Should cannabis jobs be filled by real-life consumers?

Published Feb 18, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / demaerre

The cannabis market prior to any type of legalization was run mostly by consumers, many of whom held a stake in its success. They cultivated some of the most world-renowned cannabis strains while pushing for changes in legislation that we needed to make the legal industry a reality. These legacy leaders blazed the trails that we all walked along while waiting for the law and public officials to catch up to what we already knew, which was that cannabis was meant to be a legal and safely accessible product.

Is it better for the past to stay in the past?

These days most legal industries purposefully block pre-legalization participants from getting in on the action. Those who began running illegal dispensaries jumped through hoops in hopes of winning what in some cases were literal lotteries for a license, and very few could qualify or afford to make it. Things like criminal records, difficulty securing financial backing, and still functioning unlicensed facilities automatically expelled numerous players from the game and as a result, big companies have taken over.

So many barriers have been placed in the way of loyal, dedicated, die-hard consumers who have always dreamt of taking a more active role in these greener days. Still, we hold on to this dream, an almost romanticized idea that the average cannabis worker should also be experienced with the plant.

The ultimate question is which one is better, the fresh blood and unbiased soul who brings to the table motivation while lacking exposure, or the true average “stoner” who knows all of the ins and outs of consumption due to personal experience. But there is no one true answer because both parties offer something vastly different from each other.

Experience has its perks

When someone has spent years or possibly even decades getting familiar with everything there is to know about cannabis, they offer a unique amount of insight that cannot be taught in any class or school.  There is no denying this fact. It just makes sense because they’ve put this knowledge into action for so long, and that makes it so they’re less likely to fall victim to stereotypes or broad judgments. They’ve lived staying dedicated more than long enough to earn themselves a place at the table, but should they be the only ones we consider when cannabis jobs need filling?

A fresh point of view

How could someone with no history or experience possibly have anything to offer for the cannabis industry? Well, that’s simple, because it’s no longer us consumers against them, the ones who have a different substance of choice. At one time, it made sense to cast out anyone who didn’t partake because those who had nothing to lose weren’t often considered to be reliable enough to maintain the secrecy necessary to avoid punishment. We’re lucky to live in a day and age when in most countries, that’s no longer the case.

Cannabis culture as well as the underground market, have done an excellent job at keeping the dream alive, as we fought for the right to buy and consume a natural plant, but the way that we’ve done things has always been far from perfect. Safety, quality, and consistency were never assured, and much of our direction came from old, disproven myths and stereotypes, be it for growing, business, or consumption. We can and will do better, but to do that, we’re going to need folks who have never touched the stuff.

If we want the legal cannabis industry to be successful, competitive, and thriving, then we’re going to want the biggest and brightest minds on the project. Yes, there is going to be a learning curve, but that is true for both seasoned and unexposed cannabis workers. We’re launching forward in this brave, new world together with many who chose not to consume, advocating for the rights of those who do, and this cooperation is absolutely essential to our future.

New skills

We’ve got some incredibly skilled legacy participants both inside and outside of the market. They’ve been perfecting their skills with growing, advertising, accounting, hiring, and so much more, making it seem like they could probably go on forever all alone, but we’re doing this on a professional level now. To elevate the whole process and experience, we need new ideas and areas of expertise to inject into the pool of people who are working to make this all happen.

Passion is more important than anything

The most efficient lighting or hydroponic systems, the most resilient and pest-resistant strains, the catchiest way to create brand loyalty without breaking regulations and guidelines, the highest production rates and the best ways to keep everything going without causing harm to the environment are all things that we have yet to perfect. Sure, we’ve got a pretty good grasp on these things, but could they also be better? Of course!

There is still so far to go, and we need users as well as other specialized, passionate individuals to make this the very best that it can be. You don’t need to toke to have a passion for just about any part of cannabis business, you just need to be able to recognize and appreciate all that it can do while approaching everything with an open mind. Yes, cannabis consumers should and will continue to take up a large number of available cannabis jobs, but there is plenty of room in the industry for people who’ve never tried it.

As long as you’re bringing something worthwhile to the table, consumer or not, you should be welcomed with open arms by everyone in cannabis. Cannabis jobs aren’t just for the consumer anymore. They can also be perfect for like-minded business’ professional or anyone who has a passion for agriculture, and that has never been more apparent than it is today.

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