You Will Never Work in This Industry Again and Other Tales of Canna Shade

Threats to live and learn by in the cannabis industry – globally

As even the cannabiz takes a summer break, and friends are starting to reconnect as we all anticipate the return of the ICBC to Berlin at the end of August, there are tales aplenty to share about what we have all missed in more than eighteen months apart. Even if we see each other regularly by zoom call or WhatsApp channel, there is nothing quite like swapping stories in person with folks you are getting to know and see on a regular basis. There is a “biz” here and it is growing, at the professional level, in a way that is good to see.

For me that means reconnecting via various digital channels with the deluge of folks heading for Germany’s capital if not the region’s premiere B2B pot conference happening in just a few short weeks.

However, this being the cannabis industry, globally, I thought I would share a few of the more macabre stories from the trenches that have come across my transom lately. One of the reasons the ICBC is such an important conference is that it brings together people from all over the world. Not only is there always another company to work with, but it is also important, fundamentally, to find a place where you are happy, and fit.

Read along, laugh where you can, and if this sounds like your situation, just know you are not alone. It has happened to all of us, at least once before.

We love you; we love you; we love you, now f*ck off

There are all sorts of people now coming into the cannabis tent and all of them have different motives and intensions. Here is one to look out for though. While everyone seems to have their “cannabis moment” story, this is not a reason you can trust in terms of doing business with this person. Dead relatives, or long-suffering ones still alive and better off because of the plant do not a decent person make. Indeed, such stories are almost a prequel to a human being who is only interested in sucking what they can out of the next victim before moving on. The thing about the cannabis industry so far, even at its upper levels, is that scams run here a plenty. And, once you have been in the biz (not to mention the game called life) for a bit, they are not so hard to spot. Even if it is heart breaking.

We Don’t Like What You Are Telling Us – So We Are Going to Dump You (or not pay you)

This story has played out so far in many different ways, even in Europe, tragically, especially during the last terrible 18 months of Covid. Many people in all sorts of roles report all kinds of horror stories, that include of course, not getting paid for services in a world where everyone is rushing around looking for new business. One of the more extreme experiences I have come across? A consultant being left behind with no return ticket home on an overseas trip because the client did not like the advice given to them about a compliance issue. Beyond this? There is a long list of bad behaviour that should not be tolerated in this industry, but sadly is likely to persist as the industry grows up.

Hey babe, let’s take a walk on the wild side

Sexual harassment, tragically, is rampant in the industry – and not just of the boy-girl kind. There are several folks I talk to on a semi regular basis who have said that this is one of the biggest issues the industry really needs to face, beyond of course, things like full legalization and meeting compliance. Part of the problem, especially for those who are just entering the industry now, is that the idea of the “wild and crazy” industry apparently means that anyone encountered in it is a sexual deviant and or sex addict. How this translates to pay checks is also an issue that is fast coming to a green “MeToo” moment. The reality is that you must learn how to stick up for yourself. Not to mention never, even if proverbially, bend down in the shower.

You are fired

It is never good to get canned. No matter what happens with the rest of the world economy, one’s immediate cash flow is immediately hampered. In the middle of a pandemic, all sorts of desperate, crazy things happen. When people around you threaten you with such things if you do not “work harder” whatever that means in that instant, particularly if obviously unjustified, however, perhaps it is time to look for the exit route.

You Will Never Work in This Industry Again

This is a subject which I have discussed at length with several people with longevity in the biz and this is absolutely one of the stupidest things on the list. This industry is so huge, even in Europe, that no small clique of cannatrendsetters, anywhere on the planet, can control your success. If someone says this to you, just keep moving even if, at the moment you are so shocked you forget to throw some shade right back. It is also usually best never to burn bridges, and once you throw down like this at someone who bounces right back, it also makes the person who made this threat look even more out of their minds.

The cannabis industry is not Hollywood. Even the big players have flubbed up multiple times. And, given the revolving door at most of the largest companies, such threats never really stick around for long. In the meantime, there are always better people to work with.


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