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Are Pride And Ego Hindering The Marijuana Industry?


pride ego emotion marijuana cannabis industryIn the last year and a half I have witnessed a lot of things in the marijuana industry. I’m talking about the business side of marijuana, not politics and activism, although I have seen a lot on that side too. Some of the stuff I have witnessed in the marijuana industry has come through personal investigation, some has come from observing things from afar and applying my decades of experience, and other times I am lucky enough to be entrusted with privileged information at the highest levels of the industry. While I never name names, I am always quick to point out the deficiencies of things in general.

One re-occurring thing that I see over and over in the marijuana industry is too much pride and too much ego. There is no doubt pride and ego in traditional business, but in the marijuana industry it is prevalent on a level that is unmatched. This is due to the culture that the marijuana industry has grown out of. I am a third generation marijuana industry insider. My dad was involved in the marijuana industry, as was my grandfather. I’m from Oregon, where that is not uncommon. I have personally seen where the marijuana industry has come from, which heavily revolved around an attitude of ‘my stuff is better than yours.’ It was standard to brag about how much better your weed was, how much cooler your bong was, etc.

This same attitude has carried over into the emerging legal marijuana industry. I have seen extremely logical business decisions get killed because one person refused to bow to the fact that another person or business was better at a certain area or task, even though the decision would have been beneficial to everyone involved. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone from the marijuana industry say ‘I can do that better’ or ‘I think that person/company is overrated’ I would have enough money to not have to work in a cubicle during the week.

Business decisions (marijuana industry or otherwise) should be made by looking at math and history and then applying logic. Unfortunately, most business decisions are made in the marijuana industry based upon pride, ego, and emotion. It is hindering the marijuana industry from reaching it’s full potential, while at the same time providing a prime opportunity for corporate outsiders to infiltrate and take over the marijuana industry. People from outside of the marijuana industry don’t have the baggage that many marijuana industry insiders have. They are spotting the holes and hangups, and stepping in to fill in the gaps as we speak. I love that the marijuana industry is a cottage industry, and I fear that it will be lost as time goes by, and that the people that have fought so hard to make the marijuana industry legal will not benefit when all is said and done.

Are you involved in the marijuana industry? Have you seen pride and ego get in the way of business decisions? Are you a marijuana industry outsider trying to get in, and see what I am talking about? Do you think I’m completely off base and want to elaborate? Please leave your comments below!

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About Author

Johnny Green


  1. I’m talking about historically, not now, or in the future. And when you include name-calling in any post, it just makes you look small. Peace out.

  2. Perhaps it is the history of these industries being run by white men that has caused this epidemic of ego and pride.

  3. You’d be nonsensical if you didn’t agree! It’s so easy to look at the history of the tobacco industry and the alcohol industry and determine that this can/could happen to the marijuana industry. We the people must come together because apart, we are powerless. As one, we are unstoppable.

  4. Marijuana shouldn’t even be a fucking industry it should just be free for everyone. It breaks down social boundaries and brings people closer together.

  5. I am in the medical cannabis field in CO, and I 100% agree with Mr. Green. I have seen a lot of hard work and good people get thrown out like trash and I really appreciate someone calling people out. Everyone, myself included has at one time or another felt like they knew better, but time will tell who is right and if you are that person, it’s better to take that experience and learn from it rather then burn bridges over a stupid personal preference.

  6. I absolutely second your opinion. We also have many people with emotional or mental illness running the shows and hogging the spotlights. Or, sabbatougiers who add their poison pull of negativity just when things are getting into a good flow. Human community ALWAYS comes with troubles and tribulations. We have not done the best job of resolving our conflicts and getting past our issues. This is why my life work as a lawyer and mediator has been about helping people move past grievances, right injustices and create operating agreements that foster smooth and cordial interactions. We don’t have to act as a collective, hostile ghetto. We are on the same side. We work at the same billion dollar company. 95% of everyone is your peer and colleague helping you be your personal best. There is room for everyone on this Noah’s arc of money, prestige and glory. We just need to get clear as to each oerson’s hopes and dreams and support our mutual unfolding of excellence and abundance. We all do better together. That’s the chant. We all do better together. Say that three times and clink your magic elf heels. We are the elves to Santa’s best prize. Happy Holidays Cohorts in the Industry. Over and out. Stefani Quane J.D. (The gal dancing in her hideous brown gardening pants at the Seattle 1 year of legalization party at Seattle Center last night. And yes, I was having a spiritual experience. And no, I wasn’t on shrooms!!) :)

  7. Great conversation here, thank you for providing the forum, Johnny. I’m new to the industry, coming from (and completely disgusted with) corporate America having recently left to do consulting work. I’m up in New England and recently assisted on a proposal for a dispensary in Mass. (I’m a marketing, branding and organization development person). That was really the first time I had been exposed to the industry and really the business side of it. Right now though, the medical marijuana industry is in infancy and within the next couple years I see it being mainstream. It’s a really exciting time and don’t forget to embrace that. Learn everything you can from corporate America and traditional business practices (what works, what doesn’t) and partner with strong professionals to fill in the gaps of what you may not know. There will always be competition and that’s healthy. It essentially weeds out (no pun intended) those that provide “average” product or service. That is the key, to deliver a quality product and a fair price while providing exceptional service. A brand, is a perception, and with each and every patient interaction you need to be building and strengthening your brand (who you are and what you stand for). Ego is the downfall of any organization, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Having one may get you by for now, in the short term, or you may even get lucky and it may support you for several years, but in the end, the ego significantly limits what you could be. Think in terms of long-term growth and sustainability. Be consistent in what you do, as word-of-mouth is and always will be the best form of marketing. Stand out from competition – what makes you different? why you and not the guy down the street?

    Corporate America-type behavior will continue, but these business types can’t do a thing without the growers and their process and techniques. It’s both and art and a science. And there will be growers jumping on board with these business types because they see quick cash. But I believe in this industry, if you’re not pure of heart – if you’re not doing this for the right reasons and have a sub-par or even average product you will get left behind and have no long-term sustainability.

    Embrace this time! Stretch yourself into new areas while continuing to perfect your product, your process and service. There’s a great book out there called The Starbucks Experience by Joseph A Michelli. Check it out and as you go through it, think in terms of your industry and the principles in it.

  8. Um. I dont think you have the right to call anyone stupid. You give stoners a bad image. Go read a book. Maybe a dictionary.

  9. I dnt think all u descriminaters that are against marijuana understand anything about the plant its self all u see is the bad or think oh this is gonna happen if they do this or stupid people that want competadors or to compete against someone else u know what thats called stupidity why cause thats the dumb crap that gets people killed well the dumb ones not the smart ones who contain ther operation under radar and be smart not trying to put there name out there out of idiocracy and not understanding the means of the product or what its about most of you have never known what its like to experience the plant first hand instead of jumping to think ur this top dog grower when u cant even sprout it or know the vegetation stage the growth the lighting the watering what keeps what pests away the soil mixture to use the right one potting or any knowledge about the plant or what it can do for our economy in the long run so before u think of typing some criticism about marijuana users or growers how about getting ur knowledge and false facts right first until then back off….

  10. Oldstonertattooguy on

    Most experienced growers have been doing so (mostly) under the radar for a long long time. Sharing genetics from different strains has been a mainstay of the guerrilla industry for just as long. If Big Business gets involved in cannabis production for the medical/recreational market they pretty much have to hire knowledgeable stoners to grade their product. They’ll have to figure out why on their own unless they have actual smokers on the board of directors. (yay).

  11. As corporate America is allowed to take over the HUGE dispensary cash cow, the worse the end results will be. No matter what stage of legalization one enjoys in the state or county they reside, there will always be the “gray” market; expert cultivators providing very high quality medicine at cheaper rates than the corporate giants and their “non profit” dispensaries, who’s accountants bury actual income and the top management makes six figures a year, non profit $$$.

  12. You cannot control the future cannabis industry. That’s trying to catch a tiger by the tail. – Best to just keep your memories and concentrate on gaining FREEDOM for everyone, okay?

  13. Jason Higgins on

    Saying pride and ego so many times was a little redundant (even before the first time). I know what you mean though.

  14. Having experienced the .Com boom first hand I can attest to the feeding frenzy from outsiders looking for a quick buck. There is no doubt that legal cannabis will suffer the same as newbies come from everywhere looking for some easy greenbacks.

    Most of these people will probably not care about those that have fought long and hard to make legalization possible, they probably don’t even consume cannabis. Maybe we should drug test (blood) these suckers to make sure that there is a certain level of THC present before they are allowed to participate.

  15. Its really easy to come in and make a short term profit as a person who could give two shits less about what happens to the people who need real medication that really makes them feel better and doesn’t make them want to commit suicide… On the other hand I don’t think it is necessarily too much pride or ego… When you truly care about something, you are going to get frustrated and upset with people who typically debate on a extreme left or right basis solely for the purpose of better bargaining leverage. People who truly care, want to see what is right, not what is left over after a professional bargaining agreement.

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