5 Of the most challenging cannabis jobs out there

Published Nov 2, 2022 01:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Drew Taylor

With thousands of available cannabis jobs, it’s easy to get caught up in applying, without ever truly contemplating the ups and downs of each gig. Sure, it might sound cool to work in weed when you’re under the assumption it’s all chill smoke seshs’ without a second thought as to how much work it takes to fill an essential role in the cannabis space.

The cannabis career ad you see posted in a local newspaper may just be a whole lot harder than you’re anticipating, and that’s especially true if it’s a role you find highlighted on this list.

1. Marketer

If you thought the market was fraught with confusing limits and restrictions, then you probably won’t be surprised to learn how difficult it is for cannabis brands to advertise their products to the masses, and to stand out in a crowd, when packaging must be bland, boring, and generic. Social media restrictions don’t help, and even when products are specifically formulated for a specific media purpose, they can’t let medical patients know it might be right for them.
How do you get your product into the hands of consumers who can’t see or hear you? That’s the challenge faced by cannabis marketers and Public Relations companies every single day.

2. Budtender

Nearly every cannabis enthusiast thinks it’d be cool to be a budtender. After all, what’s better than being surrounded by the plant you know and love, while meeting like-minded people? The truth is that it’s a whole lot harder than it looks to work in any type of customer service position. Those bumps combined with the inability to make certain recommendations, and then there’s the need for training, it’s a lot to put on someone who doesn’t often make much more than minimum wage.

So don’t forget to thank your budtender today!

3. Sommelier


Imagine how much training and experience it takes to understand not only the principles of terpenes and minor cannabinoids but also to be able to detect particular aromatic elements and in some cases, name strains based on little more than a quick whiff and look at some flower or concentrate. It’s not an easy job, nor is it one that just anyone can do. Without the right nose for the job, you could spend years studying cannabis as a subject and be no further in refining your skills to sommelier levels.
You must be well equipped, dedicated, and have a passion for this plant to make it as this kind of expert in the cannabis space.

4. Retail store owner

It’s a hard job for retailers in the cannabis space, with immeasurable competition, and almost non-existent profit margins. This is where only the strong will survive, and that can be really stressful when your whole livelihood and dream are on the line. Navigating laws, and permits, hiring staff, and getting products into the hands of customers is no small task for one person to oversee, but still keep going, to see their hopes become a reality.
Opening a store is hard enough and keeping one afloat is even more difficult. It really is a rollercoaster-like journey that not many can handle.

5. Researcher

This position could be the most well-paying cannabis career path on this, but it’s not easy to work behind a microscope and with real people conducting new and repeated experiments just so we can get the whole science thing down, which should help us to better understand and provide things like reasonable cannabinoid limits, and treatments for certain conditions. There’s a tonne of pressure and not a whole lot of opportunity unless they score a solid position at a cannabis brand's facility.

With such high stakes and so few basics to go on, it can be a daunting challenge to be a cannabis researcher.

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