Not All Cannabis Industry Consultants Are Created Equal

When Hiring A Marijuana Industry Consultant, Make Sure To Do Your Homework

Lately my friend and colleague Kaliko has been attending cannabis events on behalf of The Weed Blog. One thing that he told me he sees more and more at each event is an ever-growing small army of cannabis industry consultants. There are consultants for growing, consultants for dispensaries, and consultants for just about every ancillary niche that there is in the industry. I see the same thing happening on social media, with everyone claiming to be an expert.

If I had a dollar for every e-mail I received from one of these consultants, I’d have enough money to buy a solid gold car. They are always via a third party, letting me know that ‘fill in the blank name you have ever heard of” is available for an interview if I’m looking for an ‘expert’ to interview for an article. I have been in the online cannabis media trenches for almost six years now, and was an activist before that, and I have not heard of 99% of the names contained in those types of e-mails.

That’s not to say that some of them are not bright people, because I’m sure that some of them are. But that is probably one out of a thousand. The rest of them are just smoke and mirrors, and are trying as hard as they can to get rich in this growing industry by all means necessary. Hiring a consultant is a good idea for people trying to launch a cannabis business, but how do you know which ones are reputable? I get asked that question so often that I figured it would be more efficient to just write an article for people to refer to. Below are some of the tips I offer up to people for what to look for in a quality cannabis industry consultant. If you have your own tips to provide, please do so in the comments section so that others can benefit from your knowledge.


I will say it over and over again until I’m blue in the face, the cannabis industry is different than other industries. Just because someone was successful running a hedge fund or a website about RV’s does not mean that they will succeed in this industry. There are so many little nuances to this industry, any of which can mean the difference between success or just being another face in the crowd. A true quality cannabis industry consultant can readily point to things they did in the past in the industry, and explain very easily why those things were a success. If you are like me, you don’t like subjective hype. I like math. If you can prove to me with math that you are good at what you do in this industry, then I am impressed. Anything short of that is likely nothing but hype.

Communicates Clearly

I can always tell who is a true cannabis expert versus someone that is smoke and mirrors by how they explain their ideas. If they are all over the board, and seem like they are trying to confuse you with so much information rather than just get to the point, chances are they can’t be trusted. I realize that some people are long winded, but if they are long winded with you, they are likely long winded with everyone else, and are likely not a very efficient person. Ideas can be complex, but they should be able to be explained easily by a good consultant, because after all, that’s really what their job is to do.

Performance Exceeds Claims

A wise person once told me that you should always strive to under promise and over deliver. You would be hard pressed to find a cannabis consultant that strives for that goal. A sub-par consultant will spend more time hyping themselves up than actually offering solid advice. A solid consultant states their case, and let’s their skills and body of work speak for themselves thereafter. Like I always say, if you are good at what you do, you shouldn’t have to constantly re-explain and try to point out how good you are.

Doesn’t Have A Lot Of Baggage

This might be one of the hardest things to deal with in the cannabis industry. So many people have baggage. There are allegations that this consultant ripped this person off, and that consultant swindled another person. If you are at the top your game, you are bound to have haters, but with that being said, be careful. Heavily consider and research the baggage a person has in this industry to see if there’s any merit. I have found more often than not that yes, there is some misunderstandings, but there is also a lot of truth to those situations, and it’s better to just avoid it all.

Can Maximize Dollars

Like I always say, I like math. The purpose of hiring a consultant is to make more money with their advice than you would normally. I have seen many, many people hire a cannabis consultant, follow their advice, and then be left wondering if it was worth it. There should be no doubt if a cannabis consultant has been of significant value. So many consultants take ten dollars and get one dollar of results when all is said and done. There are a lot of consultants that fall into that category right now. Get a clear idea ahead of time of how much they want to charge, and only go with consultants that want to tie their rates to your performance. Any solid consultant will be very happy to go that route because after all, they should believe in what they do!