Top 8 myths about the cannabis industry
The cannabis industry, which exploded in popularity over the last decade, continues to be one of the hottest career paths for people across the country. The industry is expected to grow exponentially over the coming years as more and more markets come online. Furthermore, the industry brings a unique blend of talent requirements such as being heavily regulated like a pharmacy, often retail or sales oriented, and extremely competitive for markets which are already operational. With these unique challenges, there have been a handful of myths which seem to pop up regularly when an individual looks to make this sector part of their career. With that in mind, we put together some of the most persistent myths about working within the nascent cannabis sector. Let’s take a closer look into the top 8 myths about working in for a cannabis business.
1. Nascent industry
Despite the general push against this trend because of the cannabis communities natural rebel attitude, more and more the industry is becoming corporate. With this corporate structure, businesses are often able to become more efficient. Since the entire point of a business is to increase the bottom line and profits for the owners, it makes sense that a more efficient system is being slowly adopted across the industry. Simply put, those who do not focus on increasing the bottom line and becoming more efficient are simply bound to be pushed out of the market by those who are more efficient. Though this may disappoint many who are cannabis enthusiasts, it should be noted that there is a silver lining. Non-profit businesses which support the sector continue to grow and these operations are not focused on profits and can perhaps lead the way for the general holistic aptitude the cannabis sector has.
2. You can get high at work
This is 100% a no go. We repeat, you can NOT get high at work, even if you work directly with cannabis! The industry is heavily regulated. Furthermore, many states restrict business operators or employees from enjoying the plant while at work. This is probably for the best, at least 99.9% of the time. Stoned workers simply make more mistakes and take the job less seriously. While we certainly love getting things done while stoned, sometimes it is simply best to be sober for the majority of your work. Looking back to the early days of the industry, anyone who has consumed cannabis legally for over a decade can remember the early days of medical marijuana where an employee was allowed to be stoned at work. The service, experience, and even sometimes the product you are trying to purchase could often be tainted if this is the case. Stoned workers were less likely to take the time to help patients find the best product for their needs. All and all, we know it is tough to stay sober while working with cannabis constantly. Certainly some consumers would be able to operate stoned at the same level of efficiency as when they are sober. Nonetheless, take work as an extremely short tolerance break each day and we promise you will enjoy the bowl after work exponentially more!
3. Happy customers
This is something I personally experienced when I started working in a dispensary nearly half a decade ago. Even when you are selling someone weed, sometimes they will not be happy! It can be oddly surprising in both a business to business environment as well as a retail one, when the customer gets angry at you. Even though the cannabis plant is a relaxing substance, the normalities of business sometimes never change. Certainly, there were fewer cases in which a customer was frustrated while working within the cannabis sector but at the end of the day customers often have lofty expectations, especially in a crowded marketplace. All and all, expect less angry customers but just know that they do exists, even within the peaceful cannabis industry.
4. Easy work
Another oddly common myth is the fact that work within the cannabis industry will be a cakewalk. Even though it is a wonderfully fun industry, it is still work. The fact of the matter remains that work is work. This is true within any industry and certainly true with regards to cannabis. Surely you can have fun while working in the cannabis sector but just realize it is a job and not a time to get stoned and laugh with fellow cannabis enthusiasts. We notice this trend has slowly faded as the cannabis industry becomes more mature and people get experience working in the sector. Even so, there will be plenty of new markets that open up over the next decade which have a plethora of employees who fall into this myth.
5. Similar to the old days
The bottom line is legal cannabis is completely different than when it was prohibited. Taxes, regulations, and many many many rules are the norm with legal cannabis. Whereas illicit cannabis had few rules, other than do not do it at all, leaving operators freedom to do as they please if they did touch it while illegal. Today the industry continues to attract former black market operators and many employers do not mind if you had illicit experience with the cannabis plant prior to legalization. While experience with illicit cannabis may help you get a job in the industry, the industry is simply not the same. It is a business atmosphere and one in which rules must be followed or an entire business could be shut down for regulatory violations.
6. No federal taxes
Even though the federal government restricts the cannabis plant as a schedule 1 drug, they still tax employees and businesses operating in the space. This ironic fact can drive many cannabis operators crazy, who cannot access a bank account but still are required to pay thousands of dollars in taxes to the government. The hypocritical state of taxes being required while the businesses are indirectly punished by the federal law cannot be understated. Nonetheless, many operators within the cannabis industry are simply thankful their line of work is considered legal, even if it is only legal at a state level. Finally, it may be more difficult to pay these taxes in cash. Ironically, the IRS charges businesses extra when they pay their bill in cash since there is a higher amount of overhead with counting the cash versus checks and digital forms of payment transferred from a bank. This particular trend should change within the decade as the federal government hopefully changes its ways with the regulation of cannabis.
7. Crime Ridden
Despite some mainstream media outlets claiming legal cannabis is ridden with criminals, that is simply not the case. The background checks which are required to work within the cannabis sector are very inclusive. Furthermore, being an owner requires an even more intrusive and intensive search into your history. The states which have started to implement legal cannabis have been sure to keep criminals out of their programs. This was one of the key provisions in the Cole Memo, a former guideline from the justice department regarding state implement cannabis programs. With this in mind, the cannabis sector may be the single worst industry for a criminal to operate within because it is so heavily regulated. All and all, there have been a few cases where accused criminals have acquired cannabis licenses but these operators were quickly stripped of their ability to operate a business once state regulators determined their criminal tendency. Finally, if you have a felony charge on your record, you cannot even work within the cannabis sector for many states across the country. This truly captures the notion that criminals are not welcome in the legal cannabis sector.
8. Everyone who works with you is a stoner
Many people who work within the cannabis sector do indeed enjoy consuming cannabis but that is not a rule or even remotely a requirement. Famously, some huge cannabis company operators have spoken ill of cannabis consumption. Perhaps this is due to the fact that cannabis does impair users and restrict their ability to work in a similar fashion to alcohol. This may not be the case for everyone but as a general rule of thumb it does work fairly well. Furthermore, many will lose a slight amount of ambition when they consume cannabis and become stoned. This does not help the work environment and certainly restricts your ability as a worker to produce results. While not everyone in the sector will be a consumer of cannabis themselves, it is a sure fire bet that they support the industry by working in it! So, next time you’re working at the grow or dispensary try not to assume everyone working with you is a fellow stoner. Further, even if an employee does not partake, remember that means more cannabis for you when the two of you do hang out outside of work.
All and all, there will surely be new myths that emerge about the cannabis sector. We will continue to dissolve these myths with proper education. If you know of any myths about the cannabis industry that you have experienced in the legal cannabis sector, please do share them with a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.