Cannabis jobs are in demand right now with no end in sight. If you want to start working in this new and exciting industry, you're going to need the right skills, experience, and education just to get the interview.
If you check all of the hiring manager’s boxes, you will break into the world's most fast-paced and fast-growing market. Our guide on cannabis careers covers the most popular positions in the industry and shows you how you can get hired, even if you have no experience.
Here's what our career guide will cover:
Table of Contents for Ultimate Guide to Dispensary and Other Cannabis Industry Jobs:
- State of the cannabis job market
- Cannabis cultivation jobs
- Lab and extraction jobs
- Cannabis manufacturing job
- Cannabis retail jobs
- Ancillary jobs in cannabis
- Government requirements for cannabis industry workers
- How to land a job in the legal cannabis industry
- Getting certified for the cannabis industry
Ready to start your journey in this rewarding and exciting industry?
State of the Cannabis Job Market: 2021 Update
Marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the nation. In fact, Leafly reports that job growth doubled in 2020 from the previous year adding 77,300 full-time cannabis jobs. Legal weed now supports 321,000 jobs in the U.S.
Currently, medical cannabis is legal in 37 states, and recreational cannabis is legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia. Marijuana reform efforts across several states hope to increase legalization over the next few years.
Even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, job growth continued to rise partly because governors in most states declared marijuana an essential product. Online ordering, delivery, and curbside pickup are just a few ways that have kept the industry safe and growing.
While marijuana jobs are growing across all legal states, mature markets in densely populated states are thriving. Here are the top 10 states with the number of jobs they added in 2020 and their total job count:
- California added 23,707 jobs for a total of 57,970 jobs
- Colorado added 4,338 jobs for a total of 35,539 jobs
- Florida added 14,891 jobs for a total of 31,444 jobs
- Arizona added 5,648 jobs for a total of 20,728 jobs
- Washington added 524 jobs for a total of 19,873 jobs
- Michigan added 9,216 jobs for a total of 18,078 jobs
- Oregon added 687 jobs for a total of 17,981 jobs
- Illinois added 8,348 jobs for a total of 16,837 jobs
- Oklahoma added 6,237 jobs for a total of 16.759 jobs
- Pennsylvania added 7,188 jobs for a total of 15,895 jobs
As more states continue to legalize cannabis, we can expect an increase in job opportunities over the next few years. Below, we will cover the different types of sectors in the industry and the most in-demand entry-level and management positions to look out for.
Cannabis cultivation at indoor, outdoor, or greenhouse facilities requires workers to care for and maintain cannabis plants and the environment around them.
A cannabis trimmer is responsible for removing the mature flower buds from the branches and pruning the leaves and stems. Trimmers must meet a daily quota. The job requires repetitive hand and arm movements.
A grower’s assistant is responsible for handling everyday care and maintenance tasks such as watering, feeding, defoliation, transplanting, pest control, and sanitation.
A master grower is responsible for overseeing the entire facility’s operation, troubleshooting garden issues, and ensuring that the production stays on schedule and the yield meets the brand quality.
Lab and Extraction
Cannabis lab and extraction facilities process raw material (buds, trim, and concentrate) into a variety of cannabis extracts for use in many cannabis derivative products.
An extraction technician is responsible for operating the extraction machinery, producing cannabis oil, and performing post-processing techniques including purging solvents to improve the quality of the oil.
Quality Control Specialist
A quality control specialist oversees the production of concentrates and product testing. A quality control specialist ensures the product is pure and free of contaminants.
Cannabis manufacturing facilities use cannabis oil or butter to infuse active ingredients such as CBD and THC into a wide range of edibles, beverages, topicals, tinctures, and more products.
A cannabis packager is in charge of weighing, labeling, and packaging cannabis products, including flower-based products like joints or concentrates.
A kitchen assistant prepares ingredients, maintains equipment, cleans the kitchen space, and follows the recipes to completion.
An edibles chef formulates new infused creations and ensures the production of edibles meets the brand guidelines and is state compliant.
A dispensary carries a wide range of products for sale for medical patients and/or recreational consumers.
A cannabis budtender is responsible for answering customer questions and recommending products to provide them with relief. A budtender must also handle cash and use a point-of-sale system.
A receptionist checks in patients and customers and ensures they meet the requirements. A receptionist may answer phone calls and emails, update the dispensary menu online, and perform other clerical duties.
A delivery driver transports cannabis products from a retail store or delivery service to a customer's home. Drivers must perform the delivery in a reasonable time, check the customer ID, and handle cash.
A dispensary manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a retail store, training staff, handling payroll, and meeting the sales goals.
Ancillary Jobs in Cannabis
Ancillary positions do not directly touch the cannabis plants. Instead, these positions provide services to cannabis companies.
Accountants handle the finances and operating expenses of a cannabis facility.
Attorneys provide legal advice and counsel to companies. They may also represent them during criminal or civil court proceedings.
A compliance consultant advises a company on the local, state, provincial, and federal cannabis regulations.
A cannabis physician can recommend the use of cannabis for qualifying medical patients.
An inventory manager is responsible for maintaining and tracking cannabis-related inventory and creating product orders when needed.
Marketing and public relations (PR) professionals can help brand, advertise, and market products to attract customers.
Packaging designers design the product packaging to meet state and provincial packaging and labeling laws which may include childproofing the product.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent helps companies find properties available for sale or lease and provides information on local zoning regulations.
A wholesale salesperson travels locally or across the country selling products and services and developing a rapport with prospective clients.
A scientist and researcher are involved with designing and conducting research on cannabis and its medicinal properties.
A security guard protects cannabis facilities, inventory, employees, and their customers through surveillance of cameras and suspicious activity when patrolling the premises.
A staffing agent is responsible for finding work for job seekers and employees for businesses that are hiring.
A cannabis tour guide takes customers through a tour of cannabis facilities and businesses. Tour guides educate customers about the industry and its operations.
A website developer designs a website for a business and helps update it regularly.
A writer and editor for the industry is responsible for creating a variety of online and print content for cannabis businesses. This can include writing magazine articles, business documents, standard operating procedures, or marketing materials.
Government Requirements for Cannabis Industry Workers
The requirements to work in the cannabis industry vary by jurisdiction. Understanding these requirements is your first step towards earning a cannabis career. Every state in the U.S. and province or territory in Canada has different cannabis laws and requirements.
State regulatory requirements may include:
- Minimum age
- Background check
- Application fees
- Training requirements
- Work permit
Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in the states:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- South Dakota
- Washington State
Cannabis is legal only for medical use in these states:
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Cannabis is prohibited for any use in these states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
How to Land a Job in the Legal Cannabis Industry
It's never been easier to find work in the marijuana industry. If you meet the government requirements and have the right skills and expertise, you can find employment opportunities in a range of positions in dispensaries and other facilities.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to go from no experience to being fully employed in a highly competitive industry.
Where to Search for Marijuana Jobs
Cannabis careers can be found in a variety of sources including:
- Traditional job boards like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter. Apply every day or set an alert for the position you are looking for.
- Cannabis-specific job boards such as 420Careers, BloomTHC, and Ganjapreneur. Jobs are more scarce here than on traditional job boards.
- Social media sites and company profiles can post job openings or you can reach them directly.
- Networking at local events or in person at the facility can help put a face to a name and expand your network.
Grow Your Industry Experience
Since the industry is relatively new, not everyone has direct experience working with cannabis. That's okay. you can impress hiring managers with transferable skills learned in a relevant or similar position. If you want to go above and beyond, you can volunteer in marijuana-related nonprofits and advocacy groups to learn more about the industry.
How to Write a Resume
A resume showcases your skills, experience, and education, on a single page. Creating a unique resume for every job you apply for can give you a better chance of standing out from the pool of applicants.
Streamline the resume creation process by developing a master resume that includes all of your work experience, education, and skills. Then, you can tailor your resume to the job ad you're applying for. Make sure to include language included in the job ad to catch the eye of the hiring manager or make it through the automated resume filtering system.
Learn how to write a resume for the cannabis industry on our blog resource.
How to Write a Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter is one of the most effective ways to stand out, especially since most applicants do not include one. A cover letter should include your skills and experience and is another way for hiring managers to get a feel for your personality.
We go into detail on how to write a cover letter for the cannabis industry in our blog.
How to Succeed In a Cannabis Job Interview
Getting a call back for an interview is one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking parts of the job search. It could all come together or fall apart during the interview. That is why it is important to prepare beforehand to make a good first impression.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed during your interview:
- Nonverbal communication matters. A good posture, eye contact, and a firm handshake can evoke confidence.
- Dress for success. Just because it’s a casual workplace does not mean you should dress casually for the interview. Dress in slightly more formal wear to show your professionalism.
- Ask questions. Prepare at least one or a few questions beforehand about the company so you can figure out if it's a good fit for you, too.
- Prepare examples of moments you solved a problem or created a solution at work or elsewhere. Giving examples of your accomplishments can show interviewers how you handle on-the-job situations.
- Use professional language. While the cannabis industry is relatively casual, now is not the time to use slang. Research the proper industry terms to speak intelligently with the interviewer.
Get Cannabis Industry Education at CTU
If you want to join the cannabis workforce, industry certification from a reputable training institute can give you a competitive edge.
Cannabis Training University has more graduates in cannabis careers than any other cannabis college. Since 2009, CTU has enabled students of all skill levels from all over the world to grow their marijuana career or hobby.
CTU is 100% online. Use it anytime, anywhere, on any device, with 365 days of access to classes developed by veterans in the industry.
Choose from a variety of courses depending on your area of interest, including:
- Cannabis medicine
- Cannabis extraction
- Cannabis cooking
- Cannabis cultivation
- Cannabis careers
- Cannabis business
Whether you're a medical patient who wants to start your first grow or you're a budding entrepreneur with dreams of opening a licensed facility, enrolling in Cannabis Training University is the right choice for you.