Before you read my “10 Common Compensation Mistakes” article, read “6 Cannabis Business Lessons We Learned Too Late”

Fred WhittleseyCannabis Compensation Consultants, Conscious Compensation: The Impact Compensation Blog

This is a very well-written article, and has two important points relating to compensation, underscoring my message in the previous post here “Beware the Fake Compensation Survey Data

The article appears in today’s Cannabis Business Times, authored by Loren Picard, CEO of High Desert Flower, Inc. in Oregon.

Here are two points that underscore the compensation challenges facing cannabis entrepreneurs:

1. Be wary of “experts.”

The order in which you learn your hard-knock lessons depends on your circumstances. Sooner or later, you learn not to trust experts with steering your business decisions. Whether lawyers, accountants, consultants, or your stoner uncle, do not take advice without a heavy dose of skepticism. Take the advice as input into your decision process. Ask around for multiple opinions. Even on a hard and fast legal matter on which you are being advised has no maneuvering room, allow for the possibility the expert might be wrong. 
In our experience, there are no experts in legal cannabis, just a bunch of people in this newly created legal industry with differing levels of ignorance. Illicit-market operators going legit have a lot to offer, but keep in mind they might not have any experience operating in a regulated environment. Additionally, newly minted experts, as a rule, do not have significant expertise in newly morphing industries.

And the second, an excerpt from 2. Be mindful of the most expensive inputs into your business.

Labor also is a highly disruptive expense. If you overpay your employees, then when you can’t meet payroll (which, for many in this industry, is inevitable), you will lose the very people you need to run the business. This is especially true in cannabis, a developing industry subject to so many risks. The overall comp package is more important to most people than whether they are maximizing base salary. Equity participation and other benefits go a long way and give a deserved sense of ownership to all employees.