The cannabis industry has a corporate governance problem. And it’s an issue that marijuana executives can ill afford to ignore.

This can be especially troublesome for execs at publicly traded firms, which risk alienating investors and consumers.

Corporate governance issues are commonplace in an emerging industry such as cannabis, where company founders can have blemishes on their records and businesses face heavy – and frequently changing – regulations.

According to Sappani and other industry experts who spoke with Marijuana Business Magazine, that means companies must have boards that are truly independent and made up of professionals with diverse backgrounds and genders.“The cannabis industry has been the Wild West,” Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based venture capital firm Ela Capital, told Marijuana Business Magazine. “It is time for cannabis companies to focus on corporate governance.”

It also means cannabis businesses must be vigilant in maintaining strict compliance with regulations – not to mention federal law.