Arkansas cannabis jobs and marijuana careers are on the rise. The state’s medical pot program was slow to start. It is steadily growing. Join thousands of other weed employees working in the industry. Keep reading to find out the state requirements to get hired. We cover disqualifying conditions, which could prevent you from getting hired.
Industry Snapshot: Arkansas
State voters approved medical pot use in 2016. Regulatory obstacles prevented the program from starting until May 2019. Since the medical program’s start, state residents have spent $163 million on 25,337 pounds of weed (as of October 2020). In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state’s pot market has been thriving.
Under the law, pot shops are able to grow (up to 50 plants), process, and transport weed. Many companies listed in their original applications their plans to eventually add a grow site. Growers don’t have a growing limit. Despite increased demand, the state is facing a supply issue of weed. The state commission is responsible for issuing new operator licenses.
A majority of residents are in favor of expanding the use of medical weed. A June 2020 poll found that 67.5% of residents supported medical weed. Of those who supported it, a majority of them supported adult-use access. Support continues to grow for medical and adult-use weed. This is especially true among conservative voters.
Requirements to Work in the Industry
In order to work in a pot shop or growing facility, you need to meet certain requirements. The state doesn’t have a residency requirement. You must be at least 21 years old to apply. You must agree to undergo a state and federal background check. Weed workers must not have been convicted of an excluded felony offense.
An excluded felony offense is determined by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division. They will review court records. Certain offenses are not considered excluded felony offenses, including:
- An offense that has been sealed by a court or for which a pardon has been granted
- An offense for which the sentence, including any term of probation, incarceration, or supervised release, was completed 10 or more years earlier
New Hire Application
If you want to work for a medical pot grower, processor, store, or transporter, you must get a Registry Identification Card. You must not have a revoked registry ID card in the previous 5 years. Registry ID Card packets will be available from your employer. They include:
- An Arkansas State Police Background Application
- A Notice of Intent to Hire completed by your employer
- A Request for Employee Registry Identification Card
- Authority to Release Information
- Applicant Record Notification Form
Cost: $100 ($50 on application and $50 on approval)
Note: You’ll need to apply for a separate card if you’ll be working at multiple facilities.
For more information, check out the state guidelines for completing the application.
The state has 30 dispensaries in operation. 7 dispensaries are looking to open in the near future. Shops are looking for compassionate employees with a strong work ethic. They must be able to handle the fast-paced environment. If you’re interested in working with patients, here are just a few of the jobs available at a pot shop.
Budtenders, or Product Specialists, must be enthusiastic and outgoing. As a customer service professional, you’ll be welcoming new and returning patients. Patient consultations allow you to recommend products and strains. You must be able to manage long lines, handle cash, and use a debit machine. You must stock inventory and know how to use the POS and seed-to-sale software.
Front desk duties in a pot shop require a warm and friendly receptionist. They welcome and greet patients. As a receptionist, you must enter data into company software. You must check-in patients and maintain visitor logs. You are responsible for checking a patient’s identification. Also, you must verify their medical weed recommendations.
Security officers protect pot shops and cultivation facilities. They must have excellent observation skills. Security officers must observe video surveillance and patrol the premises. For stores, security officers must maintain a visitor and employee long. They must be able to administer CPR and first aid measures.
At the moment, the state has 4 active growers and 3 that just got approved. Patients aren’t allowed to grow their own weed. According to the state commission, the market should have one cultivator per 6,000 patients. With a market that has over 87,000 patients, the state is due for at least 14 growers. It’s up to the commission to release new licenses for growers.
Trimmers are in charge of removing fan leaves and discarding them as waste. Trimmers must remove the branches and manually trim its buds using shears or scissors. As a trimmer, you must maintain a quality product and meet your daily quota. Throughout the process, you must maintain your tools and work area clean and organized.
Grower assistants are responsible for performing various cultivation duties. Growers may be in charge of feeding and pruning the plants. Growers must maintain accurate documentation and ensure all the plants are properly accounted for. They must work well with others and maintain a clean and organized work area. Prior experience in horticulture or agriculture is preferred.
Processors are the middlemen between growers and retailers. They transform the raw weed material into a variety of products. These include edibles, topicals, and more. Currently, there is no limit on the number of processors in the state. Processing jobs include packagers, edibles chefs, quality control specialists, delivery drivers, and more.
Packagers are responsible for packaging, weighing, and labeling finished products. They may need to prepare orders for delivery. As a packager, you may need to update inventory software. You'll input purchase orders and monitor inventory levels. You’ll need to inspect shipments for accuracy and unpack them as necessary.
An experienced extraction technician works in a weed extraction lab. Using a variety of solvents and closed-loop equipment, technicians prepare the biomass for extraction. They operate the extraction and post-refinement equipment. After extracting the oil, they must weigh, label, and record the data.
Ancillary pot jobs don’t directly deal with the plant. Instead, they provide supplementary services. These include accounting, legal help, marketing, distribution, and more. Previous experience in a relevant field can earn you a job working alongside a weed company. An ancillary position is a great first step toward working directly with the plant.
Arkansas Cannabis Job Training
Join the weed workforce in Arkansas with the help of CTU. Our online cannabis education program can prepare you to work in the industry. We cover the fundamentals of cannabis retail, cultivation, and more. CTU is ideal for students of all skill levels. Enroll in CTU’s training program today.