The Traits of Great Cannabis Executives


Group of business people collaborating on project in officeIt’s a time of great excitement in the cannabis industry. A total of 37 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, while 18 states passed initiatives for legal recreational marijuana. There is plenty of opportunity for cannabis executives to find their true calling after working in other industries. It can be lucrative and also bring a sense of purpose by truly making your mark on a company that’s growing and changing.

At the same time, it’s also an industry that is somewhat in flux, with an infrastructure based on trials and errors, and that’s not something that is suited for every executive. Companies that have an outlined purpose can certainly help, but the right fit can sometimes be elusive.

We’re sharing some information from experts on what they see as the best traits of cannabis executives. These are just a few of the attributes that leaders can have in their own personal toolkit, and each can be bode well for a future career in the cannabis industry.

Looking in unlikely places

In a recent story in Green Entrepreneur, recruiters from the agricultural industry shared some insights about how to find the best cannabis executives. Among their insights, they cite that certain types of experience are stronger than others. People who know the strategy behind horticulture trimming and bringing consumer goods to market will be strong candidates.

At the same time, the authors at Green Entrepreneur also suggest that looking for leaders without agriculture experience may also be a boon, as they view starting in cannabis as a positive career change. It’s also a great industry for women and minority communities, who often are impacted negatively during economic downturns.

One approach to finding these types of candidates came from one recruiter who staged a hiring event in order to have a forum for questions and answers without the potential nervousness or high-stakes feelings of a job interview.

“My staffing agency held a drive-thru hiring event during the pandemic where candidates stayed in their cars, but were still able to ask questions one-on-one and fill out applications for job openings,” the author wrote. “It was a huge success and appreciated by the hundreds who were given a chance to speak to an actual person about available positions.”

Becoming a true specialist

An article makes the case for candidates doing their homework, which always makes an impression on hiring managers and recruiters regardless of industry. A recent Forbes article notes that knowing the work requirements that apply to the respective state and its legalities is a definite plus.

The nuances of what can and cannot be sold, how the retail side of the business works, and restrictions on who can work in the industry are all important aspects for a cannabis executive to know and understand.

Some kind of first-hand interest or knowledge in the industry is also helpful to learn about during an interview with a candidate. Asking about “your personal view” on cannabis doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate has used it. Instead, they may know someone who has benefited from cannabis use, or they may be intrigued by cannabis’ potential and want to be a part of its continued perception change in society.

It’s also desirable to find candidates who know about the different verticals within the industry — and there are many. From cultivation to manufacturing, delivery systems to software, security to marketing, there are opportunities to become a specific type of executive who can bring insights from another industry to the table.

Finally, staying abreast of what is happening in the ever-changing world of cannabis is important. Candidates who read from reliable news sources and follow what’s happening in the industry have an advantage over others who don’t invest this time. It’s also a good idea to research what business licenses are available in an individual state, as that’s often a signifier of the opportunities at hand.

The power of hiring on purpose

The cannabis business can be a challenge for some who enter it from different industries, but ultimately it’s the insight gleaned through those other roles that brings success. Recruiting firms who hire cannabis executives with the skills and attributes that seem the most desirable — and knowing what those are up-front — makes the most sense.

At the same time, it goes beyond just what’s spelled out on the resume. One of our key goals at Y Scouts is to help you find the type of leaders who can be successful at mission-driven companies. It’s been proven that hiring on purpose leads to greater job satisfaction and hiring leaders who display more positive impact for the entire business.

Building enduring leadership is important to us. Instead of job candidates being treated as data points, we encourage hiring leaders to look beyond work experience to find the truly right person for the right role. Find out more about what we do at our website.