Member Blog: What’s new in Cannabis Compensation – CannaComp Update for 2020
/ Education

Member Blog: What’s new in Cannabis Compensation – CannaComp Update for 2020

By Matt Finkelstein, BlueFire Cannabis by FutureSense

Opening up the new year, NCIA and FutureSense LLC released results for the inaugural Cannabis Compensation Study. The collaborative effort sought to uncover trends in compensation and establish benchmark data, creating a singular industry-wide resource for all to use. With the initial report released, we have some exciting updates to share for the coming year’s development.

Culture Shift

The cannabis industry at-large has been transitioning from the black/traditional/legacy market to a legal one and understandably still maintains tinges of a culture of secrecy. Emerging markets also tend to be initially trepidatious about sharing critical business info, so this is especially prevalent in this line of work.  

As the market expands and evolves, the need to understand trends and have accurate data supporting it is becoming more and more important. Cannabis companies can spend between 65-70% of their expenses on payroll. Being even 5% on- or off-the-mark can mean make-or-break in this highly volatile industry.

More and more cannabis companies are realizing the value of this type of market data. It is useful for establishing competitive compensation packages, setting growth trajectories, and managing tight budgets. To establish this data and reap the benefits of its findings, companies are becoming more comfortable with some transparency via an independent 3rd party service provider.

Expertise, Confidentiality, and Anonymity

FutureSense LLC brings over 30 years of compensation expertise across multiple industries. We worked with NCIA to establish a confidential and compliant salary survey that follows all Department of Justice and Department of Labor regulations to protect and ensure anonymity.  

Our efforts producing the Cannabis Compensation Survey in 2019 laid out a solid foundation to continue to grow and expand the project. A couple of the key takeaways from the survey include:

  • Nearly 50 participating companies
  • Reportable data for 80+ positions in 12 job families
  • More than 100 additional job title benchmarks established

Growth and Development in 2020 and Beyond

In 2020, we are expanding the project by opening enrollment for submissions throughout the year, and by bringing in supporting partners such as recruiting firms and cannabis payroll applications.

Expanding participation will allow us to present data via demographic breakouts such as:

  • Industry sector
  • Location/region
  • Size (employee count, revenue, etc.)

We will also collect and report on benefits, incentives, sales, and equity compensation. We believe this will provide participating companies with an even deeper perspective into their own business practices and needs.

New Names

FutureSense LLC has recently established a cannabis-specific brand to support our on-going work and dedication to this industry. We brought on BlueFireHR – a human resources services firm with years of experience serving cannabis clients and other industries – and formed BlueFire Cannabis by FutureSense. BlueFire Cannabis will now be the main project partner alongside NCIA for the Cannabis Compensation Study.  We’re excited to announce our other supporting partners in the very near future.


All cannabis companies with 10 or more individuals are encouraged to participate. We also welcome inquiries from other professional service firms or ancillary services about opportunities for supporting partnership.  

Please visit or reach out to to participate.


NCIA Board of Directors Announces 2020 Board Officers

Related Posts

Join the movement

NCIA is leading the cannabis industry's unified and coordinated campaign to ensure our business sector is treated fairly and has the opportunity to reach its full potential. Now - more than ever - is the time to invest in your business and the future of the industry by becoming a member.

This site uses cookies. By using this site or closing this notice, you agree to the use of cookies and our privacy policy.