For many people, networking doesn’t come naturally, but it is a skill that can be learned. It’s one of those things in life that adheres to the adage – the more you do it, the better you get at it. Whether you want to find a job in the cannabis industry or strengthen your business’ cannabis industry supply chain, effectively networking with other professionals can help you reach your goals.
Today, one of the best ways to build your business (or career) in the cannabis industry is by networking with other cannabis professionals. Cannabis is an industry that has grown exponentially in recent years, but it’s still very young. Meeting cannabis professionals and building relationships with them – both in person and virtually – is still a critical part of establishing and expanding your own cannabis business and brand.
To help you start networking in the cannabis industry, following are tips to set yourself up for success.
Get Ready to Network
The first step to networking successfully is to do your homework and get prepared. There are four main parts of networking preparation: research, establishing your online profile, developing your messages, and creating your takeaway. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Extensive research is required before you start networking in any industry, and this includes the cannabis industry. That means you need to start learning about cannabis business operations, licensing, the supply chain, laws, terminology, and more. The Cannabiz Media blog is a great place to learn about cannabis licensing!
2. Establish Your Online Profile
When someone wants to learn about another professional, a brand, or a business, the first place they typically go is the internet. Specifically, they search for that person, brand, or business using Google or their preferred search engine. Another first-stop when trying to learn about a person is LinkedIn and other social media sites.
With that said, what do people find when they search for you online? What links come up on the first page of Google search results when you search for your name, your brand name, or your business name? And what if someone searches for you on LinkedIn or cannabis-specific social media sites? Do the results accurately reflect you, your brand, and your business? Are the results what you want people to find?
Now is the time to start publishing content, updating your website, and creating an amazing LinkedIn Profile so anyone who looks for you online finds what you want them to! For cannabis businesses, you can also claim your license in the Cannabiz Media License Database so anyone searching for your business finds the details about you and your brand that you want them to know.
3. Develop Your Messages
What will you say to people when you start networking? You need to be prepared with an ice-breaker introduction and craft an elevator pitch that piques people’s interest.
This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. You need to craft multiple introductions and elevator pitches for different types of people who you might network with. For example, you wouldn’t say the same things to a potential investor that you would to a potential service provider for your business.
4. Create Your Takeaway
You always need to have a tangible takeaway available to give to key contacts when you meet them face-to-face. If you don’t have a tangible takeaway, you run the risk of being forgotten.
Imagine you’re at a cannabis industry conference and meet dozens of people. You won’t be able to remember all of them when you get home, and you won’t be able to follow up with them to further build relationships with them – unless they gave you a takeaway like a business card or brochure.
The same is true for the people who meet you at networking events. They may not remember you or know how to contact you after the event unless you give them a takeaway. Therefore, create business cards and/or a brochure – even if your cannabis business isn’t operational yet. You need to give people a tangible way to remember you.
And don’t forget to ask other people for their business cards and brochures as well. Use them to take notes about people so you don’t forget the details when it’s time to follow up.
Make a Plan
Don’t jump into networking without a strategy and a plan to execute that strategy. Without a networking strategy and plan, you’ll waste a lot of time and money.
Your plan should establish clear goals for each networking opportunity or event. For example, you may set a goal to speak with a certain number of cultivation license holders or to meet a specific cannabis industry influencer.
In order to develop your networking plans, you’ll need to research each event you attend (either in person or online) in advance and get an idea of who will be there, what the focus of the event is, and who the event is for. This is crucial so you can tailor your networking plan and your elevator pitch to be as relevant and useful as possible.
Practice and Prepare
Don’t start networking until you’ve practiced your ice-breaker introduction and elevator pitch for a variety of people. Tailor your conversations to each event and person, and be mindful of presenting yourself as professionally as possible.
One of the biggest challenges for many people when it comes to networking is starting conversations with strangers. Here are some simple conversation starters that can help you feel more confident when you approach a new person:
- How long have you been in the cannabis industry?
- What do you do?
- Where do you work?
- Where are you from?
- What’s your favorite thing about the cannabis industry?
- What’s your biggest challenge working in this industry?
- What made you decide to come to this event?
- Do you attend a lot of cannabis industry events?
- Have you come to this event before? Last year? Last month?
- How did you get into the cannabis industry? What did you do before?
- Have you been to this venue before?
Once you start a conversation, don’t forget that when you’re networking, you should try to build relationships, not business opportunities. Try to be useful and helpful without focusing on closing a deal.
In addition, think about your body language and actions while you’re networking. Avoid the food, so you don’t have to talk with food in your mouth. If name tags were given, wear yours. Ask questions, smile, and make eye contact.
Practice, practice, practice!
Seek out Networking Opportunities
Use social media before and after you attend a networking event to get even more from your efforts. Connect with event organizers and key people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so on. Share content related to the event, use the event hashtags, and tag people in your posts. Also, publish pictures, videos, and messages from the event.
In other words, use social media to enhance and expand your face-to-face networking efforts before, during, and after each event you attend.
While you’re at a cannabis conference, seek out networking opportunities. Attend any scheduled networking events during the conference, but don’t stop there. Be present at lunches and dinners, speak with people on the expo floor, and make a point of not attending every educational session. If you’re in sessions all day, you’ll have less time to meet and talk to people.
Follow Up and Leverage the Mere Exposure Effect
Did you know there is a psychological principle called the mere exposure effect (also called the familiarity effect) that says repeatedly exposing someone to a thing or idea (or you) increases the chance that they’ll like it?
Based on this theory, following up is critical to networking success. Even if someone doesn’t instantly respond to your follow-up, by repeatedly exposing them to you, your content, and the value you bring to them (without overdoing it), they’ll grow to like you more. Ultimately, that can lead to business relationships, opportunities, and sales.
Therefore, at the end of each day at a networking event, take some time to debrief. Review the people you spoke with and make a plan to follow up. Follow and engage with them on social media and send personalized email messages to continue your conversations.
If you don’t have time to email everyone you connected with at a networking event right away, make sure you jot notes on the back of each business card or in a document so you remember who they were, what you talked about, and topics you want to discuss with them in the future.
Ideally, you should follow up with each person within a few days of meeting them or within a week at the most. In your follow-up messages, mention something to remind them of who you are and try to set up phone calls or in-person meetings with important business connections.
The key to following up is to be personable and authentic. That means you shouldn’t send template messages to everyone you met through your email marketing software. Instead, send personalized messages directly to each person.
After you connect with each person on social media, start sharing and commenting on their posts. As the mere exposure effect says, it’s important to repeatedly expose people to you and the value you bring in order to increase the chances that they’ll grow to like you.
Importantly, don’t oversell. You’ll get better results in the long run if you if focus on building relationships. The time to sell will come later.
Key Takeaways about Networking in the Cannabis Industry
If you follow the tips above and focus on doing your research, making a plan, preparing, practicing, and following up, you’ll be on your way to networking success. To learn even more, be sure to read 5 Ways to be Successful at Cannabis Business Meetings and Networking Events.
Remember, the cannabis industry is just like other industries when it comes to business networking. Understand the industry, learn the challenges cannabis professionals face, and present yourself as a helpful resource. In time, you’ll build relationships through networking that turn into lucrative career and business opportunities.
To find cannabis license holders for networking, subscribe to the Cannabiz Media License Database. Schedule a demo to see how it can help you reach your goals.
Originally published 6/18/19. Updated 7/31/20.
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company offering, copywriting, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, and strategic branding services. She spent the first half of her 25-year career directing marketing programs for AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more as well as small businesses around the world. She has been working with clients in the cannabis industry since 2015. Susan has written 11 marketing-related books, including the highly popular Content Marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing, and she is a popular marketing and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Career Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Women on Business, an award-winning blog for business women. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A in management and strategy.
How to make a cannabis-infused lemony hemp shandy
Cannabis beverages are a growing trend, and it’s easy to understand why. From CBD-infused coffee to THC microdose sodas, there are seemingly endless flavors and styles that can be used to make stoney signature drinks in place of traditional cocktails.
While no one is trying to take away our precious margaritas or frosé, reducing alcohol consumption in general is increasingly popular among people of all ages. With physical and mental well-being seen top priority, cannabis drinks can satisfy the thirst for delicious beverages that provide relaxation without hangovers or added calories.
Part of the fun of cocktails is the element of craft that goes into them. Of course, the many ready-to-drink cannabis beverages can be enjoyed on their own as an alternative to alcoholic tipples, but for those who crave the ritual of mixing something unique in their home bar — or for those who want to enjoy a complex drink that equal more than the sum of its parts — these recipes are for you.
The concoctions below use a combination of pre-made infused beverages and tinctures. Any type of tincture, such as full-spectrum hemp, CBD or THC, will work, though we are partial to nano tinctures that are made specifically for beverages since they mix in easily and don’t change the flavor profile.
How to make delicious cannabis-infused cocktails
Before you start mixing, there’s a few tried-and-true tips you should have at your disposal for the best canna-cocktail experience:
- After following a recipe, periodically taste and adjust the amounts of each ingredient to create your ideal balance.
- Add your own flare: play around with garnishes to put a personalized stamp on homemade drinks. Try anything from cinnamon sticks to fresh figs.
Why lemony hemp shandy
A shandy is a cocktail that traditionally combines lemonade and beer for a refreshing drink. This updated version uses hemp infused lemonade and subs in kombucha for the beer. Kombucha is a fermented tea full of probiotics with a tangy flavor and slightly effervescent texture; it’s easy to make at home, and can also be found at most grocery stores in a variety of flavors. Virtually any flavor will work for this recipe, tasty options include lavender, citrus, mango , and even spicy flavors like ginger or cayenne.
- 6 oz infused lemonade or regular lemonade plus tincture of choice
- 6 oz Kombucha of choice
- Lemon slices
- Combine ingredients in a tall glass over ice, garnish with lemon slices.
Product we used: Kickback Hemp Infused Lemony Lemonade
Only five grams of sugar per bottle, Kickback’s Hemp Infused Lemonade feels light and fresh for an afternoon in the sun.
Photos by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
What role could Kamala Harris play in cannabis legalization as vice president?
In hindsight, Kamala Harris’ infamous 2019 radio interview with New York’s hit morning show, “The Breakfast Club,” told us everything.
During the discussion she spoke of her belief that cannabis should be legalized, the need for better research on the plant’s impact on brain development, its undeniable medical efficacy, concern about cannabis-impaired drivers, and that illegal cannabis has incarcerated too many young men of color.
This interview raised a few eyebrows when she admitted to have once smoked cannabis (“a long time ago”) which provided fodder for late night jokes. Others noted that she built a career using cannabis to put people in jail, and then joked about enjoying it herself.
One thing is certain: Kamala Harris, shaped by growing up with a Jamaican/South Asian lineage and a career shaped by the law and order world of the plant, seems comfortable talking about cannabis.
Now, she’s been tapped to be Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election. For many, she is the ideal running mate for Biden.
But while many believe Harris is a smart and safe choice for Biden, others, particularly those in the criminal justice and cannabis communities, are conflicted. Some view Harris’ prosecutorial past as someone simply carrying out the duties of her job while navigating the complexities of being a woman of color in law enforcement and politics. Others see her as an engaged general of the War on Drugs and a tough-on-crime prosecutor responsible for sending non-violent drug offenders to prison.
Similar to the examination of what could potentially change Biden’s views on legalization, we took a close look at Harris’ record on cannabis to try to illustrate a cautious picture of what her potential role in the future of cannabis legalization will be.
A complicated past: from “top cop” to the MORE Act
Harris’ political career began in 2004 when she was elected to be San Francisco’s district attorney. Once in office, Harris attempted to cultivate a reputation as a progressive prosecutor who was “smart on crime.” However, throughout her time as the DA, the felony conviction rate rose from 52% to 67%, and Harris became notorious for cracking down on gangs and drug dealers. At the time, Harris opposed cannabis legalization, and her office oversaw more than 1,900 cannabis convictions.
In 2011, Harris became the highest-ranking law enforcement official in California when she was elected attorney general. Preceding her victory was a contentious election that focused heavily on her refusal as a district attorney to pursue the death penalty for a man convicted of killing a police officer. This decision followed her for years and almost ruined her political career. Her precarious position entering her new role can help explain her mixed bag of both reformist policies and a pattern of upholding the status quo during her tenure as attorney general.
In 2010, Harris opposed Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would have legalized cannabis for adults over 21. For the next five years, she opposed cannabis legalization. Between the years of 2011 and 2016, at least 1,560 people were sent to prison for cannabis-related offenses, a fact that her debate opponents used against her, derailed momentum in her campaign, further confused her cannabis record, and became one of the most provocative, watchable, and dramatic moments of all the debates. In 2019, in the midst of a crowded, heated Democratic primary, Harris’ past in the criminalization of cannabis while serving as attorney general was continually put on full display.
But Harris came out in support of decriminalization in 2015 during her second term as attorney general. While this marked a significant change in her position on cannabis, she still refused to support adult-use legalization. Critics argued that her position did not go far enough, since, at the time, a handful of states already had adult-use markets, and the majority of Americans supported legalization.
In a 2017 speech, she said “While I don’t believe in legalizing all drugs, as a career prosecutor I just don’t, we need to do the smart thing, the right thing, and finally decriminalize marijuana.”
In 2016, Kamala Harris won her Senate race and became California’s first Black senator and the first South Asian American to serve in the U.S. Senate — the same election California voted to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Since she took office in 2017, Harris has generally aligned herself with the Senate’s progressive members, voting alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders 93% of the time. As a district attorney and attorney general, Harris’ role was to uphold and enforce the law. As a U.S. senator, her job duties shifted from law-enforcing to law-making.
Harris supported adult-use cannabis legalization in 2018 when she cosponsored Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize cannabis at the federal level. The same year, Harris, along with Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions demanding he stop blocking medical cannabis research efforts.
“Right now in this country people are being arrested, being prosecuted, and end up spending time in jail or prison all because of their use of a drug that otherwise should be considered legal,” Harris said in a 2018 press release. “Making marijuana legal at the federal level is the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. I know this as a former prosecutor and I know it as a senator.”
In her 2019 book, The Truths We Hold, Harris details her support for cannabis legalization and the need to expunge all non-violent cannabis-related records. She wrote “We need to expunge non-violent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”
That same year, alongside Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Harris introduced the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. The MORE Act decriminalizes cannabis at the federal level, expunges cannabis-related convictions, invests resources into communities most disproportionately impacted by cannabis criminalization, and establishes a 5% federal cannabis tax. The bill is just beginning to move through the legislative process.
With each new role Harris occupied, from district attorney to U.S. senator, her position on cannabis evolved. Far removed from her days as a prosecutor, Harris is now a full-blown supporter of cannabis legalization and a vocal proponent of ending the failed War on Drugs. Whether her shift is the result of listening to her critics, personal growth, political opportunism, or some combination of the three, Harris’ views on cannabis reflect a major shift in her approach to criminal justice. Harris is now in touch with the vast majority of Americans who support legalization.
Not debatable: Harris vs. Pence
No analysis of Harris’ positions on cannabis would be complete without a comparison to the policy positions of her opponent. In this case, it is impossible to do an apples-to-apples comparison since incumbent Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t even consider the issue.
The former governor of Indiana is a longtime and fierce opponent of cannabis legalization and an apostle of the “pot is a gateway drug” theory. While leading the Hoosier state, Pence opposed a provision in a criminal justice reform bill that lowered the penalties for cannabis possession charges. During his time in Congress, from 2001 to 2013, he was a reliable “no” vote on any meaningful cannabis legislation.
Pence does, at times, pick peculiar and inappropriate opportunities to express his opposition to legalization. This propensity was on full display, when, at the height of contentious negotiations regarding the recent Covid-19 relief funding, he went on television and falsely stated that the Democrats bill “mentions marijuana more than it mentions jobs.”
When Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his Vice President, he chose someone who he aligned with politically but was willing to push him on issues where he has been historically weak. As someone of Jamaican and South Asian descent, a woman, and over two decades younger, Harris fills in crucial gaps that have previously been points of criticism of Biden’s candidacy.
As people contemplate Harris’ potential influence in a Biden administration, legalization advocates cannot help but wonder if she can chip away at his seemingly intractable, anti-legalization stance. Compared to President Donald Trump’s confusing and dismal cannabis policy positions, Biden, while not supporting full adult-use legalization, does champion federal decriminalization, automatic expungement of cannabis-related convictions, and medical legalization.
In the end, nobody really knows how and when Harris might launch an internal campaign to change the boss’s mind should they make it to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In July, when the “veepstakes” was in full throttle, Harris indicated that she had no intention to push the candidate on cannabis legalization. But when he had the job, Biden forced the shift of the Obama administration policy on gay marriage with just one appearance on Meet the Press.
Featured image by Michael F. Hiatt/Shutterstock
Temescal Wellness Destroys All Quarantined Vape Cartridges
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Temescal Wellness, the life cannabis company, a vertically integrated Cannabis Company Headquartered in Massachusetts, announced its decision to destroy $2.6 million of previously quarantined vape cartridges, which comes on the heels of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC’s) recent decision to allow these quarantined cartridge sales to resume after retesting.
“We got together as a team, and asked, what’s the right thing to do here? We’ve always followed our safety and sanitation standards throughout the growing, processing, manufacturing, and selling of our cannabis products,” says CEO Ted Rebholz, “and although the State’s vaping ban did negatively impact our business, we support the assertion that there may be testing parameter gaps. Importantly we recognize this is not suitable for our guests. Our team members are some of our most important customers, and the consensus was clear, these products are not representative of the brand we’ve built.”
“The right thing to do.” Linda Katz, VP Sales, and Marketing added, “Although vaping remains a popular method of consumption, since the vaping ban last year, we have seen a shift in consumer behavior. Vape sales are down (- 24%), and the consumption of flower remains consistent while the use of edibles and concentrates continue to increase. Our customers come to our stores with the confidence that they know our product quality is consistent and produced with high standards. We’ve always had this at the core of our company’s values, and that doesn’t change when faced with tough decisions. We intend to maintain our focus on providing products to our guests that improve their quality of life, and continuing to be good stewards of the communities we operate in.”
A full range of products, including a variety of new vape cartridges, are in stock at all Temescal locations, including their newest adult-use store in Framingham, just off the Mass Turnpike (I 90), exit 13.
About Temescal Wellness
Temescal Wellness is the life cannabis company. With locations in Framingham, Hudson and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, Temescal Wellness offers a diverse choice of extraordinary quality, 100% lab tested, plant-based cannabis products (edibles, flower, concentrates, pre-roll), along with the personal guidance to help amplify the happiness and health everyday people experience no matter where they are on life’s journey. Temescal Wellness gives everyday people plant-based choices to help them celebrate life’s highs, navigate life’s lows, and be healthier and happier every day. Follow Temescal Wellness on Twitter @MATemescal, Instagram @Temescalwellness.ma and Facebook @temescalmass.
How to make a cannabis-infused lemony hemp shandy
What role could Kamala Harris play in cannabis legalization as vice president?
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