As children, we dreamt of becoming many things: astronauts, teachers, doctors, firemen. As adults, we dream of being other things: the inventor of Microsoft, the inventor of Wal-Mart, the inventor of Pokémon. Of course, you might dream of different things, still - one job specifically: a cannabis reviewer. It’s among the few careers where you really can smoke your way dto the top.
What is a Cannabis Reviewer?
As you’ve probably guessed, a cannabis reviewer is someone who reviews marijuana. Just as there are people who review wine and whiskey, cheese and chili, there are also people whose main job is to determine whether a strain of Mary Jane is a mean girl or the most popular gal in the entire school. Still, a cannabis reviewer doesn’t simply give a thumbs up or lighters down - they also explain the intricacies of the high: what works, what doesn’t, and what’s a hit or miss: it’s wasn’t great the first time, but it might be worth another puff.
A reviewer understands the differences between strains and touches on everything from smells and taste to THC and CBD content.
They are sages, the wise men and women of weed.
Where do Cannabis Reviewers Work?
Cannabis reviewers are often employed at websites dedicated to pot. By employing this type of person, businesses are better able to help consumers learn the effects of the different flowers. This eases the decision-making process by showing pot users what strains they should (or should not) sample. Reviews are valuable for both recreational users and medicinal users (who might be in need of pain-relieving strains or those high in THC). They are particularly helpful for first time smokers who may not know how pot will affect them as well as seasoned smokers looking to book a proverbial ticket for a very specific trip. A few newspapers across the country have also hired cannabis reviewers. This isn’t to say you should run over to the Salt Lake Tribune, resume in hand. But, in certain areas, this job is attainable. Denver’s Westword, an alternative weekly, hired the first cannabis reviewer back in 2009, years before the bill to legalize marijuana passed. Initially, he was tasked with the job of reviewing medical dispensaries. He went by the alias “William Breathes” and, armed with his own medical marijuana card as well as a degree in journalism, he covered the recent upswing in cannabis use.
He found the job on Craigslist, beneath the headline: “Marijuana Critic Wanted.”
Since then, other newspapers have also gone out on a limb for the leaf. The Denver Post, for instance, hired a freelance cannabis critic three years back. The Oregonian, based in Portland, followed suit. It makes sense: weed is a growing industry, literally and figuratively, and periodicals must adapt to their readers’ interests and the climate of current events - there’s a reason you see very little news coverage on things like the moon landing, the Berlin Wall, or the killer bees that were scheduled to fly in from South America and kill us all. As the times change, so must the headlines.
What are the qualifications of a cannabis reviewer?
For many people, the job of the cannabis reviewer is sadly nothing more than a pipe dream: it might be an awesome career choice, but you still have to know what you’re doing. Frankly, smoking weed and even growing it are not enough. Cannabis is a rich and extensive industry: you must have knowledge of all aspects involved. Luckily, you can always learn. Initially (for Colorado and Oregon), one of the biggest qualifications also involved eligibility: you needed a medical marijuana card in order to apply. This was due to the fact that although the state governments had passed legislation of recreational pot, it hadn’t been put into actual practice yet. The press wanted to be get ahead of the game: thus enter those who could purchase cannabis before the rest of the population. Nowadays, a medical marijuana card is no longer needed (at least not in areas where the laws have changed).
The Cannabist, an online magazine dedicated to doobies, recently put out feelers for a new reviewer, laying out their qualifications for anyone interested.
These are a good gauge of what’s required: living in Colorado (The Cannabist is based in Denver); being over the age of 21; having a journalism background or a background writing on a deadline (making sure you get your family Christmas letter out before your mom gets mad probably doesn’t count); being well versed in marijuana (a deep knowledge of strains, benefits, genetics, history, geography, and terminology); familiarity with previous reviews of strains, gear, and shops; a professional work ethic with social media savvy; and a willingness to write about pot under your real name…..even if your grandma finds out.
The “X” Factor
Although you may have all the qualifications above, whether or not you’ll make a good weed reviewer might come down to what you were born with: your personality. Marijuana sites and newspapers don’t generally want people who’ll write in overtly technical terms or with the charisma of a Wikipedia page: they want those who’ll engage readers and excite them about the cannabis industry. Naturally, the writer also needs to instill confidence that they do, in fact, know what they’re talking about; blogs that are all fun with no facts do very little from an educational standpoint and aren’t likely to draw people looking for useable material. This is why balance is key: reviewers have a duty to inform and entertain.
Ultimately, a cannabis reviewer is an interesting and up-and-coming career; it’s also sought-after, so polish up your cover letter, start a blog, and learn all you can.
For people who have a way with words and a passion for plants, it’s ideal. There’s few jobs as unique as one where you spend your days telling pot lovers which strains to bypass and which strains are guaranteed to be their best buds forever.