The number of states with legal recreational marijuana has risen to eight in recent years, and medical cannabis is now available in twenty. With the explosion of permission and popularity, the industry expands and the need for more workers increases. Professionals in other industries are taking note, especially if theirs limits growth or income potential. Marijuana now offers more career opportunities than ever before.
People interested in this expanding industry need to learn a new way to find openings and apply for marijuana dispensary jobs. Interested in making the switch? Learn what it takes to get in and succeed.
Facts About the Marijuana Industry and Opportunities
Competition is High
Arcview Market Research estimates that 400,000 jobs will be added to the US economy by the marijuana industry alone by 2021. This includes both recreational and medical sides. This number could expand as more states decide on legalization.
While the opportunities seem ever-expanding, the number of people competing for those jobs mimics the California gold rush days. The cannabis job finder agency Vangsters’s CEO Karson Humiston reports 5,500 signups since the site launched in January and more joining every day.
Opportunity in Many Specific Sectors
The range of employment positions available in this industry range from research to farming, cooking, hospitality, retail, tech development, business-to-business sales, medicine, and more. It’s a high-end product with more than a high-end consumer base and advancements, new ideas, and legal and medical changes being made all the time.
Arcview’s editor-in-chief Tom Adams describes the industry as “the classic mom-and-pop scenario.” The work is hard, but pay rates are high for employees who know what they are talking about and what they are doing. People currently working in high-end retail shops, 5-star hotels and restaurants are particularly suited to the consumer-centric positions.
Technical and scientific jobs abound, too. Besides people working in the lab to develop new products like candies, gummies, gourmet sauces, and even pizza, others are needed to handle all the day-to-day work like cleaning beakers and doing office work. An IT team, software engineers, salespeople, administrative assistants, accountants and more are needed to keep the business side of things running smoothly.
Rapid Advancement is Common
A rapidly growing industry means a rapidly advancing career for employees willing to take the time to educate themselves and work hard. A vegetable farmer may do the exact same job to start if he switches to marijuana, but he may not be doing it for long. As the needs of the companies advance and expand, they need to fill the jobs with people who know what they are doing. This leads an employee with just one year of experience in a highly sought after position. In any other industry, they would need five-plus years to reach the same status or may have no hope of advancing at all.
Vangst reports that an entry-level plant trimmer or pot packager could advance to a higher position in as little as six months. A client who found his position through the firm started as just another guy in the greenhouse trimming plants and ended up the director of an entire grow operation in just three short years. No way would that happen in most other industries.
Green Means Growth
The burgeoning marijuana industry mimics other green industries that focus on environmental advancements and new technologies just like THC and CBD. Vangst’s Arfsten compared it to the solar industry and stated, “People from that growth environment understand the need to scale, and what’s required to make that happen.” This is one of the reasons why many people from ecologically-focused jobs are making the switch to cannabis. They have the knowledge and background of working in a start-up industry already.
Other than Vangster, there are multiple new staffing agencies and recruitment businesses who specialize in or include the marijuana industry in their list of quality careers. To increase your chances of landing a highly coveted position, take the following tips to heart.
How to Find the Right Career In Cannabis for You
There’s No Need to Use the Product
While understanding cannabis is as important to these jobs as knowing about car engine performance is to selling cars, there is no need to actually use pot to get involved in the industry. You can drive a Toyota and still sell Mercedes, and you can never touch marijuana and still be a valuable employee to a cannabis company.
Firsthand knowledge of the effects of using the particular marijuana strains can be replaced with education and understanding. This is especially vital in the medical field if you have patient contact and with consumers in retail or customer relations.
Just because the industry is relatively new does not mean they will hire people with experience, education, or skills. There are cannabis courses that teach not only about the herb and business specifics, but also about compliance and state laws. Tackle this before walking into the recruiter’s office and your chances of a job will increase.
Be Professional Not a Pot-head
Very few people would ever want to hire the stereotypical pot-head or stoner who is unkempt, lazy, and refuses to dress in anything besides tie-dye.
Because of the debate surrounding cannabis sales and use, the drive to appear more professional and upstanding is stronger than in some other jobs. Counteracting decades of bad press and assumptions requires an attitude of business-first rather than a more casual approach to things.
After questioning companies participating in a job fair, Vangst found that the more casual potential employee was judged to lack responsibility, work ethic, and qualifications necessary to get the job instead of growing weed easy.
Present yourself professionally, have sufficient understanding of the product and industry as a whole, and be prepared to work hard. In the growing marijuana industry, these are the ingredients for advancement and success.