The cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace, and continues to expand into new territories as an increasing number of states pass laws legalizing medical marijuana, adult-use cannabis, or both. Every segment of the industry is expanding and new jobs are opening up all over the country.
Recently, President Trump signs the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from Appendix 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Hemp production and the creation of related products now has a green light to proceed in all 50 states. Research into hemp’s most marketable cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), can now take place without the legal restrictions imposed on it during its previous Schedule 1 listing (which defined hemp as having no medicinal value, thereby preventing scientific research). While industrial hemp differs from marijuana because hemp cannot contain more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, it is rich in CBD, the other cannabinoid with strong commercial value. While marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, many in the cannabis industry speculate that full legalization may occur within the next five years.
What all of this means to you is a strong job market in this growing industry. There is a broad range of jobs that work specifically with cannabis, as well as a range of other related ancillary jobs that do not actually touch the plant.
The most common jobs in the cannabis space are budtender, cultivation, and infused-products (concentrates and edibles) manufacturing. These positions can provide rewarding work and opportunities for growth for people with a strong work ethic and a desire to learn and develop themselves professionally. Let’s examine these three roles in more detail, as well as ways to set yourself apart from the crowd when it comes to landing your dream job.
First of all, you must be 21 years of age or older to work with cannabis. If you qualify with this prerequisite and are looking for a good entry-level job, read further.
Becoming a budtender is the way in which most people find a cannabis job. Dispensaries are opening at a rapid clip, and they need employees to man the ship. It helps to enter the job with the right expectations. As well as being a cannabis expert who’s well-versed in various strains and related products, a good budtender must be good with people and provide outstanding customer service. A good budtender must also be well-versed in retail best practices, because budtending is most definitely a retail job.
Although various dispensaries all sell marijuana and related products, the manner in which they conduct business can vary dramatically. Inventory can vary, as well as store layout, which range from simple to elaborate. POS software and other programs will vary as well. And remember that dispensaries are often busy places, and long lines of customers are not uncommon, so a budtender will be on his or her feet for most of the assigned shift. The good part is that you work with and sell marijuana, a product you are most likely passionate about. In a busy and well-stocked dispensary, the time can pass quickly.
Jobs in cultivation are almost as much in demand as budtender positions. There is more of a range of job types on the cultivation side of a business. Whether you work for a vertically integrated company that grows its own product and owns its own stores or you work for a cultivation company that wholesales its flower, the work is much the same. The less-desirable—but extremely necessary—daily tasks often go to the new employees. These types of chores include washing and preparing the growing medium (for hydroponic operations), as well as hauling soil and fertilizer (for soil-growing operations). Other positions work more directly with the plants. Growing high-quality cannabis requires daily evaluation of plants that are in different stages of growth. Watering, mixing nutrients, and visual inspections are daily, routine chores as well. More advanced cultivation jobs include working with mother plants and clones, harvesting, trimming, curing, and packaging.
Having experience with home cannabis cultivation can provide worthwhile experience for a cultivation job, but the two are quite different—as different as having a home garden is to running an entire nursery. Commercial cannabis growing is farming, with all of the concerns of farmers who grow conventional crops. Production quotas, pest management and treatment, research and development for the creation of new strains, and compliance that relates to agricultural practices are all a regular part of the job. The work environment can be hot and the shifts tiring. Those who enjoy and excel at cultivation often have different personalities than those who perform well as budtenders since there is no customer interaction and the work is more solitary.
Working at a MIP (marijuana-infused products) facility is yet another common career path since cannabis concentrates and edibles are lucrative and expanding segments of the industry. In many ways, cannabis extraction is part art and part science. While there are standard practices and operating procedures for extraction, there are some inevitable variables that occur that sometimes necessitate slight production modifications for improved results. If you have a scientific mind and enjoyed chemistry in school, a career path at a MIP facility may be a great fit for you. Since the extraction process often involves volatile chemicals like alcohol, propane, and butane (depending on the extraction method), there is a certain level of danger involved, and solid safety measures must be in place.
MIP work includes “solvent-less” extraction and edibles creation, too. Most hash sold in dispensaries is “bubble hash” made with ice water rather than standard old processes, which simply aren’t practical for a commercial operation. The creation of bubble hash poses little danger. The kitchen at MIP facilities includes jobs that also pose few dangers other than coming into contact with hot stoves. Naked edibles, candy creation, and infused beverages are standard jobs in the cannabis industry. If you enjoy baking and spending time in the kitchen at home, a job in edibles creation may be a good fit.
Training for Cannabis Jobs
Anyone who is seeking a job in cannabis would be wise to invest in some formal training, like that provided by the Cannabis Training University. Training of this sort addresses some of the most common job responsibilities commonly found in the modern cannabis industry. Online classes and testing will earn students important certification that will prove value in their new career endeavors.
When it comes time to interview for a cannabis job, there will be competition, so it’s important to be able to set yourself apart from the crowd. Certification from the Cannabis Training University or other institution of learning will catch a recruiter’s eye when he or she sorts through a pile of resumes. These recruiters want to hire the best person for the job, someone who can hit the ground running their first day on the job. Formal training and certification are the perfect way to sell yourself as the best person for the job. While each cannabis company has training of their own and practices that can differ, certification proves you have a solid foundation of knowledge that many others lack.
Job Postings and Employment Agencies
Many people find work through the standard online job boards like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Monster, but there are other more specialized ways of finding employment, too.
Some employment agencies serve the cannabis industry exclusively. With some looking, you will most likely discover one in your area if you live in a legal cannabis state. Some of the larger agencies have expanded to include offices in multiple states. Companies like Vangst always have numerous positions to fill, so it pays to contact them and view their job posting and needs. Ms. Mary Staffing is another large cannabis recruiting company that places numerous people into good-paying jobs. There are many other cannabis recruiters out there to help you.
Landing a career in cannabis can provide a rewarding career path. Cannabis accounts for the fastest-growing industry in the United States and is here to stay. If you want an exciting job with room for growth, there is no better place to look!