Working in cannabis made me smarter. Here’s why.
By Kaitlin Domangue
A crash course on business
I did not graduate college – and I’ve had people with prestigious educations reach out to me and ask: how can I break into the cannabis industry?
That’s probably one of the reasons why I love working in cannabis so much. There aren’t predetermined requirements to work in cannabis, but working in the industry long enough schools you in the business world.
A world I once found boring, unimportant, and certainly not for me. My dad has been a businessman in the same company for 30 years, and I wasn’t doing that for a living.
Working in cannabis changed my opinion, though.
Turns out I care a lot about branding, marketing, company performance, profitability: all of it. Not just for the cannabis industry, either, but for all industries.
I’m confident, though, that I wouldn’t have that same outlook on the world of business had I gotten a college degree and joined a traditional CPG company after graduation. It would be boring to me.
The cannabis industry’s unpredictability, newness, and intense restrictions forcing us to innovate made me realize just how important good business is. And how fun it can be to do things well and be successful.
What can I say? I crave chaos, and the cannabis industry certainly delivers.
Working in cannabis forced me to pay attention and care about the operational circumstances a business might face, not just in cannabis but everywhere.
A sparked passion for public policy
The more I write this, the more these “lessons learned” might be me just turning into my dad. Talk radio, politics, and the government’s processes have long been things I’ve heard from my dad, and guess what?
It’s not as boring as I once thought.
My first paid gig in cannabis was for a little (sarcasm) publication called The Green Market Report, which covers the major cannabis news and finance news.
Don’t know much about public policy? Working as a cannabis news writer will teach you more than you need to know.
I quickly learned that a bill being filed doesn’t really mean anything. Heck, it doesn’t even mean anything if the House passes it. Certainly not in cannabis.
These are things I didn’t care about – or even fully understand – until working in the cannabis industry. The government and the cannabis industry intertwine constantly. You won’t last long here without learning how the government works.
After a few years of covering the cannabis news, I’ve maintained a solid understanding of several government processes that I wouldn’t have otherwise cared to know.
So thank you, the federal government, for stalling federal legalization and filing several weak bills over the years. I’ve learned a lot from you 🥲
Reignited my passion for people
This is a recent development, and I’m still navigating the entirety of it.
Despite my social battery quickly draining – and much faster these days after 3 kids – I love people and always have.
The cannabis industry is filled with people of all backgrounds, which is something I truly cherish, especially if I can help them somehow!
My career in cannabis started gaining momentum right before the coronavirus hit.
I was actually at my first industry just two weeks before the world closed down, and couldn’t believe how blessed I felt – I cried because I was so happy! I’d found my place.
I shut myself and my kids in during COVID and absorbed the online cannabis world. Even when events started happening again, I did not partake.
It wasn’t until I started working at The Green Paper in January that in-person events became a part of my job description.
I was a little rusty, but my passion for people and true community quickly reignited. And best of all, the cannabis industry is dying for true community, as I’ve learned at my events.
Creating space for meaningful, in-person interactions is important for our budding industry. We need to have face-to-face conversations that align us and move us forward as *one* community & industry.
I consider myself more resourceful, smarter, and tenacious since I started working in cannabis, and I know there are only more lessons to be learned!
P.S. – The Green Paper is having an event at MJBizCon this year! Keep a look out for details.