Seeking advice for a new PM role at the cannabis industry

Hello everyone! I’ll be starting a new position as a PM in the cannabis industry soon and could use some advice!

I landed a PM position at a startup in the cannabis industry but have never been a PM before. I would really appreciate some advice!

I originally got my bachelor’s degree in business management with the dream of becoming a product manager, unfortunately I graduated into the beginning of a global pandemic! So with nowhere hiring I attended a software Bootcamp and am now a full stack developer too!

Okay so long story short I have an AWESOME opportunity to be a PM for a startup in the cannabis industry. I’m super excited and am looking for anything to read about new PMs.

Also, while I have a lot of experience managing projects from both college and my coding Bootcamp, I’ve never actually held a PM position so I’m not sure what to expect as far programs.

Does anyone have tips or advice for someone JUST starting out and for a new PM beginning at a start up in the cannabis field?

Thank you so much for any advice you may have!!!


“Product Manager” can mean different things, from doing actual product management to being a Product Owner (scrum) or Project Manager or a mix and combination of those. Your first task will be to figure out what your job is.

Here my take on this;

  • Take copious notes on absolutely everything, don’t make people repeat themselves. Make yourself useful by taking and sending meeting minutes after each meeting.
  • Manage you own to-do list. Have your boss prioritize it weekly and have them check for anything missing.
  • Each day, take your prioritized list from above, and start from the most important/urgent item. If you’re stuck on how to approach something, try to break it down in as many bits as possible. If you don’t know how, see the next point.
  • ASK QUESTIONS. But before asking a question, google the shit out of it. NEVER ASK A QUESTION GOOGLE CAN ANSWER. Its a cardinal sin in my book. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. People rarely get fired for asking too many questions, but the opposite happens a lot.
  • Ask people for feedback on how you’re doing and what you can improve.

Educate yourself. Grab a couple PM books and read them front to back. “Cracking the PM career” seems like a decent start. Read it cover to cover 2-3 times. Makes notes and flashcards. Quiz yourself.

Grab a book on scrum/agile. “The professional product owner” by Don McGreal is good.


This is all good advice. I would recommend Marty Cagans two books.

“Never ask a question google can’t answer” this is my mantra; I wish more people would take this on!


Haha - I had to do a double-take on your comment. I think you meant “can answer:slight_smile:


@Carlos, Hahaha yeah sorry. I’ll leave it there as a “lessons learnt” lol



I support everything in the post above except this.

Even though Google can answer most of the questions with enough searching - Human interactions matter much more than ability to google.

People will forgive ignorance, mistakes, lack of skill if they enjoy working with you, if you can connect with them on a human level. We judge those we like based on their intentions, we judge others based on their results. Try to be liked :wink:

You asking questions shows you are not afraid of your ignorance, and you are taking steps to address it. It shows level of integrity and professionalism. It also shows that you are a team player and that you value other’s knowledge/opinions.


@MarcoSilva, You must be mistaken. I never said human interactions don’t matter. They matter to a HUGE degree. But someone skilled at human interaction will avoid wasting people’s time (and losing respect) by asking painfully obvious questions that can literally be answered by a 15-second Google search.

The point I was making is that time and patience of a manager, colleagues, and stakeholder is limited. Why waste people’s time and energy on obvious things that are just one Google query away? If you’re not sure, you can still ask the question, but at least your have some kind of baseline answer to wrap things around.

I see this problem way too often, especially in junior staff. Maybe these things are obvious to you, but in my experience many people need to be told.

Imagine you have half an hour a week of 1:1 time with the head of product. Don’t waste it asking:

  • “what does ‘KPI’ mean?”
  • “what’s SCRUM?”
  • “i never did a marketing plan before. what’s a marketing plan?”
  • “How do I setup a meeting in Outlook, I’ve never used it before”

Instead, ask:

  • “I’ve never put a marketing plan together, but based on my research, here are the different components that I need to come up with. Does that make sense at all?”
  • “Here are some ideas for the marketing plan we talked about. Am I on the right track at all?”
  • “Here’s my first draft of the next few milestones for the product, I’d be interested to hear your feedback”
  • “I am trying to wrap my head around the SCRUM methodology. What’s the difference between a product owner and a project manager”?

Of course, it’s not forbidden to ask basic questions if it’s part of a natural flow of conversation. It’s a general rule, not Nazi Germany.


I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m not judging you.

If someone get annoyed for anyone asking a question they consider “obvious” that is not a culture that fosters cooperation.


I agree but if an intern comes to my desk 20 times a day to ask questions that are easily Googleable, I will sit them down and gently try to explain that they’re doing themselves a disservice. Of course, if its 1 or 2 it’s a different story. It’s fine.

I’d rather they should google first, get some ideas, and come to my desk with 10, 20, 30 questions per day but that make sense and don’t waste my time. People can be taught very easily where the difference is. And those are skills that will benefit them for a lifetime.

To make my point clearer, imagine you’re interviewing for a job. Its your turn to ask questions to the company. Why ask “what are your main clients” if there is a list of main clients on their website? You lose all credibility. Instead, ask “I noticed on your website that Walmart was your biggest client. Could you tell me how this relationship came about?”

You come across as much more resourceful and independent.


This is kickass advice! I’m going to buy some books and keep you posted if I need any help! Thank you so much!


My approach to questions: Document your own Q & A and never ask the same question twice. Instead drill down with follow up questions.


Would you consider OP creating and delivering some form of a 30/60/90 day plan appropriate in this situation? Being a startup, the leaders might not have a good sense of where he should start…this could serve as a conversation starter for collaboration and possibly the framework to guide OP as he ramps up. It goes without saying this would be a fluid document.

A plan also demonstrates being proactive rather than showing up day 1, with pen and paper in hand saying “OK, where should I start”.


@MarioRomero, I think so. That book I mentioned has a 100-day plan in it.

My hot take is “Don’t take a completely green PM if you’re a startup”. I sure hope there is some senior PM that can guide OP, otherwise he’s in for a bad time and should probably keep looking. Startup environments are difficult enough for experienced PMs in my opinion.


First rule of Product Management - get familiar with your product and do research. I’d recommend starting with some Cheech&Chong and go from there…


I’ve worked in the cannabis space for a little over three years, in a digital role that also has included product management (unofficially) and worked alongside other product managers.

My advice is less around the role of PM, but more about the cannabis industry (which is in many ways a startup itself).

Working in weed is challenging but very rewarding, and not everyone is cut out for it.

There are heavy regulations (that can vary greatly by location), so try to have an understanding of the law and how it applies to your company, promotion and advertising opportunities available (and their limitations), your customers, and the general intent behind it. You’ll probably (hopefully) have legal counsel, but in my experience if you have a basic understanding of the law, you’ll be in a better place to discuss or ‘negotiate’ with your lawyer you’ll be able to do a lot more.

It’s always a good idea to have a parallel path (or two), as things can change quickly - being able to pivot and being creative about solutions is key. You’ll often feel like you’re building a plane while flying it.

Most importantly, have fun! It’s an amazing opportunity to work in a space that is still new(ish) depending on your location of course. I had fun exploring new products in the evenings to help me turn my brain off at the end of the day… helped a lot with managing the stress and over excitement of an exciting/challenging day.

Good luck!


I’m also a new PM in the industry! I landed the PM job because I have experience in the industry that most don’t, but the product world still feels brand new to me. I’d be stoked if you want to jam together and share some learnings :slight_smile: just send a dm

Also, one of the greatest books I’ve read so far is The Mom Test. Talking to customers, the requests can get pretty wild and it’s easy to waste time on shit that isn’t really that important. The book gives great ways to get to the bottom of the request, beyond what the customer is willing to tell you. Hope it helps!


How did you land the position with no experience?

1 Like

@ChristieDook, I worked as a senior manager at a business for 3 years while going through college (was laid off due to the pandemic) then attending a coding Bootcamp where I became full stack certified.

I was contacted by a recruiter who said they were looking for a PM who could also act as a liaison between the developers and other PMs. I expressed my interest in all 4 interviews and they offered me the position!

I think I was just what they were looking for and I got lucky with the timing!

1 Like

@Pauline, Very cool. Did coding bootcamp help? I am currently looking into this and I see so many options.

I can say for sure that I never would have got the job without it!

Before attending the Bootcamp, I have never even attempted basic coding. I absolutely loved the experience and have been working on creating a video game in my free time now! I can discuss code and build websites too.

While not for everybody I really enjoyed the Bootcamp and intend to continue doing stuff in my free time!