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Ageism in Cannabis

Social Equity

I have notivced at every dispensary I have visited, whether in AZ, CO, CA or NV, there are never any associates that are of an older demographic.

All of the marketing you see for the cannabis industry have a younger demographic in most ads you see.

My question is, why is ageism so prevalent in the cannabis industry? How does someone like myself who has over 15 years of regulatory experience get noticed when it’s obvious the market is only hiring younger folks?

Is anyone else having this challenge? Trying to sell that experience isn’t easy or maybe the industry isn’t open to the loads of experience an older demographic has when it comes to usage and experience.

If anyone has any comments, I am all ears.

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Thank you for sharing this Monica. I’ve noticed it too. There seems to be a lot of discrimination, and it’s simply wrong! Pennsylvania requires a certain amount of diversity (I’m also a member of NORML), and I don’t know how some of these companies are fulfilling these requirements?

I’ve been a passionate advocate for the use of medicinal marijuana for many years. While we were “sheltering in place”, I took three webinars to further educate myself about the business of cannabis. I already possess a sales, customer service, and management background.

I landed a few interviews, but made the mistake of aging myself. Once I realized that I shouldn’t mention any accomplishments that gave my age away, I was hired by a company that was expanding into my state.

My excitement was difficult to conceal, and my expectations were high. I couldn’t wait to share my enthusiasm with like-minded people! Long story short, I felt like I was the oldest person behind the counter!

Almost every employee was in their early 20’s, lower management included. Age brings wisdom, yet it hardly seems to make a difference!

Thanks again for addressing this topic!

You’re welcome for sharing. Thank you for helping me see that I won’t be able to sell myself off the 15 years of compliance and regulatory experience I have from being in the aviation industry.

Age discrimination is definitely happening, again, look at every cannabis ad you see. And walk into any dispensary.

The truly sad part, this industry will continue to have turn over and their retention rates are going to continue to suck. Cannabis companies are going to spend a fortune on the turnover rate they are bound to see.

I’ll keep plugging along in my search. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Have you tried applying with any MSOs? I have been helping with recruiting for a company in MA that specifically wanted diversity in the candidates including age and they've hired some candidates we sent their way with no experience in the industry but had solid resumes and interviewed well.

I'm still relatively new, but after reading both your and Wendy's accounts I hope that sharing my recent experience might help a bit. What states are you looking at to break into?

Anthony, I have not applied or sought out assistance from any MSO’s. I’ve started a profile on most cannabis websites, featuring my skills, check out my profile on Vangst. Thank you for that lead/suggestion.

If you happen to review my profile, check out the marketing on this site as well, the only folks you see in an older demographic are the customers. I might add that understanding their demographic is vital to cannabis’ continued success. Their pocket books are different.

I have worked in a highly regulated industry where the Feds have come in and stopped maintenance, fined a business for their practices and we still pressed on. Having that kind of experience is priceless.

My experience with customers like Lockheed Martin, Space X, NASA and a host of others I could totally bore or impress you with 😉, is the kind of experience that is invaluable.

I am currently based in Tucson, AZ where the market continues to expand daily and I keep my fingers on the pulse via jobsites, job apps, the usual forums.

I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer to my comment. I would love to find a company who understands what someone with my skills brings to the table.

There are some really great points that are made in the posts above and in all honesty this is a trend that you see in a lot of spaces, not just Cannabis. What I will say is that the employees that you see in day-to-day interactions in the Cannabis space are typically going to be younger, because these are entry level positions (equivalent of fast food workers, waiters, grocery store associates). Another reason is because the industry is just moving out of infancy and into a more corporate and structured model for some companies. With that shift, I believe we will start seeing more seasoned professionals moving into the industry with invaluable skills like you have @Monica. I believe that older workers are the best investment for any company for any level position, but I don't think that the demographic knows how to really sell themselves to convince employers of that at every turn.

Key points to really push and ways to set yourself apart:

- Reliability

- Longevity and Dedication in previous employment

- Transferrable skills (really show how they apply to what is required in the Cannabis space)

- Always write a cover letter that projects your passion for the Cannabis Industry and enthusiasm to learn

- Professionalism (appearance and conduct)

We see a lot of young/inexperienced professionals in management roles in the Cannabis industry because they are the ones that risked a lot (financially, and professionally) to get in when the industry was still very questionable, and have moved up because of tenure and the payoff from that risk. This will gradually change as the industry grows and transforms. Network with professionals in the industry and show them how you can help them grow and improve.

Anthony-Medina-452024: Have you tried applying with any MSOs? I have been helping with recruiting for a company in MA that specifically wanted diversity in the candidates including age and they've hired some candidates we sent their way with no experience in the industry but had solid resumes and interviewed well.

I'm still relatively new, but after reading both your and Wendy's accounts I hope that sharing my recent experience might help a bit. What states are you looking at to break into?

Thank you Anthony for your help and feedback. I’m looking in Southeastern Pennsylvania. I’ve completed my Pennsylvania Heath Modules, and I know how to use the MJ FREEWAY PLATFORM. I was working for PharmaCann.

Thank you Nick for your reply. You are correct is in every industry, however you can still walkninto most businesses and see an older demographic, even in entry level jobs or positions that pay entry level.

I appreciate you taking the time to answer and give helpful feedback. I’ll keep being persistent, it’s what has made me successful to date.

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