With cannabis now legal for medicinal purposes in 33 states and for recreational use in 10, the marijuana industry is positively thriving. Investors are rushing to capitalize on what has been termed the “potcom boom”: new businesses are opening everywhere and companies are looking to hire qualified workers in droves. Some cannabis industry reports project more than a 200 percent growth in jobs in 2019.
Needless to say, if you’re considering a career change, now is the time to make the jump into this field. The good news is you don’t have to worry about committing career suicide by connecting yourself with the marijuana sector; as pot has become more mainstream, it has also become much more socially acceptable to hold a job in this area. Also, the salaries are decent.
Most cannabis companies will be looking to fill positions related to standard business functions, such as human resources, finance, marketing, sales, administration, and transportation. If you have skills in any of these fields, you could make the shift. There are also a number of other roles more directly related to the weed sector that you could consider with the right transferable skills. Read up on six such cannabis industry jobs below (then learn how to write a cannabis industry resume and cover letter to jumpstart your career in the industry).
1. Cultivation manager or assistant
The marijuana industry would not exist without competent growers who cultivate cannabis crops by overseeing plant nutrition, pest management, and production levels. Naturally, you would need an in-depth understanding of marijuana and the relevant laws in order to secure a well-paid management position in cultivation, but you could work your way up from an entry-level role in growing, trimming, or harvesting the crops. If you have a background in farming, botany, or horticulture, and have the organizational and technical skills you would acquire in other agricultural jobs, this could be a job for you.
2. Extraction manager or technician
If you’ve previously worked in a laboratory environment, particularly in a field such as biochemistry or chemical engineering, you could consider a job as a cannabis extraction technician—or, depending on your level of experience, as an extraction manager or director. Professionals in these positions use complex equipment and techniques to extract compounds from marijuana plants to make quality compliant oils and concentrates for medical and recreational use. Attention to detail and multitasking skills are critical in these cannabis industry jobs, as is the ability to work in a fast-paced setting as part of a team.
3. Cannabis chef
With the widespread legalization of marijuana, there has been a growth in interest in cannabis-infused food and drink products. Trained chefs are required to prepare such consumables. Aside from culinary expertise, marijuana chefs need to be highly creative, painstakingly precise and consistent, and adhere to safety standards and other regulations. If you’re a chef, you might consider working in a commercial kitchen for an edibles company to turn cannabis butters, oils, and concentrates into chocolates, candies, pastries, and other treats.
4. Compliance manager or regulatory officer
When it comes to marijuana, the legal landscape is fairly complex, and laws differ significantly among states. Consequently, it’s easy for businesses to run into trouble if executives aren’t well informed. For this reason, there’s a big market for cannabis compliance professionals to work either in-house for a company or for a regulatory agency to ensure that the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of cannabis products complies with local and state laws and guidelines. To secure a job in compliance management, it would help if you have previously worked in a legal or regulatory environment, or if you’ve studied law, business administration, or public policy, and have strong communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and data management skills.
5. Dispensary manager or budtender
Both of these cannabis industry jobs are retail related and require strong interpersonal skills and sales experience. A dispensary manager—the more senior of the two professions—oversees operations at a medical or recreational marijuana store. This position requires an effective leader and businessperson with experience at other well-established outlets. A budtender, on the other hand, is an entry-level customer service professional who engages with dispensary visitors, answers questions about products, makes recommendations, and manages point-of-sale systems. The latter is one of the most in-demand positions in the marijuana industry. It’s one of the easier positions to secure, but you still need a good work ethic, a basic knowledge of weed strains, and a friendly, accommodating nature.
6. Cannabis tour operator or guide
With the rise of legal weed has come the rise of cannabis tourism, a movement that sees tourists come from all over to visit dispensaries, grow facilities, and confectionaries. Many of the tourists generally live the “high” life in states that permit recreational use. Naturally, this trend makes way for new cannabis industry jobs. A number of marijuana tour companies and experiential agencies have emerged and are looking to hire guides and instructors to run everything from day trips and party buses to pot-themed wellness retreats and educational excursions. If you’re already in the tourism industry and have the necessary people skills, you can consider shifting your focus to the world of weed.
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