If you’re looking for a cannabis job in 2019, you’re not alone. Cannabis employment opportunities are increasingly available throughout the United States in both the marijuana and hemp sectors. As cannabis legalization continues, it’s becoming an attractive option for an increasing number of people.
Cannabis industry insiders often refer to jobs that “touch the plant,” as well as jobs that don’t. This merely refers to jobs that include working directly with marijuana and others that serve the cannabis industry but are not directly involved with cultivation, processing, extraction, retail, delivery, and other positions where a person actually has their hands on marijuana product.
One key difference between jobs that touch the plant and others that don’t is the licensing usually required for jobs that include working directly with marijuana. Every state varies a bit with their requirements for these types of jobs, but all of them will require that you be 21 years old or older. Obtaining a license typically involves things like criminal background checks, submitting fingerprints, having a photograph taken, and paying a licensing fee. Licenses typically have an expiration date when repaying a fee is necessary to keep it active. Those who have licenses that expire and still show up for work, risk having their employment terminated, because the legal risk is too great for their employer for even working a single day. Heed this warning. There is no wiggle room or flexibility.
Gain an Advantage
If you’re looking for a job working directly with cannabis, you can put yourself at an advantage over others competing for the same jobs by doing two simple things. First, enlist in a cannabis training program like the one offered by the Cannabis Training University. Even if you believe you know everything there is to know about cannabis, having this certification will put you at a distinct advantage over others who are competing for the same jobs as you.
The other thing is to get your license before you apply for a job. The cannabis industry moves at a brisk pace, and it’s not at all uncommon for a job description to require proof of licensing. In Colorado, for instance, the marijuana industry is regulated by the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), and a “MED Badge” is necessary to work with cannabis. Many job applications in this state will require a MED Badge number upon applying. In Colorado, there are two types of MED Badges, one for general employees and another one for managers and decision makers. The fee for the management badge is more expensive. Companies want to fill positions quickly and don’t want to wait. If you don’t already have a license when you apply for a cannabis job and another equally qualified applicant does, he or she will get the job.
If you show up for a cannabis industry job interview with both a license number and proof of industry-specific training and certification, it will impress your potential employer, and if you present yourself professionally during the interview, you will stand a good chance of getting the job.
Break the Stereotype
Although public opinion about cannabis is changing, there is still a pervasive opinion that it’s full of stoners and unmotivated potheads. One corporate executive who was a vice president for a large, prominent cannabis company in a marketing and communications role was once talking with an old friend who worked in a more mainstream job. When the subject of his new cannabis-industry corporate job came up, the friend said, “What did you have to do to get that job, roll a really good joint during the interview?” Yes, this was a conversation between old friends and it was mildly funny, but it illustrates an important point. Many Americans are still trying to catch up with the idea of a legal and highly lucrative industry that was once only a black-market criminal activity.
White-collar jobs in corporate cannabis are high-paying and extremely demanding. Since most successful cannabis-industry companies are still essentially start-ups, they are suffering through the growing pains of any successful company. Corporate cannabis job will usually require applicants that have proven their worth in other industries so they can hit the road running and contribute to the company’s bottom line right from the beginning. Jobs like this are all about competency and making money. They have nothing at all to do with getting high—although the fact they do not require drug testing is a plus for many people. Employers want competent, driven people with a strong work ethic—not employees who want to dash out the front door at 5 p.m. every day.
Plan for a cannabis industry job interview just like you would any other job interview. Regardless of whether the job is for a budtender position or for the director of logistics, present yourself professionally. Even if the cultivation position you seek will require you to wear jeans and a company t-shirt, dress for success. Cultivation and budtender applications should dress “business casual,” and manager and corporate job applicants should wear professional business attire. Men should wear a suit or coat and tie. Women should dress in a similar professional fashion. This helps prove that the job is important to you, you want to make a good impression, and you respect the company. It’s always better to overdress for an interview than underdress.
Research the company and thoroughly review its website so you can speak intelligently about company practices and endeavors during the interview. Make strong eye contact with the interviewer, speak calmly and confidently, and have some thoughtful questions to ask. Save your questions for late in the interview, but definitely have some. As well as the company interviewing you, you are interviewing the company. You want to make sure you’re the right fit.
Never arrive late to the interview. Job-interview best practices usually include arriving 15 minutes early. The receptionist may have you sit and cool your heels for a while, but arriving early shows that you are very interested in the position and have respect for the company and the interviewers busy schedule.
As a starting point when looking for a cannabis job, it never hurts to check out the major employment websites like Indeed.com, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter. Old favorites like Monster.com are worth checking, too. Industry-specific job sites like Cannabis Training University’s job board and 420 Jobs can also yield good results. Since many cannabis-industry jobs are with fledgling companies, explore sites site like AngelList.
Social media websites vary in their overall acceptance of cannabis-related content. Fortunately, LinkedIn is one of the more progressive when it comes to marijuana and related jobs. Make cannabis-industry connections and post. The marijuana industry is all about making connections, and that’s one of the best ways to land a good cannabis job. If you do this, and visit LinkedIn often, your page will begin to look like the MassRoots phone app more than a mainstream social media site. Photos of elite flower strains and grow rooms will fill your screen. Connect with people posting them. When you’re looking for a job, it’s not the time to be shy.
Cannabis Employment Agencies
Depending on the state you live in, there may be some good cannabis employment agencies at your disposal. Many of these companies started in the first states to legalize marijuana, and some have offices in many of the legal states.
Check out Vangst and Ms. Mary Staffing. This is a start, but really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding a good cannabis job you’re qualified for and will enjoy.
Cannabis Job Fairs
Keep your eye’s peeled for cannabis job fairs and expos. Make sure your resume is just how you want it and make numerous copies to distribute. Companies like Vangst and Ms. Mary Staffing hold them on a regular basis. Other staffing companies do as well. Explore local options that may exist in your area. If you live in a legal cannabis state, most likely there are job fairs with a cannabis focus.
Searching for a dream job can be a nerve-wracking and frustrating process. Perseverance and gumption are good qualities to foster at these times. Don’t give up and remain positive. There is a job out there for you. Remind yourself of this fact on a regular basis. Good things come to those with patience. You’ve got this!