By Rasta Ronnie, High Grade Specialist at SevenFive Farm
When you’ve worked in cannabis as long as I have, you get a pretty good sense for who’s being authentic and transparent in the industry, and who’s not. And it’s valuable knowledge to have, because authenticity—being authentic to others and knowing when others are being authentic— is a key factor for success in any industry, especially cannabis.
Authenticity underscores all the work I do as Lead Grower at SevenFive Farm. It’s also a big part of the equation that’s elevated me to where I am today.
What Does Authenticity in Cannabis Mean?
The old adage about faking it until you make it doesn’t hold any water for me—in this industry, people need to be real about their abilities. Being genuine about your abilities and being willing to put in the work it takes to grow your skills is a big part of what it means to be authentic. I hear so many people claiming to be “the best” who don’t have the talent or experience to back that up.
The bottom line is that if you promise more than you can deliver, you’re going to let people down and create problems for your organization. That’s true across the board—from cultivation directors and managers to grower and trimmers.
The other crucial aspect to being authentic in cannabis is immersing yourself in the cannabis community, and folding those community values into your daily actions. The cannabis culture is really built around shared community values. And just like any community, it’s important to nurture your relationships in the cannabis community and show respect to people.
Community is really important to me. It helped me grow my following on social media and positioned me as an influencer with meaningful reach. Other big names in cannabis shouting me out and showing me love on social media catalyzed my follower growth and opened up new professional opportunities. So I try to do this for others. I like to help create hype for other up-and-comers who I see doing good work in the cannabis community. And my Wear The Crown podcast is another outlet where I can open the door to people I respect, and people I want to share my megaphone with.
How Do You Run a Cannabis Business Authentically?
Speaking to the cultivation end of things, it’s really important to be sure you’re sourcing authentic materials, seeds, nutrients, and so forth. Doing that comes down to paying very careful attention to the details. Keeping a close eye on your supply shipments, plant genetics, the transplanting process, cloning, harvesting, all of that is really important for ensuring high-quality output. It requires constant repetition, and eventually it becomes second nature.
You also don’t want to get caught up in tunnel vision. Leaders must keep their eyes on the big picture while still maintaining close tabs on day-to-day management and operations. Striking that balance is key to growing your business in an authentic and successful way.
In terms of ownership, many people are real and authentic about what they do in this industry. But sometimes it’s the well funded, yet misguided ones that overshadow all the good people who are putting in the honest hard work every day.
Some people see this industry as nothing more than a road to riches. But it’s so much more than that. Some of the big players seem to lack an open-mindedness about what success means, and how you can go about being successful in cannabis. Even though we live in a capitalist society, and capitalism has that competitive edge to it, you don’t have to be cut-throat or manipulative to succeed in this industry. You don’t have to lie to investors or take advantage of customers to get ahead. A smart strategy, skilled team, hard work and quality output will take you far.
Creating an Authentic Work Culture
It starts with hiring authentic, quality people. I look for the right attitude and experience—people who bring positive energy and who demonstrate a growth mindset. A big red flag that tells me someone isn’t right for SevenFive Farm is if they come in talking all about themselves and making extraordinary claims.
It’s also very important to set an authentic example in the workplace that others can follow. I like to establish a personal relationship with my employees, and I try to be transparent with them about where I’m coming from, too. If I’m having a bad day, I talk to them about it, and that creates the common ground you need to build relationships. People want to work for a company that treats them well, so that’s the type of culture I try to create. Your coworkers are basically your family away from home. You spend so much time with these people, so maintaining goodwill and keeping the vibe right is crucial.