Committee Blog: What The Recent Layoffs in the Cannabis Industry Mean
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Committee Blog: What The Recent Layoffs in the Cannabis Industry Mean

by NCIA’s Human Resources Committee

Many in our industry have heard about the recent layoffs announced by cannabis companies, including some of NCIA’s members, in the U.S. NCIA’s Human Resources Committee views the layoffs as an unfortunate but sometimes necessary part of business, and overall remain optimistic about the industry as a whole. 

On the face of it, the recent headlines regarding cannabis industry layoffs appear grim. One of California’s best-known cannabis brands announced a reduction of 20% of its labor force. Another grower is reported to have had a similarly sized cut. Listening to the news coverage, one might have the impression that the industry as a whole is going through a massive negative upheaval. This could not be further from the truth. 

At the same time, we have seen hiring trends in 2019 that are overwhelmingly positive. According to an article in Forbes earlier this year, the cannabis industry added almost 65,000 jobs in 2018, with a substantially greater amount expected for this year. Clearly, cannabis is a significant growth engine for employment across the U.S. Add in Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states legalizing cannabis for medical or adult-use, and the numbers continue to grow. The state of the cannabis industry is strong!

Since its founding nearly a decade ago, NCIA has dedicated itself to promoting the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry. During this time, the industry workforce has swelled to over 200,000 people, and new people are joining us daily from coast to coast. NCIA’s HR Committee, which is comprised of human resource practitioners devoted to bringing best practices to the cannabis industry, carefully monitors hiring trends and other people-related developments.  

NCIA’s Human Resources Committee regrets any job losses for their impact on the lives of employees and their families.  History has shown that layoffs often happen in high growth industries. These reductions in force occur when companies who have over-invested ahead of anticipated growth must adjust their labor counts to rapidly shifting business dynamics. While painful in the short term for employer and employee alike, this represents a chance for other companies to acquire top talent, and for that top talent to secure new and exciting opportunities. 

NCIA’s HR Committee is unwavering in its faith that the cannabis industry will continue to grow as an economic force in this country for many decades to come, and that these short-term changes will make the industry better, stronger and more resilient in the long run.  

There are many ways you can get involved and help. Attend NCIA’s national trade shows and regional networking events to get your foot in the door of our dynamic industry. Start a business. Educate yourself on the latest issues, and contact your congressperson. Whatever road you choose to take, we look forward to welcoming you as our partner on this amazing journey!

Be sure to check out these other resources from NCIA’s Human Resources Committee Members:

NCIA HR Committee Blog Posts

NCIA’s Cannabis Industry Voice Podcast Episodes: 

Member Blog: The Economics Of Trespass Grows And The Legal Industry

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