Hands down the most common question I get is: “How do I get a job in the cannabis industry?” If you really want a job in the industry, are willing to be persistent, and follow the suggestions I am going to lay out below, you’ll be able to acquire a cannabis job in no time!
I have good news and I have bad news. Bad news first: Guess what? EVERYONE wants a job in the cannabis industry. Why? Well, generally speaking, cannabis jobs have higher paying wages comparative to similar jobs and right now marijuana is a massive growth industry. Let’s be honest, cannabis is the bee’s knees and it seems that everyone is talking about “legal weed.” What’s that mean for you? Lots of competition, so how do you set yourself apart? I’ll get to that in a minute, but now for the good news. The legal cannabis industry is growing at an incredibly rapid rate (according to THC University 1,441 jobs opened up in the month of January 2016 alone). There’s more good news, when it comes to experience, you’re on a level playing field with your competition. Most new marijuana operations are staffed by individuals who have never worked with legal cannabis. So, that naturally leads into, “What are cannabis business owners looking for in a perspective employee?”
Cannabis business owners are looking for much of the same thing that any manager would want in an employee: hardworking, self-motivated, shows up on time, and so on. However, many owners I have spoken with are looking for people that have a passion for cannabis. Someone involved in activism will have a big leg up! Make sure to do your research and know some of the most popular strains, know the main cannabinoids and what they do, know as much about terpenes as you can, how they smell and how they can benefit patients. Here are the most common type of job experience that will get hired at:
Dispensaries – Looking for people with hands on customer service experience. This would include retail experience (such as clothing), hotel front desk, restaurants, and bank tellers.
Grow operations – Much of the grow operation staff are doing labor intensive work (moving plants from here to there, hauling hoses, picking up buckets, filling dirt and so on) and people with construction, nursery, or other labor intensive jobs such as a delivery truck driver have a big advantage when applying at a grow operation.
One of the essential ingredients to getting a job in the cannabis industry is the willingness to be persistent. What I mean by that is keep plugging away. A no today could be a yes tomorrow. Keep checking for jobs online and in social media (follow me @BigBearCannabis). After you go to an open casting or go in to fill out a job application, MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW UP! A phone call or a post card saying thank you for the opportunity to apply can go a long way, as this is a very personalized industry. When you go apply again in 1-3 months, the person doing the hiring will remember you.
Networking is another important aspect to getting a job in cannabis. There’s an organization by the name of Women Grow that holds meetings for cannabis industry professionals, and this is a great way to meet the people who might be interviewing you next week. Being involved in activism is another great way to network with people in the cannabis industry and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the NCIA (National Cannabis Industry Association) would all be good choices. Make sure you’re going out and shaking hands; the person you meet at one of these organizations may end up hiring you tomorrow.
The last subject I am going to discuss is the importance of having some sort of cannabis-related education. If you have the desire to go to college for a career in cannabis, you’re going to be able to write you own ticket. For the “Top 10 Cannabis Colleges” click here. There are schools like Oaksterdam, which though they have a much higher price, offer a hands-on training that is not offered many places around the country. Most schools are strictly online training options, such as Green CulturED, which has a number of simple courses that are often $17-$47 dollars. That makes Green CulturED much more affordable than some of the other online cannabis school options. They also offer more in-depth certifications such as a “budtender certification course.”
How badly do you want a job in cannabis? Follow up, stay persistent, educate yourself, and I promise you’ll be able to land a job in cannabis. This is a massive growth industry that’s going to see double-digit growth around the country for the next 3-10 years. Currently legal marijuana is grossing around $4 billion dollars and estimates put the fully legal industry at $30-50 billion dollars. Start today and get in on the ground floor.