5 Ways to Build a Strong Cannabis Company Culture

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Like plants and soil, cannabis and culture go together. 

Cannabis has touched every facet of contemporary mainstream culture for decades, including music, writing, film, and visual arts. The plant has also fostered a stunningly diverse array of communities that rely on its medicinal benefits—from military veterans treating PTSD to older consumers eager to find alternatives to medicine cabinets packed with prescription medication bottles. And the scope of what constitutes “cannabis culture” today continues to expand as more and more demographics opt into exploring its possibilities.

For this reason, cultivating a winning culture within your company should be an important goal for every business leader. Here are some ways to do this.

Related: How to Avoid the Great Resignation Affecting Your Cannabusiness


1. Make sure employees feel appreciated and valued 

The first step towards achieving sustained success is establishing a culture of appreciation and communication. The compartmentalization of the supply chain can sometimes lead to an atmosphere that feels more top-down than collaborative. The spotlight tends to shine brightest on cultivation and retail, leaving the public in the dark about the critical roles of transportation, distribution, and manufacturing.

All employees want to be appreciated, which is why your company should strive to emphasize the importance of every role in the supply chain. 
At MariMed, for example, we don’t subscribe to the common misconception that trimming and packaging are a rudimentary or “entry-level” step in the process. The staff in these roles represent our last touchpoint for product quality control before they head out the door and eventually reach consumers. 

2. Communicate well and often

You want to ensure that you’ve invested the proper resources and time into training new employees. Though new staff must be well-versed in the mechanics of the machinery of the manufacturing floor, it’s also crucial that they’re encouraged to take both pride and responsibility in their work. One way to accomplish this is by having weekly touchpoints with each of your departments. That way, all your teams’ voices will be included. 

Given those on the front lines are also likely to be the most familiar with your manufacturing operation, offering regular opportunities for them to share ideas to improve efficiencies — or even quality — can only lead to good results. 

3. Meet in-person 

It’s also important at least some of this communication is transpiring, when possible, in-person. 

Yes, the pandemic has forced us to rethink our work space in some dramatic ways, but being physically present regularly to talk with employees, hear their ideas, and check on operations can make a major difference. Provided they’re done safely, in-person meetings foster an atmosphere where people feel heard and valued.

4. Celebrate milestones

Setting and celebrating certain milestones is another way to keep spirits high. After all, everyone likes a goal to strive for, and you should celebrate successful product launches for the collective achievement they are. Don’t let such moments pass by without acknowledging them. Your team is working hard, which is why it’s essential to recognize the effort and care required of every role in a manufacturing facility and to remind your employees that we all share in the victory that comes from providing safe, quality cannabis products.

5. Lead by example

Much of this advice comes cloaked in the greater wisdom of leading by example. 

It seems so simple, but it’s downright miraculous what you can accomplish when you lead by example with a positive attitude, caring about your products and operations as much as you expect your employees to care but also not sweating the small stuff. Cannabis is a challenging new field with many changing regulations, new technologies, and scientific advances regularly rewriting the playbook. As a result, approaching situations from a place of positivity is a great way to prevent stress from becoming your workplace’s default setting.

More than anything else, the best cultures prize doing the right thing above all else. Naturally, this starts from the top, emphasizing the importance of doing things the right way (and doing them the right way yourself, of course) will set a standard that breeds retention, comraderies, and even innovation. 

As we continue defining the next era of cannabis, it is up to us to keep the culture of this plant alive and thriving. By creating a culture of communication, appreciation, and incredible cannabis, this is a challenge that we should be more than capable of smoking.

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