The USA is currently the epicenter of medical and recreational cannabis and employs 211,000 workers on a full-time basis. To put these figures into perspective, the number of people relying on the cannabis industry to feed and support their families is approximately 3 times higher than the employees in the coal mines.
Even more impressive, experts say that this industry is just warming up. A report by Marijuana Business Daily says that the cannabis space is expected to create as many as 340,000 full-time jobs for the American market by 2022.
When thinking about jobs in the fast-growing cannabis industry, it’s easy to think of CEOs, Dispensary Managers, Edibles Producers, Budtenders, Security, Bud Trimmers, and Delivery Personnel only.
While these are most common jobs here, there are a whole lot of other ancillary businesses that indirectly support this industry. THC Detox companies, for instance, are a big business today. What makes them a sort of ‘green rush’ is that the federal restrictions that apply to them aren’t as stringent compared to businesses that directly handle the plant.
All in all, here are the key Steps to Getting a Job in the Weed Industry.
Know where you want to work – in plant-touching or ancillary businesses?
The cannabis industry can be categorized into 2; plant-touching businesses and supportive businesses (commonly known as ancillary services).
As the name implies, plant-touching cannabusinesses are mainly involved with the hands-on work of developing high-quality seeds for different strains and growing the plant.
This is a very complex system of services that can be subdivided further into specific processes including breeding, cultivation, extraction, dispensary, and manufacturing (turning cannabis flowers and concentrates into various products such as edibles).
If you are planning to start up a cannabusiness in the plant-touching sphere, then you need to be aware of all the stringent federal and state licensure requirements.
It’s no small consideration in terms of capital too. So, depending on what you want to specialize in, do your homework on all that it entails in terms of equipment and budget.
There are lots of job openings in the plant-touching sphere if you wish to offer your services instead. Most of them, including those that don’t require advanced degrees, still pay pretty well compared to most industries today.
What about ancillary businesses?
Although the growing consensus is that you have to sell cannabis products to strike it rich in this industry, those in the ancillary market are reaping big time too.
Cannabis ancillary businesses thrive by providing services that the actual plant-touching companies and businesses want.
These may include legal services, consultation, packaging, security solutions, and lab testing. As the number of Americans approving the legalization and use of cannabis increases, online searches for authentic information on cannabis and its effects on the body is on the rise too. This is yet another emerging job opportunity that you could capitalize on.
Since ancillary services don’t handle marijuana directly, they tend to operate behind the scenes and are, therefore, exempted from most of the licensing requirements that plague cannabis businesses.
Depending on what you want to do, all you’ll need in the ancillary market is a domain name and perhaps a standard business permit.
Learn more about weed
Whether you want to join the cannabis industry as an employee or a business owner, it goes without saying that you’ll need to have a thorough knowledge of this product.
If you are looking for an employment opening in plant-touching businesses, having a wider scope of weed and its different strains and potential market will position you favorably before your potential employers. It also makes it easy to identify the role that best matches your skills and makes you feel fulfilled.
Learning more about weed also helps in cultivating a passion for cannabis lifestyle: a key must-have if you want to scale the heights of this industry’s employment positions.
For those who wish to work in the ancillary businesses, familiarizing yourself with recreational and medical weed makes it easy to match your skills with the available business and employment opportunities.
Narrow your search
As you’ve already learned so far, the cannabis space can be quite expansive albeit still young. The good news, though, is that there are thousands of job openings that marijuana staffing agencies can connect you with.
To ensure that you land a job that interests you best, identify the vertical you would like to pursue either in the plant-touching or non-plant touching segments and then narrow down to specific companies that you’d like to work with.
Add success skills to your arsenal
The cannabis world is complex. But you don’t need difficult college majors to work in it unless you are eyeing the topmost positions such as extraction.
Still, for an industry that is just getting underway and actively pushing its boundaries, companies and business owners are mainly after innovative and creative candidates who can either launch new initiatives or come up with innovative strategies that will help grow the business.
Among other key skills here, commercial awareness (a.k.a business acumen) is considered an invaluable asset. This basically involves proving that you clearly understand what the company needs to succeed through its products and services.
You also need to possess excellent organizational and leadership skills. Although you may not become a manager straight away, the ability to keep your team motivated and getting things done will greatly boost your chances in the market.
Understand the market is competitive
The marijuana industry is still at its infancy. But it’s growing so fast. Insiders in the industry say that there are currently more open jobs than candidates.
While this may seem like good news now, and although cannabis businesses are expected to create over 300,000 new jobs in three years’ time, there are more Americans who are interested to work in this industry compared to other industries. This brings the need for jobseekers to up their game by developing their skills.
Be sure to have a clean police record
Although the war on marijuana is slowly burning out, and despite the increased acceptance by the public, cannabis-related businesses occupy a gray area at both federal and state levels.
That being said, most employers often look for trustworthy and reliable employees. One way through which the employer can gauge whether or not you meet this criterion is by subjecting you to a background check. Here, employers get to understand everything about your education, previous work, and police records among other relevant details.
Having a criminal record can negatively affect your chances of getting a job in pretty much any industry more so in businesses that deal with weed.
Of course, this will highly depend on the nature of the crime and the position you are applying for in the company. However, some states (not all) will not allow individuals with any felony to work in the legal cannabis industry.
Your case is much worse especially if you have been convicted for marijuana conviction before. In most states, this record is an automatic disqualification from working in the cannabis space.
Reason? As it turns out, even in states that have legalized recreational and medical weed, they want only individuals with solid morals to work with the product.
What should you do if you’ve been convicted for weed before?
Well, with the legalization of pot, most states are working on methodologies to either lessen the offense or expunge (dismiss) it altogether.
In California, the process of clearing an old conviction just got much easier, cheaper, and faster with the automation of Clear My Record that is currently available across all counties.
Prepare for an uncertain Future
Despite the continued legalization of weed from state to state, the federal government still classifies it as a controlled substance and, therefore, illegal. This explains why there exist so many uncertainties in the future of the cannabis business.
The legal marijuana industry experienced minimal interference from Barack Obama’s administration. But those days are gone.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions- who is currently serving in the Trump administration as the head of the Department of Justice- recently launched a fresh war on the continued cannabis legalization.
It’s not yet clear how things will shake out and whether or not the federal law enforcement will start raiding cannabusinesses again as it did back in the day. All in all, this calls for the need to do due diligence and getting a job in a company that abides by all the laws fully.
It’s a job- approach it professionally
How you dress when going for an interview can either make or break your chances of crashing it. Dressing professionally is going to be much more important especially when attending a cannabis-related interview.
While it may look like an industry only for hippies and stoners, the companies dealing with cannabis actually want to portray a high level of professionalism and adherence to the law.
So, if you are serious about snagging a job in these companies, remember to attend interviews and cannabis job fairs dressed as a professional.
Embrace networking and connections
There are as many challenges as opportunities in the pot industry. To succeed in an environment that is constantly under attacks, cannabis entrepreneurs have to come together as a community and share advice.
If you are eager to work in this thriving industry, take your time and build some meaningful relationships with those who are already in your professional circle.
This is a success factor that will help you tap into valuable connections for insights into job vacancy leads and referrals.