AUGUST 11, 2023

Unveiling Transferable Skills in the Cannabis and Psychedelics Sector

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Do you have the desire to break into the working world of cannabis, but are unsure how to proceed due to your lack of industry-related experience? If so, keep on reading, and we’ll show you exactly how to show off your transferrable skills from previous positions to tap into this exciting market. 

Thriving in a Unique Landscape 

Sure, most cannabis businesses would love to employ someone with prior industry knowledge. But the truth is, because the cannabis industry is so young, it’s not always easy finding people with direct experience related to the field. Here's how it works in your favor: focus on developing a competency-based format for your cannabis resume rather than an experience-based one. When you create a competency-based resume, your talents will take precedence over your experience. Transferable skills are therefore crucial.  

So what are transferrable skills, exactly? Typically, these are skills you’ve gained from previous employment that you can apply to a new potential position, regardless of the industry. Basically, they help provide a bridge between the experience you have and that which you are trying to build, by highlighting commonalities. 

The first step of the process is to assess your existing skill set and identify those which could be valuable for growing business the cannabis and psychedelics sector. These can be soft or hard skills. Leadership, strategic planning, marketing, finance, regulatory compliance, and project management are all examples of skills that can be applicable across various industries, including cannabis and psychedelics. The fact is that this industry is unlike any other. With a continuously changing legal landscape, revolutionary research, and an ongoing shift in public perception, this dynamic field needs people who are adaptable and forward-thinking. Transferable skills, therefore, play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between traditional backgrounds and the demands of this burgeoning sector. 

Key Transferable Skills for the Cannabis and Psychedelics Industry 

1.  Regulatory Compliance:  

To manage the complex web of legalities surrounding cannabis and psychedelics, you need to have meticulous attention to detail and the ability to adapt to ever-evolving laws. As a result, any experience working in a highly regulated sector, such as pharmaceuticals or finance, is extremely transferrable to this highly regulated industry. Banking, pharmaceutical, alcohol, and tobacco industries, for example, have been around much longer than regulated cannabis. And compliance is an extremely critical issue in the cannabis space, so if you’ve worked in any of these areas, show your potential employer that you’ll be able to provide their business with relatable business perspectives and best practices that can benefit their workplace and complement their staff.  

2. Research and Development (R&D):  

Innovation is at the heart of the cannabis and psychedelics industry, which makes R&D an essential component of the business. If this sector interests you, highlight your strong analytical skills, problem-solving abilities, and experience in scientific research to emphasize how you can bring fresh perspectives to product development and optimization. 

4. Sales:  

Do you have a talent for establishing relationships and building a rapport with potential customers? If so, use this skill set if you’d like to try your hand at a position in sales. After all, sales is all about relationship building, establishing trust, and offering ongoing value to your customers. The ability to not only build those relationships, but also retain and grow them is key, particularly in an industry like cannabis and psychedelics where competition is continually increasing. 

5. Supply Chain Management:  

Managing the complexities of the cannabis and psychedelics supply chain, from cultivation to distribution, requires people that are skilled in logistics, planning, and resource optimization. If this is something that interests you, any transferable skills you may have from industries like agriculture and logistics can be invaluable here. 

6. Marketing and Branding:  

Businesses in the cannabis and psychedelics industry are often looking for skilled, effective marketers to increase consumer demand, expedite purchases and generate revenue. Creativity and a keen understanding of consumer behavior are skills that are essential for successful branding and marketing in this competitive field. Show your potential employer how your knowledge of consumer products or digital marketing can offer unique perspectives to their business. 

7. Community Engagement:  

As an industry that often faces public scrutiny, community engagement and education are vital in shaping its future. If this is your area of expertise, highlight the work you’ve done in enhancing a company's social responsibility initiatives. Great transferrable skills are, for instance, having worked with non-profit organizations and charities, experience in building strong relationships with the local community, hosting educational workshops and public forums, and having a healthy relationship with law enforcement agencies and local government officials. All these aspects are crucial for the long-term success and acceptance of the cannabis and psychedelics industry, and demonstrating a commitment to responsible business practices.  

8. Finance 

Banking is one of the biggest hurdles in the cannabis and psychedelics sector. Because it is so extensively regulated, businesses need to deal with a maze of regulatory regulations, compliance procedures, and reporting requirements, which often causes delays and administrative difficulties. Mastercard’s recent decision to ban cannabis sales on its debit cards in the US is a perfect illustration of the challenges encountered in obtaining dependable banking and payment services. So, if you have a strong understanding of accounting principles, financial analysis, and risk management, use these transferrable skills to highlight how you could help your potential employer navigate the complex, unique regulations and financial issues of their organization. 

The Bottom Line 

As the cannabis and psychedelics industry continues to blossom, so does the need for skilled professionals who can drive innovation, create sustainable growth, and maintain compliance with evolving regulations. Does this sound like you? At CanMar, we believe that building a diverse and inclusive workforce is the key to unlocking the full potential of this exciting industry. By recognizing the value of your transferable skills, you can help us lead this industry forward, making a positive impact on both consumers and society as a whole. Join us on this exciting journey of growth and exploration in the cannabis and psychedelics industry. 


If you’re interested in making a move to a career in cannabis and psychedelics, we’re here to help: Find the career of your dreams.

Monique Demes

Copywriter at CanMar

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