What you'll want and need to get a job in the cannabis industry

Published Apr 6, 2021 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Tinnakorn Jorruang

The cannabis industry is continuing to grow at an incredible rate. Though some big green companies have had to lay off, merge, and restructure to stay ahead of the competition, new cannabis jobs are added to the lineup each and every year, with no sign of the trend letting up in sight. If you’re considering the possibility of a cannabis career, then there is no better time than right now, but there are a few things you will need to get off to the best start on what could be an incredibly fulfilling journey.

A love for the plant

If there is anything that all cannabis industry professionals have in common, it is a love for the plant. Some love knowing what it can do, others love what it can do for them, and then there are those who love the money that can be made from it. It doesn’t matter how you love cannabis; a true appreciation for it can really help to take you places here.

Knowledge or an interest in a field that is directly related to cannabis

The best paying cannabis careers will involve a deeper level of understanding or interest in either the plant or a directly related field. You could specialize in lighting, outdoor growing, consumer consulting, or simply having the drive to learn more about how cannabinoids really work. You could have fun working in cannabis testing or find your place at the counter of a local dispensary, the perfect place to put people skills to work.

Basically, you’ll need to find your passion or figure out what you’re good at and try to find cannabis jobs that align with it, and that doesn’t always require a specific education either. You could become a cannabis chef, creating experiences for the palette, or simply be the one who helps to keep everything in order by running bankroll and crunching numbers. Take your talent and make use of it here.

Connections

Cannabis jobs are a pretty hot commodity these days; after all, how many career path choices are there where you can guarantee that your boss will support your use? Everyone wants to work in weed, which means that there is plenty of competition out there, and one way to get ahead of the crowd is to stand out through connections. This might take some time, energy, and a brushing up on your social networking skills, but it’s a useful step in the process if you want to successfully break into the cannabis industry.

Patience

We’ve already mentioned the newness of it all, and though that does typically translate to new opportunities, it also means that we’re still in the process of getting some things done. Your dream cannabis jobs could involve a business idea that doesn’t even exist yet, or it might involve certain activities that currently go against regulations. It could also be out there already, but either way, it’s probably going to take some trial, error, and patience to find it.

A great resume

Since you want in on cannabis, you’ve probably never had a job working directly with it before, and if you have, then chances are pretty good that it wasn’t quite a legitimate or even legal position. Neither of these situations will give you a long list of cannabis-specific skills to refer to, but that doesn’t necessarily matter. Instead, focus on your strong suits, talents or skills that are transferrable. For example, are you a hard worker, a fast learner, or do you have a prior history with sales, in management, or any other position that could be compatible with cannabis? That’s what the cannabis industry employers really need to know.

Consumer experience

You’re going to find that a lot of people who work in cannabis don’t necessarily use nor do they have a long history of experimentation with cannabinoids, and if that’s true for you, that’s ok, but if you come to the cannabis industry as a consumer then you do bring with you some unique insight that can’t be bought in any school. It can also open up unique opportunities, such as testing, judging, or reviewing pot products because a lot of people will pay for information that comes from real-life consumers.

Unique ideas

We’ve got the standard dispensaries, production facilities, farms, and processors, but there is still plenty of room for improvements across the cannabis industry. Be it through brand new business ideas or suggestions that can improve things like consumer appeal, efficiency, or profit. If you can in some way make things better than what they already are with new ideas or innovations, then you’ll have a much easier time finding a place in one of many lucrative cannabis careers.

A positive outlook

The cannabis industry is always changing, evolving, and growing. Still, the legal markets we have access to today leave much to be desired by both the entrepreneur as well as the average consumer. There are some exciting cannabis jobs out there right now, but there will be a lot more unique positions that will slowly come about in the future, as regulations loosen, and we allow for a wider variety of types of cannabis dedicated businesses and facilities.

So even if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for today, if you maintain a positive outlook, any cannabis job you could imagine might eventually be possible.

Legal cannabis jobs in the US are expected to increase in 2021

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