The Importance of Diversity in Cannabis

Gender Diversity

Women in the cannabis industry have been able to launch whole companies and run successful businesses, something they are often not given a chance to do, yet have proven themselves very capable of. As a newer and more modern industry, women have been able to get into cannabis at the ground level and hold their own. Women make up 37% of cannabis executives, which is an enormous percentage compared to the national average of 22%. The cannabis industry does an excellent job of bringing women to the table, but there is room for improvement.

When you have women at all levels of the cannabis industry, you are opening the door to more opportunities for diverse and often unheard perspectives. Bringing women’s voices to the discussion and considering their opinions is a huge benefit to your business, especially when considering the number of female cannabis consumers. Women make up 57% of CBD consumers and 47% of traditional THC users–a considerable portion of the market!

By not considering the female perspective and including women’s voices in the conversation, you could miss opportunities to grow your consumer base. Remember to go beyond just thinking of the female perspective, but hiring women and gender non-conforming folks who can reduce the chances you’ll end up in an echo chamber full of unconscious bias.

Racial Diversity

Another echo chamber that we find in most industries, especially in leadership, is where only white voices are heard. Cannabis is striving to bring racial equity to the industry at all levels, but we are not there yet. Many states and legislators have enacted equity programs to accompany legalization, though none are old enough for us to see how effective they are. However, on a positive note, with each new state pass cannabis legalization, we see more and more equity opportunities and calls for racial justice within the industry.

These moves towards equality in the cannabis industry are appropriate when considering only 19% of all cannabusinesses have owners/stakeholders belonging to a racial minority. As a modern industry, which can operate in new and exciting ways, it’s essential that we are also taking these steps to ensure we see diversity at all levels. Black and Hispanic individuals have been excluded from the cannabis industry in many ways, but most detrimental is the unjust policing of black and brown citizens.

The ACLU found that Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than their white counterparts. Due to the over-policing of black and brown citizens, we have lost voices of color in this industry when we need to be hearing from them the most. A diverse workforce promotes innovation, and having multiple points of view for any situation allows you to think more creatively and reach a broader audience.

Intersectional Diversity

Women of color have shown time and time again that they are champions of progress and achievement in this industry. This is just one sub-group that brings intersectional diversity to the table. As an industry, we need to focus on folks who are part of multiple minorities, like the LGBTQIA and indigenous (BIPOC) communities. Intersectional diversity ensures you see the whole picture and allows for more lived experiences being brought into the conversation.

How to Hire Diverse Cannabis Candidates

Diversity is needed at all levels of the cannabis industry to reduce the unconscious bias that grows within a business and unknowingly creates echo chambers. By bringing diverse candidates to your roles, you will be opening up your business to opportunities to learn from them and grow as a whole. Initiatives like SEED were put in place specifically to hire individuals from minority groups most affected by the war on drugs and make equality in cannabis a reality.

Remember, it’s not just about hiring diverse people; it’s about listening to them and bringing their voices to the table. With the freedom to share ideas and opportunities, diverse teams will ultimately bring your company more trust from consumers, better creative solutions, and success developing for wider audiences.

If you’re interested in making a move to a career in cannabis, Growing Talent is here to help. With more than 25 years in the recruitment space for new verticals, Growing Talent is well equipped to help you navigate this budding industry. We’ll connect you to a network of top minds in cannabis today and help you find your perfect fit within the world of cannabis.

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