Mainstream executives want in on the cannabis craze.
That’s not surprising, with the value of some Canadian pot businesses topping $10 billion and Coca-Cola Co. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. eyeing marijuana as the next trendy ingredient. But the burgeoning industry faces a unique hurdle: Pot is still illegal at the national level in the U.S. — the world’s biggest consumer market.
As Canada prepares to legalize weed next week, and regulations loosen in some U.S. states, there’s growing demand for experienced executives to take leadership roles and help startup companies create the next generation of pot products. Yet, the federal ban in the U.S. has created a legal minefield for headhunters trying to find enough bodies to meet demand.
“Getting started in cannabis is probably a lot like when Prohibition ended in the 1930s,” said Catherine Van Alstine, who recruits executives for the industry as a partner in Vancouver for search company Boyden. “Everybody thought the world was going to end because alcohol was going to become available and legitimate. That’s the way to think about cannabis.”
The latest flashpoint for recruiters: threats from U.S. Customs officials of potential lifetime bans for Canadians employed in the pot business trying to enter the U.S. That’s forced some executives in Canada to reconsider taking board seats or executive roles at weed companies. [Read More @ Bloomberg]