Leaders Working In Food And Beverages Are Crossing Into Cannabis

Attracted by the opportunities and excitement surrounding a new industry, execs are leaving established industries for weed.


It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of a green rush. But this cannabis boom is creating problems for the more established food and beverage industry. Attracted by job opportunities and rapid growth, critical employees are abandoning existing consumables companies to work in legal weed. Though poaching the few workers qualified for cannabis industry jobs is necessary for the flourishing recreational market, older industries are struggling to adapt.

An Easy Transition From Food to Cannabis

It makes sense that cannabis would look to food and beverage for new hires. Like the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries, cannabis producers and packagers must follow strict health and safety protocol. More established industries already have a workforce trained in quality assurance.

Additionally, cannabis presents an exciting opportunity for people working in more stagnant sectors. Legal weed is only starting to establish itself as an industry, and therefore cannabis companies are relatively young. This means that employees can have a more diverse role within their company and help define an emerging industry.

There is also a lot of enthusiasm for legal weed, especially with Canada’s new recreational market. This translates to more investment, meaning bigger financial opportunities for industry insiders. Plus, the thrill surrounding legalization makes for an exciting work environment.

High-Level Execs Find Jobs In Cannabis

Though there is high demand for employees in almost all aspects of legal weed—classes for growers and cannabis lawyers and investors are popping up across the U.S. and Canada—high-level executives with experience, above all, are a must for the industry.

Canopy Growth, one of the biggest weed producers around, recently hired a key member of Molson Coors’ marketing team. Additionally, Harvest One Cannabis Inc. just appointed Grant Froese, a former Loblaw’s executive, as their new CEO. Colin Clancy, Director of Investor Relations told Green Rush Daily, “We were looking for a new CEO to take over, obviously someone from a consumer quality goods background. Grant Froese had a long history with Loblaw’s so it was just a natural fit.”

Other cannabis companies such as GreenTec Holdings Ltd and Up Cannabis Inc. also look to the food and beverages, as well as pharma and tobacco, for cannabis executives, according to The Globe and Mail.

David Lynn is currently the COO of cannabis producer GreenTec Holdings. Before his career in cannabis, Lynn marketed dairy and alcohol for Dairyland/Saputo and Molson Coors, respectively. For Lynn, legal weed presents a great opportunity to grow a business from the ground up. As the leader of a smaller cannabis company, Lynn isn’t limited to the finance, marketing, hiring, growing and sales aspects of business.

Cannabis is also a more diverse—and therefore interesting—product to market. “Alcohol is basically one drug with different carriers,” Lynn told Green Rush Daily. “Cannabis has about 66 different cannabinoids and then, of course, there are the terpenes in the product, so it’s a very interesting multifaceted product. Then it manifests itself in so many different forms from basic flowers and oils to edibles, beverages, exotic products, shatter, moon rock.”

Food and Beverage Struggle While Legal Weed Prospers

Legal weed’s opportunity and allure is that of any new industry. And this can come at the expense of older established industries where expansion, lower salaries and rapid change are no longer the norm. For food and beverages, this means competing with cannabis and sometimes losing valuable employees.

But for cannabis companies, the food and beverage sector is one of the only places to find qualified employees. These companies need people with backgrounds in quality assurance and regulatory compliance. And until more people have degrees in cannabis, the consumables industry will remain the top place to look.

" Burgess Powell : Burgess Powell is a writer for Green Rush Daily based in New York. She writes about marijuana news, culture, and health.."