Do they really smoke at work? And 5 other things you've always wondered about working at a cannabis startup

October 14, 2015
Working at a cannabis tech startup is kind of like working in a hazy college dorm room crossed with Willy Wonka's magic chocolate factory, only the chocolate is pot...right? Well, not exactly.
As it turns out working at a cannabis tech company is a lot like working at any other company, only you're working in the cannabis industry. To get a behind the scenes look at what it's actually like to work in cannabis tech, we caught up with three companies that are pioneers in the space. Here's what they had to say: 


MassRoots - Dan Hunt, Chief Operating Officer 

Do your employees smoke pot at work? MassRoots’ employees rarely smoke cannabis at work. However, we do allow our employees to smoke cannabis during work hours if they would like, and some do take advantage of that policy. We trust that our employees use good judgment, and believe in creating a highly-talented and highly-autonomous culture with few “rules."  Some people are more creative when they use cannabis, others understand that it slows them down. So, we leave this decision up to each individual. 
Since you work with so many marijuana companies, do your employees get any freebies? Yes. We work with hundreds of cannabis companies all over the country, and we often receive free glass, vaporizers, accessories, and product directly from dispensaries. We disperse these freebies throughout the company. 
And what about company outings, are they all pot themed? Most of our company outings are like any other company outings, except that we do not prohibit the use of cannabis. We have had several cannabis-centric outings, though, such as touring Medicine Man’s grow as a team a few weeks ago. 
Is there anything special you look for in a new hire? Beyond competency in the core skills required for a job, we look for three main things: Cultural fit, raw intelligence, and the ability to get s**t done.
More specifically, we look for the following characteristics: An obsession with learning rapidly and eagerly; an ability to work in a fast-paced, autonomously driven, and demanding startup environment; excellent written and verbal communication skills; a passion for advancing cannabis legalization and industry; resilience and a use of failures as an opportunity to learn and improve; a bias towards action; understanding when done is better than perfect; and an ability to identify root causes and get beyond treating symptoms.
So, what's the difference between working at MassRoots and anywhere else? Beyond the freedom to consume cannabis at work, and our team’s passion for the industry and advancement of legalization, there are few differences between our company and most consumer-facing mobile app startups.  
Are you hiring right now? Yes! We are looking for a highly-talented Director of Sales, Quality Assurance Engineer, Senior Account Executive, Jr. UX Designer, Social Media Manager, Technical Marketer, and full-time Content Writer to join us on our mission!


Flowhub - Kyle Sherman, CEO 

Do employees smoke marijuana at work? No, we don’t smoke during the day. That said, come 4:20pm on Friday's we'll celebrate around the VapeXhale if all our work is done and brainstorm new features. We rarely get to celebrate anymore since we’ve been super busy as a company.
Do your employees get any sort of swag? We get freebies and discounts all the time from our customers. We get the best swag in the cannabis industry.
What are company outings like? Are they all marijuana related? Everything we do is somehow related to cannabis. Our entire team is captivated with our mission to legalize nationwide, so we end up talking about cannabis a lot.
What do you look for in a potential hire? We look for people who are incredible at what they do, and at the same time passionate about cannabis legalization. We don’t require our employees to consume cannabis, but as a company with a focused mission, we need people who are on the same page.
So, what's different about working at Flowhub as opposed to a non-cannabis company? At your typical 9-5 you don’t get to talk about cannabis and how positive legalization is going to be for our country. At a cannabis startup you get all of the cool things you’d get at a Silicon Valley startup but with cannabis added. It’s super exciting.
Are you hiring right now? We are always on the lookout for rockstar talent. Currently, we’re looking for savvy javascript developers.



CannaRegs - Amanda Ostrowitz, Co-Founder

Do your employees smoke pot at work? No. However they are welcome to smoke on the patio at the EOB.

Do employees end up getting any freebies? Well, I do make them lunch every day and there is free beer in the fridge...

What are company outings like? Are they all marijuana related? Our last company outing was to a Colorado Rapids game. It had nothing to do with marijuana, but it was a blast. We enjoyed a great tailgate with C38 (the Rapids supporters group), and chanted from the supporters’ terrace. Even though the Rapids lost, we definitely all had a great time.

What do you look for in a potential hire? Smart people who we like working with. There is a certain skill set that is a baseline requirement, but beyond that, we hire people who fit our team and are passionate about what we are building. We look for professionals who are comfortable with cannabis (regardless of whether they partake themselves) and knowledgeable about the industry in which we work.

What would you say the biggest difference between working at a cannabis tech and a non-cannabis themed company would be? We don't waste money drug testing our employees, and we receive a lot of free marijuana accessories as swag. Given that we are in a relatively nascent industry, there is a certain freedom and creativity that goes along with making up the playbook as you go. We are not hampered by any 'traditions' or 'this is the way we’ve always done it' mindsets. But day to day, it’s not a whole lot different. 

Are you doing any hiring right now? We are not hiring right now, but we will be once we finish fundraising. At that point we will be looking for node.js developers, sales associates, a marketing intern, an administrative assistant, and a few more attorneys.

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