Shhh… do you smell that?
Weed is in the air.
The Green Rush is upon us, and the limitless potential of the cannabis industry is unfolding.
But don’t worry, it’s not too late to get involved, and we got your back!
This article will help define your path for getting into the ever changing cannabis field, explain some of the challenges involved, job titles in the industry and describe how you can get an edge on anyone else seeking employment for cannabis related industries.
In California, adult-use of marijuana just became legal. In preparation, dispensaries around the state have been scrambling for licenses, investors are racing to search for cannabis real estate properties where they can build up a cannabis business, manufacturers are adjusting to new regulations, and it seems that just about everyone is trying to get a finger in this pot-pie.
If you’ve ever used cannabis, than you are aware that occasionally you can get pretty deep with thoughts on life, new ventures, and creativity seems to just pour out of you. There’s not a stoner among us who hasn’t wished they could turn their passion for the plant into a career.
So how do you do it? How do you break into this budding industry and succeed?
Let’s dig into it.
How to get Hired in the Cannabis Industry
According to Arcview Market research industry analysts, the cannabis industry will create 400,000 new jobs by 2021. That’s almost half a million jobs to sink your teeth into.
But don’t let those numbers fool you– the competition is FIERCE.
Be prepared to hustle, network, shake hands, go to events and have your image seen in the community. It is a must in this extremely competitive industry.
There are currently more people interested in getting one of these jobs than there are jobs available, but fear not brave soul. The cannabis industry is a giving industry. There are quite a few ways to break into it. So what should you do first?
VIDEO – 5 Tips on Joining the Cannabis Industry
CREC Co-founder Rick Payne gives us 5 tips on getting into the cannabis industry. The CREC team has a combined 30+ years of experience in the cannabis industry. We hope this useful knowledge will encourage anyone wanting to break into the cannabis world to take that first step.
Analyze Your Strengths
- Do you have amazing people skills? Can you handle high-volume retail or face to face customer service? Dispensaries around the country are scrambling for quality employees to service their customer base. This subsection of the cannabis industry is the largest, and therefore the easiest and best place to start.
- Those with managerial experience at high-end clothing stores are being wooed by the prospect of managing their own high-end dispensary.
- Tourism is another booming piece of the pie, with industry tours in legalized states on the same merchant battle ground as wine tours in Napa.
- Glass blowers are raking in the dough as more and more adult users are demanding fancier and more beautiful ways to consume their weed.
- Those with science or manufacturing backgrounds will be needed to test and infuse new products and of course, every other role is needed for running a typical business: accountants, sales reps, software engineers, web developers, etc.
Cannabis Jobs by Industry Sector
Cannabis Industry Job Titles
Get inspired on where to start with this list of potential jobs in the cannabis industry.
- Master Grower
- Cultivation Site Manager
- Cultivation Site Worker
- Clone Technician
- Cannabis Chef
- Laboratory Technician
- Field Tech
- Water Filtration Systems
- Distribution Clerk
- Store Manager
- Delivery Driver
- Sales Rep
- Web Development
- Software Developer
- Hydroponics Sales
- Compliance Director
- Cannabis Real Estate Agent
- IT Management
- Cannabis Tour Guide
There is Room for Growth and Opportunity
This business is so fresh and new, that any experience you have in the industry will count for more than in a traditional business.
For example, if you work for a company for a year, the potential to move your way up in the business is so much greater than if you worked at a hair salon or a brewery. It’s possible to start as a trimmer on a cultivation site and work your way up to directing the site in just a few years, as most of these businesses hire management from within.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that you should be prepared to network. Keep in mind that most cannabis businesses are start-ups, so long-term employment should not be expected. “It’s who you know” applies to this industry just as much as any other.
If you’re waiting for a bell to ring to signal the right timing, consider this your ringer. Now is the time to get your feet wet in the industry.
Don’t Look the Part
That may seem contradictory, but the fact remains that the cannabis industry is still battling some deep-rooted stigma.
Whether choosing to start your own business, or even break into the industry at a basic entry-level position, the “stoner” look is not a good look. Like with any interview, overdressing is probably the better move.
Get rid of the tie-dye, the grungy baggy clothes and pretty much anything that perpetuates that pothead stereotype. Arrive to your interview or meeting with investors looking more like Jon Hamm in Mad Men rather than Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
Looking professional indicates a passion for the product and will demand higher respect. It also aids others in your company in being taken seriously as law-abiding hard workers. Most people who have started businesses in cannabis have have dedicated their lives and risked everything to establish a legitimate business in this industry. Dressing up just lends the respect that kind of dedication deserves.
Educate Yourself on the Industry and National Laws
Knowledge is always power. There is so much to learn about this business from the literal ground up.
Having knowledge about cannabis is invaluable in this industry, especially if you are wanting to work directly with the plant through cultivation, manufacturing or retail.
However, it’s important to know that first hand consumption is NOT necessary to jump into this field. Just like any product you’re getting ready to sell, learning about it will help you, but by no means do you need to be a connoisseur to land a job in the cannabis industry (unless that’s your niche).
Cannabis education is important, but staying compliant with rapidly changing laws is probably even more valuable. Being up-to-date with cannabis laws in your area will help keep you compliant and will also make you an asset to whatever company you work for, especially if it’s your own.
Think Outside of the Stash box
Understand that if you are wanting to start your own cannabis business that you will need to innovate beyond the basics. Imagine how you can aid the industry itself and take a look at ancillary growth.
However, be aware that a cannabis start-up will take a lot of capitol to get started, and certain businesses are still a risky venture for investors. Cannabis jobs that don’t “touch the plant” are taking off right now, for that very reason.
Much like alcohol, the cannabis industry is virtually recession-proof.
Reading up on how to invest in cannabis yourself might be a great place for your spot in the industry, whether through real estate, stocks or other areas where direct contact with the plant isn’t necessary to make a profit.
Network in the Cannabis Community
Networking is always a positive move regardless of the business you’re trying to break into.
Some ways to get started:
- Get the tools you need to compete in the cannabis industry with the Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP). These guys have expert services including compliance workshops, updates with cannabis law, panels of experts and the latest in new technology, giving you a considerable edge over anyone else seeking employment.
- California Cannabis Entrepreneur Association (CCEA) is a fantastic place to search for mixers or meet-ups if you’re in California to start meeting local business owners or start-ups to get involved with.
- Ganjapreneur doesn’t just have job listings, they post networking events all over the country to help people find endless opportunities to enter the legal cannabis industry.
- The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) also regularly promotes conferences and events around the country to “strengthen the cannabis business community and elevate sophistication throughout the industry.”
- Volunteering in the political movement will also help you to rub shoulders with big cannabis industry players who are changing the game on a daily basis. It’s a close-knit community, so finding your local NORML chapter to get involved will help to establish trust with future employers and get your foot in the door.
What a time to be alive, right?
Most Importantly – Don’t Give Up!
Making the decision to get a job in the cannabis industry is a thrilling, long-term, and exciting prospect at this time.
The bottom line is that while there are challenges to breaking into it, the key is perseverance and networking.
- Do your research on the business niche you want to enter.
- Submit in-person applications with all relevant work experience (based on the job you’re applying for- not always cannabis experience) to as many employers as you can.
- Reach out to the businesses you want to work with, both online and in person.
- Keep calling, networking and volunteering and your path will become obvious.
Getting a job in the cannabis industry is not for everyone, but if you’ve made it this far, chances are you are passionate — and that’s what the new 420 game needs moving forward.
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