Clear-Sighted Cannabis Strategies

Legalized North American cannabis markets have hit their share of speed bumps in these early days. Learning from those experiences, executives in the US and Canada now aim to flourish by readdressing strategic challenges—including talent management.

The short history of the legalized cannabis markets in the US and Canada has been marked by rapidly changing market dynamics. In this article, Caldwell Partners executive search consultants outline the market development stages and opportunities, with an emphasis on leadership imperatives, such as required talent profiles, compensation strategies in a developing market, and talent management practices during business transition. Included topics:

With cannabis legal in Canada and 11 US states, a “gold rush” mentality ensued in early 2019, then fizzled by late summer, as profits proved elusive. After significant capital spending, investors continue to call for tighter business controls and a show of profitability.

The market potential remains huge. By one estimate, the legal cannabis market in North America is expected to grow at a 28% CAGR, to US$35 billion by 2023.

By fall 2019, a sector reset and redirection is underway. The wide-open cannabis market still has no dominant player. Canadian and US companies alike sharpen their strategies to win market share, with growing attention paid to the outsized opportunity in the US.

As founders and early sector leaders step aside, cannabis companies in the US and Canada revisit their talent strategies, consider talent upgrades, and build out teams. Beyond the CEO and CFO, functional leadership in demand includes strategy, compliance, R&D, M&A, investor relations & capital markets, and marketing & branding professionals, among others.

A cannabis sector cash crunch amplifies compensation challenges, with later hires being awarded less generous compensation packages—and stoking some office tension.

Cannabis companies grapple with the talent management challenges of rapid growth and business transition, as well as recruiting from related industries.

Download our latest paper for a look at how to navigate the early challenges present in the cannabis sector.

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