When most people say they have been involved in an industry for five years, they usually are considered new to that industry. In the cannabis industry, five years is considered a lifetime because as we all know the business of cannabis is really no more than ten years old. Back when I started, there were two types of people in the cannabis industry. The first were people who knew the value of the plant and how it can help and the second were those who felt there must be a way to turn this plant into a business that makes money.
Over the years, I have seen this industry continue to grow as well as the people involved in its growth. Some of the changes in the industry have been very good and some not as good but all these changes have affected the way people look at this industry now and into the future.
When I look at this industry, I see what I call various “generations” of cannabis business people. These business generations are involved in one part of the business or another and I do not believe that one generation is better than another nor do I believe that a person can’t be a combination of several generations. Also, one generation’s mission is no more or less passionate than another generation’s. It is just the type of person you are in the business side of this great industry.
Generation 1 – Old Time Hippie
You have been in the marijuana, pot, weed, cannabis industry before there was an industry. You are very much an activist of the plant and have dealt with the underground and law enforcement concerns during your time in this business. You feel the “devil’s lettuce” is more important than the money but some money for all your heartache would be nice.
Gen 2 – Pick and Shovel
You entered the cannabis industry to help cultivators, dispensary, processor, manufacturing etc. owners with their desire to grow in this industry by selling the services or products that they will need to be successful. Much like the people who sold the ax picks, blankets and shovels to the gold miners during the gold rush. You would not consider yourself a Gen One but you do love this industry.
Gen 3 – Entrepreneur
You are in the industry to make money, lots of money. You are willing to do whatever is needed to make money in this industry but when the money is gone so are you. You are here for the business of cannabis and not as an activist. A true entrepreneur.
Gen 4 – Investor
You are willing to put your money where your mouth is. You look to invest in the industry but only if there is a return on your investment. The Cannabis industry is just another product that could make money for you over time. The only “green” you care about is the green in your bank account.
Gen 5 – Reality Star
Your desire is to communicate a positive image of the cannabis industry to mainstream society. You may be an activist one day and an entrepreneur the next day depending on your following. Having people recognize you when you walk into an expo or conference is more important. Making money or growing a business is not the main goal, rather you want to popularize your brand. That brand may be general or specific to a niche, but your media presence is the key to success.
Remember, these generations are for the business of cannabis, not for those who are not in the business but understand the medical value of the plant.
So, who are you in this industry?
This article was originally posted in Cannabis Business Executive, available here.