ForceBrands announced the official launch of its specialized cannabis division on Wednesday. HerbForce offers executive search services, board of director assembly, and a digital job board.

And although the division is new, ForceBrands has been actively helping employers and job seekers navigate new opportunities and new challenges in the burgeoning cannabis industry since 2015.

“What’s rewarding for me is the access we have to cannabis brands — the relationships we’ve developed over the past few years have positioned us well for making great connections in the space,” ForceBrands Client Strategist Mike Sekula said. “It’s exciting to connect CPG candidates, who share skill sets applicable to the cannabis sector, to career opportunities in a young and exciting industry.”

It’s an exciting time for job seekers to consider roles in cannabis as many actively hiring companies are offering incentives like equity and stock options. When it comes to hiring, Sekula notes that some functions are more popular than others.

“Since we’ve broken into the cannabis space, we’ve seen a high demand for sales and marketing positions as companies need to legally sell their product in as many places and in as many ways possible,” Sekula said. “It’s a young industry — there isn’t a Coca-Cola of cannabis yet. Therefore, the need for clever, effective marketing is at an absolute high.”

But sales and marketing aren’t the only functions needed to build a successful cannabis brand.

“It’s important to remember that cannabis is going to be a consumer packaged good — companies are going to be retail brands,” Sekula said. “There are a lot of synergies between CPG companies and those in cannabis when it comes to hiring and team building. People in CPG will be able to weave their skills into the cannabis narrative and spur growth at emerging brands.”

Read on to explore some CPG skills that translate well into the cannabis industry.

1. Sales and marketing
While those who have been consuming cannabis for some time may have developed awareness for a brand they particularly like, newer consumers need more direction. Cannabis brands are relying heavily on their marketing strategies to win over and inform these newer consumers. And since cannabis is a consumable product, other consumable products are benchmarks to consider. ‘Why would I eat, drink, or put this on my body?’ are some questions marketing professionals in CPG will translate into cannabis. People who can assess target consumers and execute sales and marketing strategies around selling the product to them will prove valuable for cannabis companies.

2. Operations
Cannabis is a highly regulated industry, therefore people who come from the alcoholic beverage industry will understand the questions to ask, the limitations of the regulations, and smart ways to optimally operate under those regulations. From an operations standpoint, there’s going to be a lot of testing and large production facilities to manage in cannabis. People who have run a large floor with a number of employees will find these skills transferable to the cannabis sector.

3. HR 
Like any other industry, the CPG space demands certain skills and qualifications, and no one has more of a pulse on those qualified to work in the space than HR professionals who recruit and hire them. HR individuals with extensive networks of candidates in CPG will find themselves valuable assets at cannabis brands who are looking to scale.

4. Finance
Banking is the biggest hurdle in cannabis. If you have experience in financial forecasting and budgeting for products that have a particular shelf-life, these skills will be put to good use in the cannabis industry. There’s an incredible demand for finance professionals who are ready to take on that challenge — and the payoff and benefits can be huge in such a burgeoning industry where the risk is high, but the reward is often higher.

5. Inventory management
One of the most fundamental roles that inventory professionals play in supply chains is balancing supply and demand. They facilitate the organization and management of the company’s product. Professionals who are skilled in this area — who understand shelf-life and the types of packaging that would preserve types of cannabis products, particularly edibles — would add value to cannabis businesses.

“There’s a lot of ambiguity surrounding the cannabis industry and how people perceive it,” Sekula said. “But at the end of the day, cannabis falls under the giant umbrella of being a retail product. It’s a consumer packaged good which is why it makes sense to approach hiring for those teams in the same way as you would for any other CPG company. The cannabis clients we work with recognize the value of candidates coming from the CPG space. It’s rewarding to help make that marriage happen.”

Interested in working in cannabis or building your brand? Explore our HerbForce division.