not liabilities. HempStaff created it’s original Dispensary Agent Training Certification class to help those individuals who are just starting out to get a leg up when it comes to their resumes. this class not only gives you an overview but helps you create your cover letter and resume for the jobs you want. Once you get in, it’s up to you learn everything you and get all the experiences you can regarding you job responsibilities to get noticed. Be a professional. That means dress for the position; no ripped jeans or t-shirts with leaves all over it. Be on time – 15 minutes early is on time! Use professional words, we are not selling pot or weed, we are working with cannabis and marijuana. Take note of your words especially – you never know who is listening. The harder you work at this, the more hours you get until you are a full-time agent, working your way towards a supervisor.

3) PASSION – To be the best- have passion for the marijuana plant! If you are just planning on working in the industry because it’s “cool” or you think you are going to sit around a be “high” all day, our best advice as recruiters, is skip the rest of the article and find a head shop to apply to. If you want to succeed, you really do want to know everything there is about this plant and the products that are made from this plant. Knowing the information is only half of the responsibility. The second half of that responsibility is being able to convey the information you know and help the cardholder or the consumer, understand it.    

4) COMPASSION – Having passion for the plant will lead you to having compassion for the cardholder or the consumer. For some of these folks, that have never used cannabis before and have only seen their body go through the hell of pharmaceuticals, you offer them a whole new world. One, where they for the first time, get to choose which medication they walk out the door with. In the past, they were given a piece of paper from their doctor (a prescription) that was then handed to a pharmacist, who handed them back whatever the doctor ordered with instruction on how and when to take it. This is the first time the cardholder (and in many states now, the consumer) get to purchase what they want, not what the doctor wants. It doesn’t matter if you are working in the cultivation, processing center or dispensary, we all want the same thing; to provide a clean, tested, natural product that can assist our consumers live a healthier, symptom free life.

5) CONFIDENCE – Understanding this medication will give you the confidence you will need to work in this industry. Listen, we have had a history of lies and misinformation surrounding the cannabis plant and the medical benefits it contains. So, as an advocate, an agent-of-change and a member of a large group of people that understand plant-based medication and it’s benefits, your knowledge and confidence will take you a long way. Industry leaders and instructors find themselves breaking the taboos of our past on a daily basis. Know where we came from to have a clearer path of where we are going. The best thing you can do is stay informed. Read everything you can so that you know the “newest” info. The worst thing you can do is spread bad information. The cannabis industry has it’s fair share of “fake news” spread around. Please don’t share that article or that meme without reading it or vetting it. Half the time the article title and the article itself don’t match. If you are going to share it, read it and own it.

Listen, this is not rocket science. At the end of the day, we are all growing, processing and selling a product. If we do everything right, we have a successful business and make a decent living to raise our families and the families of our employees. If we do it wrong, we fail everyone, including the patient who needs the medication and the consumer, that while not there with a medical card, is still looking for a product to help them relax, reduce pain or sleep. We have come so far, over the last 10 years but we have a long way to go for cannabis equality throughout the country. We are all advocates and when given the chance, show up, use your voice and use your vote. If you are not registered, get off your couch and get it done – we need you. Know who you are voting for and what their stance on marijuana is. Not just the presidential candidates but your local representatives as well. Be part of the solution not part of the problem.