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Before we dive deep into the tips and tricks you can use to get a job in the cannabis industry, let’s go over why you should even consider a job in this field. The legal marijuana industry is the fastest-growing industry in the country.
States like Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois are seeing tremendous revenue gains and job growth. Mature cannabis markets such as Colorado, Washington, California, and Oregon continue to steadily grow and provide new jobs.
Cannabis jobs also tend to pay slightly higher salaries compared to similar positions in the non-cannabis industries. For instance, budtenders can earn higher wages than a retail employee in a department or grocery store.
Cannabis still isn’t legal on a national level, which means you’ll have to traverse the often confusing patchwork of cannabis laws that vary by state. Understanding the industry, however, can put you in a better position to succeed.
How to Get a Job in the Marijuana Industry
Millions of people are growing more and more interested in working in the legalized cannabis industry around the world. Still, many of them remain unsure of the ideal way to get their foot in the door.
Combining advice from cannabis business hiring managers with our staffs personal experience, we’ve put together a detailed list of tips to help professionals land that marijuana job they are looking for.
Choose Your Area of Interest
Budtenders work at medical and recreational dispensaries and guide customers through their sales journey. Budtenders may answer questions, recommend products, and describe strains in a friendly and educational manner.
Trimmers and growing assistants are involved in growing, trimming, harvesting, and packaging marijuana for sale. Trimming can be labor-intensive, but is a great entry-level job if you want to work your way up a cultivation company.
Cannabis growers run large-scale cultivation facilities and their accompanying staff of assistants, irrigation technicians, and other essential personnel. Master growers monitor plant health, nutrients, soil quality, humidity, and other factors that affect the flowering of the plant.
Cannabis chefs and edible makers can create exciting baked goods, drinks, candy, and other infused goods for medicinal or recreational cannabis consumption. Chefs are responsible for creating recipes with cannabis infused in oil or butter.
Cannabis extraction technicians work in a lab-grade setting with extraction equipment to create cannabis extracts in a variety of consistencies. Technicians can work with various solvent types and post-processing equipment to remove the residual solvent from the final concentrate.
Cannabis dispensary managers and owners are responsible for the day-to-day operation of one or multiple retail locations. Managers must hire and train staff, manage payroll, track inventory, and meet revenue quotas.
Delivery drivers must transport cannabis from a retail location to the home of a medical or recreational consumer. Other cannabis driver positions may require you to transport products between facilities.
Below, you’ll find a list of other cannabis-related job sectors and job openings you may find on job boards such as Indeed, Monster, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter:
- Accounting and finance: Accountant, Bookkeeper, Chief Financial Officer
- Business: Office Manager, Administrative Assistant, HR Manager, Receptionist
- Distribution: Inventory Specialist, Strategic Buyer, Warehouse Worker, Fleet Manager
- Legal: Application Writer, Compliance Manager, Regulations Inspector, Attorney
- Lifestyle: Cannabis Wedding Planner, Cannabis Tour Guide, Cannabis Chef
- Manufacturing: Packaging Supervisor, Product Designer, Head of Engineering
- Marketing: Event Coordinator, Art Director, Influencer Marketing, Freelance Writer
- Media: Social Media Influencer, Technical Writer, Translator, News Editor, Graphic Designer, Photographer, Videographer, On-Camera Host
- Sales: Sales Representative, Account Manager, E-Commerce Manager
- Science: Research Assistant, Lab Analyst, Chemist, Field Technician
- Tech: Software Developer, Product Designer (UI/UX), Cyber Security
Consider your previous job experience to determine which cannabis sector suits you best. Do you have job experience in retail, hospitality, management? Licensed dispensaries are on the hunt for budtenders who have customer service experience and managers with previous leadership experience.
While you should definitely be diligent and thoughtful about entering the cannabis industry and consider its unique challenges, time is of the essence. Like the California Gold Rush, the cannabis “green rush” has been on the move for years.
The industry is growing at warp speed meaning that companies are growing at a faster rate. With hard work and consistency, entry-level positions can turn into higher-paying positions for those interested in moving up the company.
For instance, plant trimmers with a solid year of experience are more likely to get promoted and work their way up to managing large cultivation operations in a few years. It’s important to strike while the iron is hot if you’re committed to working with cannabis.
Cannabis may have been born out of a counterculture against prohibition and the establishment, but today’s legal cannabis industry is far cry from its underground roots. Job applicants are expected to act and look professional.
Just because a company is promoting marijuana, doesn’t mean you get free reign to act casually or informally. Getting a cannabis job requires the same level of professionalism in developing a resume and interviewing as any other job out there.
Know The Industry
Even if you have no previous experience working in the cannabis industry, it’s important for you to be a quick learner, especially since the cannabis industry is constantly changing. Before an interview, read up on state laws and other cannabis industry terminology.
Understanding cannabis culture, the difference between hemp and cannabis, cannabinoids, and other up-to-date marijuana information can let employers know you are a fast learner and know your way around this burgeoning industry.
Have The Skills
A passion for cannabis isn’t the only prerequisite for getting hired in the cannabis industry. Employers don’t want to know how much weed you smoke a day or how long you’ve consumed marijuana for. They’re looking for relevant skills for the job position.
Don’t apply for a job without having the necessary qualifications, experience, and skills needed to perform the job duties. Having a passion for cannabis is just an extra perk and an advantage of working in the industry, but you have to have a lot more than a love for the plant.
Go Above And Beyond
The cannabis industry is full of startups hoping to break through to mainstream commercial success. Employers are looking for talent who can wear multiple hats and are willing to help out in the cannabis business whenever possible.
Doing more than what the job description calls for can be a great way for employers to give you additional responsibilities, pay raises, and a shot to stand out in your job position. Being humble and being an employee that shows initiative can go a long way.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask what you may think is a dumb question. There is no such thing as a dumb question and your employer will thank you for being proactive and inquisitive. During an interview or on the job, ask about the company’s future and growth opportunities.
Volunteer And Advocate For Cannabis Causes
Experience isn’t hard to come by if you seek volunteering opportunities in cannabis organizations. Volunteer in an advocacy group or any other cannabis movement group that can show you are dedicated to the cause, know the laws, and have a passion for the plant.
The cannabis industry is undergoing a revolution of historic proportions. Never in the history of the world has the cannabis market been on the precipice of significant commercial expansion. Regulations and policies are always changing in the industry. Changes to cannabis state law can instantly shift a business’s efficacy.
It’s ideal for management, staff, and future employees to be versatile and nimble enough to adapt to these new changes and challenges and learn on the fly to avoid any stall in production or efficiency.
Consider Your Criminal Record
Many legal cannabis states still perform background checks that look for criminal records. Applicants with criminal records have a difficult time finding quality work, in general, let alone the cannabis industry.
Applicants with misdemeanor convictions may fare better to job recruiters over those with a felony conviction. Ultimately, applicants are chosen on a case-by-case basis. Some companies may choose to overlook certain low-level offenses, but don’t count on it.
Some states are working on reversing the effects of the War on Drugs by helping individuals expunge their prior cannabis convictions. Consider your state’s rules on who can and who can’t apply to jobs in the marijuana field.
Consider Your Education
Depending on the job position you're applying for, education requirements may vary. Entry-level positions such as trimmers and budtenders may require a high school diploma or a GED. Some cannabis jobs require employees to have a degree in science such as chemistry or biology.
Move For Job Opportunities
There are an increasing number of cannabis-related jobs across the world. If you do consider moving, check the location's residency requirements. Some may require you to live there for a certain period of time before being considered a resident.
Newly launched medical and recreational marijuana programs in the U.S. are sure to bring in more entry-level cannabis positions with competitive salaries and benefits. There are plenty of job opportunities in the cannabis industry, but it may require a bit of a move.
Highlight Your Soft Skills
Job experience in a related field is important, but so are soft skills such as communication and leadership skills. In your cover letter, include examples or stories about instances you’ve shown soft skills such as when helping a customer with a particularly hard purchasing decision if you’re applying for a budtender position.
Don’t Consume On The Job
Just because you’ll be working in the cannabis industry doesn’t mean you can consume marijuana while on the job. Lighting up at your office desk or in a company meeting is not something you should feel comfortable doing.
Employers, however, may accommodate medical marijuana patients who require medicinal cannabis to treat their symptoms. Employees must be focused, productive, and thoughtful about their work, which can be compromised with casual cannabis consumption during work hours.
Working in the cannabis industry also doesn’t mean you have to consume the plant. Many cannabis-related positions in marketing, accounting, and other industries don’t require you to smoke or ingest the plant, but familiarity with the plant can be helpful.
Other jobs such as budtenders in a dispensary don’t necessarily require you to consume marijuana, but firsthand experience can help inform their guidance to customers. Having solid knowledge, whether firsthand or not, of cannabis products, strains, and delivery methods is enough.
The best way to set yourself apart from other applicants is to get certified by the leading cannabis college, Cannabis Training University. Only CTU has complete cannabis education courses that covers all facets of the industry and prepares applicants for all areas of employment.
CTU is the most accepted cannabis certification by cannabis businesses around the world, and has the most graduates, the most graduates that have gone on to work in the industry, and the most respected education by industry members. There are a number of other cannabis colleges, or “bandwagon jumpers”, that give less and charge more.
Plus these other schools are not known in the industry like CTU is, and offer cheap, watered-down educations with low-cost powerpoint text slides, while only CTU goes out and films amazing information from top cannabis growers, chefs, extraction technicians, business owners, lawyers, doctors, and budtenders. Don’t waste your money or be fooled by these other schools that leave you asking for more. Make sure to compare marijuana schools before spending your hard earned cash.
Make Industry Contacts
It’s always a good idea to get to know people in the cannabis industry when looking for a cannabis job or cannabis business idea. Marijuana trade shows are full of thousands of cannabis business owners and other interested marijuana job seekers. Get yourself CTU certified and get some cannabis business cards, get yourself out there, make connections, share your ideas and energy with others.
Apply on Cannabis Job Sites
Anyone looking for a marijuana job can benefit from a CTU certification and putting their cannabis resume and cover letter in front of employers. You can search on major search engines like Google and Bing for niche cannabis job sites focused on hiring for cannabis companies. Below, you’ll find some of the most well-known cannabis job sites where you can get a job in various marijuana industry sectors.
- 420Careers.com: Apply for full-time and part-time cannabis jobs, as well as freelance and remote gigs.
- Ganjapreneur.com: Search for recent job openings in legal cannabis states.
- Cannajobs.com: Submit your resume and find cannabis jobs in growing, technology, extraction, marketing, artisan, and operations sectors.
- Ms. Mary Staffing: Find open marijuana jobs by state and job type.
- Gehl Search Partners: A boutique recruitment firm for cannabis, adult beverage, and other highly-regulated markets. Find marketing, accounting, finance, and sales roles in the cannabis industry.
- Viridian Staffing: Find cannabis industry careers in retail management, pharmacy, chemistry, and executive management.
- Vangst: Match with employers looking to fill short-term job positions or temporary cannabis employment, as well as full-time cannabis jobs
Put Together an Awesome Cannabis Resume
CTU students learn how to write a marijuana resume and can then send their resumes out to cannabis employers. Make sure your resume focuses on your work ethic, any positive work history you may have, your love of working with people, your CTU education, and your belief and passion in the power or cannabis.
Write a Stellar Cover Letter
Tell employers that you will be a great addition to their team. That you are passionate about cannabis and would love to be able to work in the cannabis industry. That you are punctual, and have integrity. Tell them about your education from Cannabis Training University and your enormous understanding of all things cannabis, from the history of it, to the medical applications, laws, business, cultivation, cooking, extractions, and more! Employers love to hear that an applicant is well-versed on all subject areas when it comes to cannabis.
Schedule Your Interview
Send out your cannabis resume, cannabis certifications, cannabis cover letter, and be ready to set up an interview. Research what cannabis companies you might like to work for, send your resume out and follow up until they give you the opportunity to interview.
When your interview day comes, be on time, dress professionally, bring your resume and CTU certifications with you, and be yourself. Relax, and let the employer know how great of an addition you will be. Explain to them all the areas of education and certifications you passed at CTU and how you feel it has helped you prepare for a position with their company.
Don’t forget your manners and follow up with your future employer. Thank your interviewer through an email and let them know how excited you are to start your position. Don’t hesitate to check in to inquire about their employment decision. Show that you care and are committed to the position. Just know when and when not to send an email. Follow common best practices when following up with a cannabis company such as being polite and waiting one week before following up.
Start your New Cannabis Job
Go in and enjoy your new cannabis career! Be punctual, polite, energetic, passionate, caring, empathetic, and most of all, have fun! So don’t let anything stop you from landing that cannabis job. If you are looking to find out how to work in the cannabis industry, follow the steps above and fasten your seat belt! It is a fun ride!
Fred Hernandez is a highly accomplished and versatile writer, boasting an extensive background in the cannabis industry. With an in-depth understanding of various sectors including cultivators, processors, retailers, and brands, Fred's expertise spans across the entire cannabis landscape. As a prominent contributor to CTU, he consistently delivers insightful articles exploring the latest developments, news, and regulations shaping the cannabis industry. Whether it's delving into the intricacies of cannabis products, cannabis strain reviews, or providing comprehensive analyses of cannabis laws, or sharing expert insights on cannabis cultivation techniques, Fred's wealth of knowledge positions him as an invaluable writer and educator for all cannabis-related subjects.