As the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana expands across North America, more employment opportunities and new cannabis careers are becoming available. The marijuana industry had a worth of over $19 billion in 2019 and brought over a quarter of a million cannabis jobs to the US alone. As the industry grows, so do the opportunities for employment. Some jobs ask for industry transferable skills and others need more specialized backgrounds and experiences. Some ask for a specific skill set and others teach you from the ground up.
An overview of the cannabis industry runs from grow facilities to stores to mail order. There are jobs to be found in each facet of the market, including sales, delivery, growers, harvesters, and executives, all positions intertwined in this fast-growth industry.
Overview of Positions in the Industry
Cannabis Manicurist – While many industries are losing jobs to AI and other machinery, the cannabis industry is different. While trimming can be done with machines, the final buds need a real person to clean them up. Some places used to pay by the pound so skilled workers made more but as the industry tightens up its employment rules, full-time employees working as manicurists now get breaks, proper workdays, and all the other rights that regular workers get. Your job-hunting strategy should focus on your ability to be precise.
LabTech – Many regulations surround this new industry and oversight for safety are paramount. Growers need to make sure that the product is free from pesticides, mold, and bacteria. They do this through laboratories that are considered third party. These labs are looking for techs who have a background in biology and chemistry. You don’t need any cannabis experience. An entry-level position in a lab gets you experience so you can move up in the industry.
Packaging and Production – The rapid growth of the industry means there is a lot of demand and open jobs centered around not just growing marijuana but in edibles and retail as well. All these facets of the industry need people who can get the product out to the dispensaries. These workers package, seal, and label products in their entry-level positions.
Budtender – This is a good entry position for those who like retail. They help people select the product that is best for their needs, offering their knowledge to customers.
Delivery – Just like in any other business, drivers are needed to take products from production to distribution. There are strict transport rules so your job-hunting strategy should be to let potential employers know about your reliability and willingness to follow rules.
Office Jobs – Every company needs people in procurement, buying, accounting, and customer service and there are a lot of job opportunities in the cannabis business. Any background in these fields is transferable to a cannabis career of a similar nature.
Executive Jobs – You should have a good grasp of the cannabis market if you are looking to be at an executive level. This includes managers, directors, CEOs, and CFO’s.
If you want to be hired into the cannabis industry, there are some good ways for job seekers to go about it. First, decide where you are going to focus. Retail? Grow facilities? Testing? Management? Production? Marijuana dispensary? Once you have an idea of where your skill set fits best, start your search. Here are some strategies to help you.
1. Staffing Agencies for the Cannabis Industry
A solid job search strategy is to reach out to specialized cannabis staffing agencies. Sign up with various companies and then look through the tons of cannabis jobs they offer. You can create a personal portfolio and share pictures as well. You can look at jobs in the area of:
- Growing – Farmhands, managers, finishers
- Production – Managers, assistants, workers
- Executive positions
- Retail management
These agencies highlight those with experience so they can be found by cannabis companies who are searching for everything from bud trimmers to growers to medical cannabis professionals. They also help people new to the industry to get their foot in the door, get CVs up to snuff, and offer positions you can apply for. Companies like this one help you translate your resume from mainstream industries to fit within the world of cannabis and use your current skills in a new way. Learn how to highlight your skills on your resume in the best light possible to the cannabis industry.
2. Online Job Boards to Find Cannabis Careers
While many staffing agencies have their own job boards for the cannabis industry, there are additional job boards to further your search in cannabis careers. They help you narrow down your search, give you an overview of jobs available, and show you where you can find them. Some are more local while others reach across state lines and borders. These job boards are specialized and hit all areas of the industry.
3. Mainstream HR & Staffing Sites
You will find more and more opportunities in the cannabis industry on regular mainstream staffing sites. Skill sets are often transferable in upper management, office, security, or driving work. Accounting, HR, and similar positions may merge from mainstream industries to cannabis. Working in the industry is no longer stigmatized cannabis industry boards are not the only place you can look for cannabis careers.
Make real-life connections with people in the industry and have a face and name to interact with. Go to industry meetings, events, and tradeshows. You‘ll meet people, learn more about the industry, and you might find opportunities to help your job search.
You need to have a good job-hunting strategy if you are heading into the industry. While there are many available, make sure you find the company that meets your needs and passion for the business. You can find jobs from entry-level up to executive to apply for. Any of cannabis careers will take off if you use a good job hunt strategy and know what position is the right fit for you.
Olivia Solero is the Co-founder of Cannabis Stack. Olivia has an unusual blend of creative thinking and the ability to put that thinking into effect. She likes to write; loves to edit; she knows how to lead, follow or get out of the way; she is good with a buck and wicked smart when it comes to data.