10 Pieces Of Advice For Someone Starting Their Career In The Cannabis Industry

Reposted from 4PM

by Matthew O’Brien

Nov 17


When I began working in the cannabis industry in 2017, I was extremely fortunate to have had the help of my older brother Sam who was managing a cannabis retail store in Vancouver at the time. 

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have managed multiple cannabis retail stores, a cannabis processing facility, and worked as Head of inventory for a large cannabis retail chain on Vancouver Island.

Whenever I reflect on these experiences, I often ask myself what advice would I have benefited from having received if I were to do it all over again?

Here Are My Top 10 Pieces Of Advice

1. Assume Everything You Currently Know About Cannabis Is Wrong – When I joined the cannabis industry I had many misconceptions about cannabis. I vaguely understood that there was a distinction being made between products which produced relaxing effects, and products that produced energizing effects, and even this has since been shown to be largely Bullshit with a capital B.

2. Study The History Of Cannabis – In order to appreciate the present moment, I personally think it’s essential to understand the path that has brought us to where we are today. One of the facts that I appreciate the most is that in all of the time we as a species have consumed cannabis, it has only been illegal for less than 1% of this time. 

3. Many Of The Most Successful Cannabis Companies Don’t Even Exist – I commonly converse with many people outside of the cannabis industry who feel as though they have missed the opportunity to be part of the industry, I personally think that the opposite is true. Less than 2% of nations around the world have currently legalized cannabis for adult use purposes. The industry is only getting started.

4. Network. Network. Network. – Although the cannabis industry is growing at a pretty rapid rate as many new and exciting businesses are being built around this amazing plant, you would be very surprised at how closely knit the modern cannabis industry remains today. As they say, your network is your net worth.

5. Learn From The Best (Linkedin, Twitter, Podcasts, etc) – He/She who can learn from their own experiences stands a great chance at succeeding in any industry.

He/She who can learn from the experiences of others is destined to succeed in any industry. There are so many amazing cannabis industry leaders who are incredibly generous with their time and insights. Learn to leverage these insights.

6. Research Cultured Cannabinoids Whenever I’m asked about the future of the cannabis industry the one topic I seem to bring up in every conversation of late is the changes I foresee in the cannabis supply chain, and more specifically cultured cannabinoids which are produced via a process called Bio-synthesis.

Personally, I can see a time and a place whereby upwards of 80% of all cannabinoids consumed are produced via this process. (Cultured cannabinoids are not to be confused with synthetic cannabinoids such as K2 or Merenaol.

7. Always Keep Learning When I joined the cannabis industry I spent many months learning as much as I could about all of the complexity that is the cannabis plant. Although this created a solid foundation, I’m always looking for new sources of information such that I can have the most up to date perspective on the industry.

(📸 / iStockPhoto)

8. Find A Leader Worth Following Finding a leader worth following can be difficult in any industry, however, in order for any team to succeed, having a great leadership team is a necessary prerequisite.

There are many incredible leaders in the cannabis industry from the Lipson brothers at Dutchie, Jackeline Shelstraw at Headset to Albert Kim at Greenline.

9. Share Your Perspective – Around nine months ago I started sharing my perspective on LinkedIn. Although this started out as a simple exercise to rekindle my love of writing, I’ve been absolutely amazed at the number of amazing people I’ve met, and the number of doors that are now open as a result of this practice.

10. Know That What Works Today, May Not Work Tomorrow What’s popular in the cannabis industry today, may not be what’s popular two years from now.

Understand that in order to succeed in the cannabis industry, you need to get very comfortable with the idea that the only constant is change.