If you’re wondering how to get a job in the cannabis industry, you’re not alone. Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. As of March 2020, medical cannabis is legal in 33 states, while another 11 states have legalized recreational cannabis. For many people, cannabis use has become as mainstream as alcohol or tobacco.
The rise in legal cannabis has been accompanied by a rise in jobs related to its production and retail. Furthermore, because the cannabis industry is still relatively new, there are huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and business innovation.
Here are some tips to help you get a job in the cannabis industry.
Do Your Homework
First, do your homework. As with any job, it helps to know as much about the product as possible. Can you explain the difference between cannabis and hemp? What about the differences between sativa and indica? If you’re interested in working with medical cannabis, do you know which varieties are best suited for which ailments?
You don’t need a PhD in agricultural science to get a job in the cannabis industry, but you’ll improve your odds of being hired by increasing your general knowledge. Take some time to educate yourself on the basics:
- The history of cannabis
- How to grow, harvest, and prepare cannabis
- Different methods of cannabis consumption (smoking, edibles, tinctures, etc.)
- How THC and CBD affect the brain and the body
- How to use cannabis safely
Learning about cannabis will also show a potential employer that you’re passionate, motivated, and a quick learner. Because the cannabis industry is still evolving, workers need to be creative and able to adapt. Researching cannabis will give you a solid foundation that you can use to generate new ideas and innovations.
Finally, make sure you understand the local laws about cannabis. Is recreational use legal in your state, or just medicinal use? Who is allowed to purchase cannabis? What does the law say about growing cannabis for personal use? Can it be consumed in public in your area?
If you arrive for an interview for a job in the cannabis industry and display in-depth knowledge of the product, you’ll set yourself apart from other job candidates.
Be Curious and Ask Questions
You can also increase your chances of getting a job in the cannabis industry by being curious. As you learn about cannabis, explore the industry’s culture as well. Many cannabis professionals engage in pop-ups, networking events, conferences, and trade shows. Attend these events and ask questions. This will set you apart and help you establish yourself as a strong presence in the industry.
Additionally, there are hundreds of cannabis influencers and advocates on social media and YouTube who offer valuable insight into the industry. Many of these people are also happy to answer questions from fans. Start listening to cannabis podcasts, read cannabis blogs, and follow cannabis channels on YouTube and Instagram.
Specialize Your Skills
In many ways, cannabis is a startup industry. This means that workers frequently wear multiple hats; you’ll have to be flexible and may need to cover several positions within a company. For example, if you’re interested in a retail job at a dispensary, you may also need to handle customer service or social media for the store’s website.
However, it’s still important to specialize your skills to get a job in the cannabis industry. Once you know what kind of position you’re interested in, research it. Learn about the standard experience, job requirements, and special skills associated with the position. Then, specialize your skills to match the job.
To help you get a job in the cannabis industry, here are a few common positions and their respective job duties:
A harvester grows, processes, and packages cannabis plants. Harvesters plant seeds, irrigate the crop, watch over it as it grows, and trim the buds when they’re ready. Usually, harvesters also package the cannabis plants for shipping. This job normally doesn’t require very much prior experience, but it can be labor-intensive, and you’ll need to be comfortable working with plants.
In the cannabis industry, a “budtender” is a bit like a sommelier. Budtenders work at dispensaries and interact with the public, answering customer questions, and offering suggestions. They may assist customers with everything from choosing between different cannabis strains to instructions on using vaporizers. To get a budtender job in the cannabis industry, you’ll need extensive knowledge of cannabis as well as great people skills.
If you love being creative in the kitchen, you might consider a job as an edibles chef. These chefs prepare baked goods, candy, snacks, teas, and other foods infused with cannabis. Being an edibles chef usually requires a knack for recipes, as well as food-handling experience in a restaurant or commercial kitchen. Formal culinary training can also help you land one of these delicious jobs.
Finally, there are many retail positions available in the cannabis industry that don’t require specific knowledge about cannabis the way a budtender or harvester does. Dispensaries need cashiers, delivery drivers, store security, and other staff to support their day-to-day business. Many of these positions are also available part-time and don’t require a ton of experience, which can give you a great opportunity to see if the cannabis industry is right for you.
Careers in Cannabis
If you’re passionate about cannabis, it’s the perfect time to consider a career working with this plant medicine. With the information above, you can pursue a new job in this exciting field. Even if recreational cannabis isn’t legal where you live, there are many jobs available in support of the medicinal cannabis industry. Good luck!