Diversity in the Cannabis Industry; Leveling the Employee Playing Field

Taking a Look at Diversity in the Cannabis Workplace

Americans are more eager than ever to break into the cannabis industry, and they’re filling every position that comes along with it. Whether they seek the title of Founder/CEO of a brand-new company or a more modest job like entry-level trimmer or edibles manufacturer, there are plenty of jobs ready to fill. But just who are filling these positions? And is it enough to promote diversity in the cannabis industry? Today, we’ll take a closer look at cannabis industry employment across the nation to determine what the cannabis industry is doing to level the employment playing field.

Gender Equality in the Cannabis Industry

No other industry promotes gender equality quite like the cannabis industry. According to Marijuana Business Daily, more women fill executive positions within cannabis companies than any other sector. Their most recent report shows that women head almost 37 percent of cannabis companies as opposed to only 21 percent in all other areas combined. And, while this certainly isn’t an ideal 50/50 split, it does highlight the progressive nature of the cannabis industry as a whole.

Gender equality within the cannabis industry does more than remove the glass ceiling; it promotes a better work/life balance within the sector, as well. Companies headed by women increase their ROI by almost two percent annually and increase the company’s equity by about seven percent annually. They also retain employees longer, witness diverse company culture, and offer more work/life balance. Essentially, when women are at the helm of cannabis companies, there will be more diversity in the cannabis industry.

Minorities and Diversity in the Cannabis Space

Unfortunately, not all who qualify for cannabis industry employment will take it. Despite a real effort to promote diversity in the field, many minorities refuse to involve themselves in the industry. Much of this stems from a history of cannabis prohibition in an unjust drug war. To this end, many feel that the prohibition model places an unfair burden on Latinos and people of color. For example, though Caucasians and people of color use cannabis at roughly the same rate, POC are almost four times more likely to be tried and convicted of petty cannabis offenses. This trend not only blocks them from entering the cannabis space but deters others from doing so, as well. This tends to be true regardless of a past criminal record.

Though some states have legislation to promote more racial diversity among cannabis businesses, minorities are slow to adopt. This is likely due to a profound lack of faith in government programs and law enforcement agencies. Therefore, while diversity legislation is theoretically wise, it may block entry of some to promote diversity. This considerably slows cannabis industry expansion in some places.


Cannabis is an entirely new industry ripe with fresh opportunities. States with legal cannabis witness a massive uptick in residency as job seekers flock to claim their piece of the cannabis pie. According to the book, The Pot Rush: Is Legalized Marijuana a Positive Local Amenity?, Colorado’s population increased by more than 20,000 people per year after medical cannabis legalization.  Moreover, Colorado’s population increased by another 15,000 people each year since recreational legalization in 2014. But, despite a large number of cannabis job seekers, many feel there is still a lack of diversity in the cannabis industry.

Are you ready to work in the cannabis industry? Contact us to start planning your path toward cannabis industry success.

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At M&F Talent, we know that the horticulture, hydroponics, and cannabis industries are defined by the outstanding people and best practices that make these markets thrive. As such, we hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity, knowledge, and communication in our recruiting practice.

M&F Talent’s mission is to cultivate professionalism across horticulture, hydroponics, and cannabis by instilling our values within our network. Moving forward, and in union with our clients, candidates, and peers, we will help lay the foundation for industry growth and success.

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