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Why are so Many People Leaving the Cannabis Industry?

Photo by Izzad Syah on Unsplash
Photo by Izzad Syah on Unsplash

LinkedIn has been a virtual coffee house for cannabis industry professionals to connect for years. However, announcements of leaving the industry fill the space of late. Reasons vary, but the exodus of such a promising industry begs the question, why?

A popular reason is the economic downturn and the resulting layoffs. However, this is not the only thing pushing industry professionals to pursue other avenues.

Poor Management or Lack of Structure

The rapid movement of the cannabis industry can often leave a company with cracks in the foundation. Oftentimes, a manager will have to "wear multiple hats" or oversee areas of the operation they may be unfamiliar with just because they are the only ones available. Or, an individual will be placed in management but does not have the skills needed to fill the role.

When a company has poor management or a lack of structure (the two can often go hand-in-hand), it leads to high turnover, unhappy employees, and a toxic work environment. Speaking of toxic environments, this point deserves a section all of its own.

Toxic Environments Destroy Good Employees

High school was a long time ago, but it doesn't seem some individuals got the memo. If you have worked in the industry long enough, then chances are you have experienced a toxic work environment. While there are hundreds of reputable cannabis companies out there that foster healthy work environments, the bad apples certainly sour the bunch.

Toxic work environments can be caused by any number of factors. This can be due to poor management, bad working conditions, HR nightmares...the list can go on and on. Despite the many reasons, they all have the same result: good employees leave.

Pay/Benefits vs Cost of Living

When the industry first started legally, many individuals flocked to it, including younger people. But as the industry has grown and evolved, industry veterans are looking for similar benefits as other industries offer. This includes health, dental, and vision insurance as well as holiday pay and PTO.

It is worth noting that many cannabis brands are now offering competitive benefits and pay. However, similar to the toxicity issue, a few bad apples can sour the bunch.

The Bottom Line

The cannabis industry is undergoing massive changes at this moment of time. Some of this change is beneficial, however, the industry is seeing a labor exodus due to factors like those listed above. While toxicity, pay/benefits, and poor management are not the only contributing factors, they are large contributors.

I leave my readers who have left the cannabis industry with this question; What was your reason for leaving?



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