South by Southwest has been going on for more than 30 years, but 2017 marks the first festival that cannabis can claim an official footprint here. With more than 10 official SXSW events, as well as the Hemp & Garden Show presented by Texas Green Rush, cannabis is displaying its disrupting impact across various sectors.
Those topics differ from sports and technology and legalization, but also business. At the “Keep Your Career, Change Your Industry Meet Up,” individuals gathered from multiple backgrounds and career fields to discuss how cannabis interacts with their professional careers. This included people from consulting fields, cannabis photographers, university professors, and more.
A main topic of conversation when we were there revolved around the current in-between state cannabis seems to find itself in. With a growing swell of enthusiasm seen in medicinal and recreational legalization, a stigma still surrounds the plant. This can affect people’s careers and, in turn, their livelihoods. While the Fresh Toast aims to educate and decouple marijuana from its cultural association with more destructive opioids, sometimes the outdated relationship sticks in employers’ eyes.
That’s why Karson Humiston organized the SXSW event. Humiston is the founder and president of Vangst Talent, the nation’s largest cannabis staffing industry. As she remarked in a brief, opening speech, career fields in the cannabis industry isn’t just regaled to touching the plant. Any industry needs accountants and web designers and secretaries and so on. Cannabis is a thriving business and should start being treated from the outside as such. (This echoed similar comments made by Matt Hawkins in TFT’s Investor Series.)
The meet-up was a successful event and showcased just how far cannabis has grown (pun intended) and how far it can still go. But, as Humiston told me in conversation, it’s never been a more exciting time to jump into the industry and help build something from the ground floor. What was obvious from the event was the business and has all the potential it needs. Now it’s just time to work.