Breaking into the cannabis industry

As far as stock market investors are concerned, the marijuana industry is one of the hottest topics of all right now. The prospect of pumping money into the fledgling industry at such an early stage in order to capitalise on near-guaranteed explosive growth is universally appealing to say the least. Right now, there are thousands of experts and advisers offering their services (for the right fee, of course) to anyone in need of help and guidance with regard to investing in the cannabis industry. In fact, things are progressing at such a rate that it’s all being compared to the late 90s tech boom.

Of course, how things perform long-term remains to be seen and predictions vary wildly. Likewise, so too do reports and assessment of how the cannabis industry has performed to date. As it stands, there’s just one cannabis business listed on the NY Stock Exchange. Though not involved directly in the production, distribution or use of cannabis in any way, Innovative Industrial Properties instead focuses on leasing properties to those working in the cannabis industry. Their IPO came about in November last year, opening with a share price $19.75 which quickly fell to $15.29 by early December. Since then however, things have been heading back in the right direction, coming out at $18.14 by early February.

By tracking stocks and company performance on a wider basis, Viridian Capital Advisors is now publishing a weekly report on the performance of the early-stage cannabis index. Viridian reported that while there was little movement in any direction during the first half of last year, the closing six months of 2016 saw huge growth around and after the November vote. For the year as a whole, the cannabis index grew an incredible 256%, which included a full 155% spike during Q4 alone. As for January, the final week of the month brought about growth of around 7%. When compared to every other major index without exception, this represents truly incredible growth.

Suffice to say therefore, as far as the vast majority of experts are concerned, now is absolutely the time to be exploring the industry. In terms of both investment opportunities and potential careers, the doors are wide open to innovators and those looking to turn their passion into a lucrative source of income. Of course, there’s a big difference between being a fan of cannabis and having the kind of business savvy to make a career of it. Nevertheless, there never has been and probably never will be a better time for anyone genuinely committed to carving out a cannabis career.

A Foot in the Door

Growing cannabis industry

A growing cannabis industry?

As is the case with most industries, the hardest part when it comes to cannabis careers is getting your foot in the door in the first place. It’s not quite as straightforward as walking into a dozen bars or restaurants with a resume in your hands and getting immediate call-backs on a few at least. Likewise, it’s also not quite as easy as assuming that just because you’ve been a dedicated stoner for the past two decades, you qualify as a cannabis expert in any way.

Because the industry is still finding its feet and has yet to come close to reaching its long-term potential, Joe-jobs are thin on the ground. For the time being, it’s those with business acumen, entrepreneurial savvy and pre-existing transferrable skills that the industry is crying out for. Or in other words, those that can play a role in building the industry, rather than just helping it tick over.

So if you’d like to be able to tell future generations that you played a key part in kick-starting one of the most important industries in the recent history of the United States, what should you be doing to improve your chances of gaining entry?

  1. Learn the Law

Well, first of all you are going to need to bone up on cannabis law. And that doesn’t just mean knowing which states have legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana. Instead, it means developing comprehensive knowledge of all key aspects of cannabis law covering each and every state you have an interest in working in or with. If you want to work in California, you need to make sure you know every word of applicable cannabis legislation inside and out, while at all times keeping a close eye out for policy changes and evolution. If you want to work for a large brand that covers multiple states, you’re going to need to get up to speed with legislation on a much wider basis.

  1. Cannabis Culture

Major shifts are already occurring as far as cannabis culture is concerned, which are moulding and shaping the future of the industry at an incredible rate. For example, the last few years have seen what used to be market-dominating sales of cannabis plants take a significant back-seat to edibles and other cannabis products. Success in the cannabis industry means not only acknowledging trends, but being in a position where you can both predict and cater to them, in order to remain relevant and competitive.

  1. Transferable Skills

Being a seasoned stoner and general cannabis fanatic simply isn’t enough. You need, just as with most professional industries, to be able to offer something of value and importance. It could be your comprehensive knowledge of cannabis law, your experience in web marketing, your talents in graphic design, your acumen as an accountant or really anything else that’s both honed and specific. The industry is desperate for those with existing skills and invaluable experience – not just enthusiastic newcomers with nothing to offer.

  1. Invest

Given the fact that major banks and lenders are still wholly unwilling to go near the cannabis industry, there are golden opportunities for private investors to get in at ground level. With available financing being so thin on the ground, a wide variety of cannabis ventures are well and truly open to the prospect of private backers buying into their businesses at an early stage. As such, those with the available financial resources to do so have the opportunity to get into the cannabis industry, without the need for any specific skills, knowledge or experience.

  1. Persist

Last but not least, it’s highly unlikely you’re in for an easy ride so it’s important to tailor your expectations accordingly. And even if you do get a foot in the door as planned, it’s also not the kind of pursuit where overnight fame and fortune can be expected as standard. Quite to the contrary, you’ll need to be persistent, committed and tenacious to make a success of your cannabis career. But if it really is the career of your dreams, it’s a small price to pay.

Do you want to work in the cannabis industry? Tell us what you would do in the comments below.