The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries in America, according to Inc. magazine. Almost half the states have legalized medicinal cannabis and in another five years, an estimated half of the states will have approved recreational cannabis. This gives you a great shot at getting a job if you know where to start looking.
Try Non-Traditional Methods
The first thing you need to know before evaluating job categories or specific jobs, is that the cannabis industry behaves like every other industry and posts only a fraction of available jobs on major sites like Craigslist or Indeed. Most jobs are traded privately in a who-you-know type deal.
Plan a targeted search that employs about 20 percent of your time looking at online postings. Spend 80 percent of your time looking for networking opportunities. You can attend cannabis events in your area, participate in online forums, but the best way of all is cold calling.
Yes, that’s right – cold calling. Compile a list of businesses that have the type of job you’d like and just call and ask for the manager or human resources person. Prepare a brief script so you don’t stumble your words. Here’s a sample, “Hi. Susan in HR? This is Tom Jones – I have experience in growing. Do you have two minutes so I can share my qualifications?”
Then take two minutes and share your qualifications. Ask if it is something they or someone they know would be interested in. Always be polite even if you get a no. You’ll eventually get a response like this, “Actually, we just had someone leave this morning. I was going to post it on Craigslist, but if you get down here today with your resume…”
Major Cannabis Job Categories
This is the fun part where you get to examine all your options in the cannabis industry. When you’ve chosen the category or specific job, you can tailor your resume, and approach employers. You may also find that you need more schooling or experience in order to develop into the ideal candidate. The three major categories in cannabis are producing, manufacturing, and selling.
Cannabis Dispensary – The dispensary is the retail side, where consumers go to purchase cannabis with a medical license or recreationally. The front line personnel are known as budtenders and are typically the young, smiling faces that you see in other service positions like bartending or hotel front desk. The main requirements are to be pleasant, and savvy about the products.
Cannabis Grow Operation – The grow operation is the production side, where cannabis is grown outside or in a greenhouse. This is for those people that like manual labor, trimming, cutting, lifting, and so on. The hours may be unusual as lights and fans need monitoring overnight. Warehouses may be cold in the winter and hot in the summer but for people who like to make things grow or work with their hands, the grow operation has plenty of room for you.
Cannabis Manufacturing – The manufacturing sector takes raw material from the grow operation and turns it into another product. These products include CBD oil, edibles, concentrates and the like. This area is probably the ripest for advancing your skills as some manufacturing processes take special skills and there’s room for your creative side.
These three sectors are the major employers in the cannabis industry. When looking at your options, consider if you’ll be able to develop your skills, advance your knowledge, and earn increased responsibility and the almighty dollar if you want it. The Budtender could advance to store manager or store owner. The Grower could become a Master Grower and the Manufacturer could rise through the ranks as well.
Supporting Cannabis Cast
The three major sectors are the stars of our show, however we have a large cast of supporting actors in the cannabis industry; just like every other industry – there’s a supply chain. If none of the aforementioned jobs interest you, you don’t feel you have the necessary skills, and you can’t or don’t want to get more education – you’re in luck. You can work in cannabis in a multitude of sectors.
Technology – Large and small companies are working with technology to build the cannabis business. Examples include Wikileaf’s site. On a smaller scale, you could offer to help with a dispensary’s website to build your reputation.
Writing, Photography, Design – An army of journalists, photographers, and designers have joined the cannabis movement.
Attorney – The law can be pretty boring, but that’s because everything is based on precedent, what happened before. In cannabis, it’s all new and everyone is figuring it out together.
Marketing – We’ve grown the product, manufactured it, opened a store – now what? You have to tell people about it and that’s what marketers and public relations people do.
Security – This sector has lots of room for movement. You could design security systems, install systems, maintain computers, guard the door, guard the cash deposits, watch the warehouse and more.
You don’t have to handle cannabis to be in the cannabis industry or live in a state where it is legal. Check out the supporting cast of jobs and see if any of your skills match up or could be developed to work in law, security, marketing, creative services, or technology.
Options, Options, Options
Other options in the industry include staffing services like Ms. Mary Staffing that matches employers with job seekers. Staffing companies often offer short-term and contract-to-hire positions. Agencies often help write your resume and they may be a good resource to help write your resume for your own purposes. In any case, you can look at these sites and others for examples on winning resumes.
Tips and Final Thoughts
Do your best to be prepared. Have your state-issued Certification/Badge in hand because no potential employer wants to hear, “I plan on getting it.” Take free online courses in horticulture, write an article for your school newspaper on cannabis; in other words, take concrete, verifiable steps to become competent – and then your confidence will flow naturally. Eventually, maybe the employers will be cold calling you.