Want to Work in the Cannabis Industry? Hear About it From Within the Industry- From Hiring Managers, Employees, and Business Owners in the Cannabis Industry
It’s raining cannabis jobs in the United States! Cannabis is here and here to stay! It is healing and empowering much of society and the economy.
Reports show that as of 2019, the legal cannabis industry has created about 200K jobs in the United States and in Canada, Indeed reports triple digit growth in job postings since 2017. These are full- time jobs being reported.
In 2017, job postings in the U.S cannabis industry rose by 445% and as of 2028, the cannabis industry is expected to be a $57B industry. Keep in mind that these numbers being reported in the U.S are not the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers.
Did you know that because cannabis is illegal in the U.S (give me a break) at the federal level, no federal agencies include cannabis jobs in their figures? I suppose only calculation of bodies in jail related to cannabis is important (shrugs); I digress. Back to jobs in cannabis!
Big Think states that jobs of the future will come from marijuana. New Frontier Data found that the U.S legal cannabis market will create about 300K jobs by 2020. Forbes reported that jobs in the cannabis industry are projected to grow at a 17% rate annually.
What Kind of Jobs Are Available in the Cannabis Industry?
What About Benefits/ Employee Benefits in the Cannabis Industry- Retirement, HealthCare, 401K?
Cannabis (not hemp) is illegal under federal law, therefore, many insurers are scared to service the industry. Employers in the cannabis space have access to options like Association Health Plans. Association Health Plans allow small businesses and self-employed workers to band together by industry and/or region to obtain healthcare coverage. Employers also have 401K and retirement options with companies like Valentine Ventures.
Hear About Working in The Cannabis Industry Directly from Hiring Managers, Employees, and Business Owners
I reached out to individuals that are employees and business owners in the cannabis industry. It was important for me to provide information directly from the source. This is a new industry with a lot of reports and studies in the works- so, I wanted to go a step above and actually interview individuals that wake up every day and work with and in cannabis.
Below, you’ll hear from: a cannabis farm general manager, a budtender, a brand ambassador and content creator, a cannabis dispensary, a cannabis consulting group, a cannabis farm owner, and a cannabis edibles chef.
Hiring, Sourcing, Qualifications, Business Licenses
Hear From the General Manager and Hiring Manager at The Happy Cannabis Collection- Cannabis Farm
As a General Manager, what qualifications do you look for when hiring for positions like cannabis grower and cannabis trimmer?
“We were fortunate enough to have our head growers from day one of our company. When looking to add to the grow team, reliability and flexibility are the two main characteristics we are looking for. We focus on delivering a craft product and feel a responsibility to the plant itself. Having someone who is truly looking to be a part of the evolution of the plant is key. Being on the grow team isn’t a job here- it’s a commitment.
As for our processing team we don’t require any prior experience or qualifications. We look for people wanting to work with us and that want to be a part of our team. That’s the most important aspect for us to build from. We can teach and train our processes.”
What types of positions from other industries do you see providing the qualifications that you discussed above?
“Cannabis is going to be an expanding industry for years! Almost everything is going to cross from most other industries. I imagine public consumption being an option someday. That creates hosting and serving needs. Food and cannabis go hand in hand. Music and cannabis go hand in hand. This industry is just getting started.
As for us specifically plant science and chemistry are huge bonuses. When it comes to extraction, I’ve seen chefs and those with chemistry knowledge make amazing partners.”
Do you look for a particular degree type and/or major when hiring; why or why not?
“No not right now and I don’t think we ever will. But I would recommend plant science and chemistry. If someone shows up with these degrees, they will go to the top of my list; but we don’t require or search for these qualifications. I’ve worked in hiring for a Fortune 500 company before. I’ve seen the downfall of requiring degrees for positions. I have also seen and understand the data on why large company’s do though.
The other hard aspect of hiring in Washington is a lot of companies are still building- coupled with the highest taxes in the country. This impacts every aspect of the industry and business causing salaries to be lower. Currently people with these degrees have little opportunity to get paid what they are worth. But I personally believe that’s going to change fast.
The next generations are going to unleash a lot of truth about the plant and I’m excited to be a part of it. To anyone who is ranging from zero cannabis experience to years of it, I’d recommend checking out @oliviasdimension on Instagram. She is going to school and applying it at home. I believe she and people as serious as her are the future of this industry.”
Hear From The Joint Dispensary About Dispensary Jobs/Positions and Qualifications
Can you tell me types of positions that you hire for in your dispensary?
“The positions that we look to fill at The Joint include seasoned budtenders, joint rollers, dispensary managers/assistant managers, and inventory specialists.”
What are you looking for when reviewing a resume/job application for a lead/ management position?
“When it comes to resumes, I think a lot of potential prospects forget to tailor their resume to what we are looking for at The Joint. We don’t want just a general resume. This is a new and very unique industry, so we want to see applications that reflect that. Tailoring your resume to our company’s mission and how you align with it will set you apart from other applicants. How are you going to bring your skills and work experience to leverage the company’s growth? Why do you want to be in the cannabis industry? These are two important things we look at when interviewing.
In the cannabis-retail space specifically, you are dealing with customers 99.9% of the time and customer service is #1 at The Joint. Some customers come in that have never consumed cannabis, and it is your job to know what products are best for beginners, including desired effect and appropriate dosing.
They may be a regular customer you see frequently, and you know when they come in, they want the dankest of the dank we have to offer. We have customers that are very particular and only want specific edibles, wax, joints, vapes etc. so, product knowledge is very important. Regardless of the customer’s experience with cannabis, we want to make sure that they have an amazing experience at The Joint.
In terms of a lead/management positions, we look for someone who is going to get the job done — period. There’s a lot that goes into managing a dispensary from the ever-changing inventory that comes in, to the weekly pop-up shops we have with our vendors, to the highly regulated nature of the industry itself. In this position you are managing a lot of people and putting in many hours so, it’s crucial we have systems in place to make that job and everyone else’s flow the best way possible.”
Any advice for those wanting to land a position in a cannabis dispensary?
“I think some of the most important aspects is willingness to learn, hard work, and a genuine interest in the cannabis industry. This industry is moving fast, and changes are being made every day so- having employees that are able to adjust to the quick changes and keep up with compliance at all times is a must. And being customer-oriented goes a really long way!
Hear From Professional Cannabis Consulting Group (Canada) About Cannabis Business Licensing and Employers Searching for Candidates
What licensing and considerations should be given by those looking to launch a business in cannabis?
“The first thing to consider is where is the business going to be located? In Canada, every province and city within it has different laws and regulations. While cannabis is legal in Canada, it is still up to the provinces and cities within them to set the regulations, zoning, and licensing around the sale and distribution of cannabis. It is important to understand the laws and regulations in the city and province you plan on operating in.
The next important thing to consider is how much capital is accessible. Starting a cannabis retail business, or a cultivation operation requires a heavy amount of capital, not just from an operation standpoint but also for acquiring the proper regulation and licensing. A retail location costs can range from $100,000 to upwards of $2M or more!
Another important consideration is what type of business. Is it a retail location or a cultivation and manufacturing operation? Each type of business will require different licensing. For example, if the plan is to open a large cultivation operation, this would require either a micro or standard cultivation license based off the size and scale of the operation.”
For someone brand new to cannabis, how should they go about networking within the industry?
“One of the best ways to network within the industry is to attend cannabis and hemp related events. Events here in Ontario such as Lift Expo, The Karma Cup, Hemp Fest, and others are just a few of the amazing events that bring in industry leaders and businesses within the industry.
Before attending these types of events, it is a good idea to review and learn about the vendors and companies that will be attending. It is good practice to get a good understanding of what they do, so that when you do meet with them, you can discuss their business being well informed.
When going to these events also be sure to bring a well-designed, professional business cards to hand out to people. This is very important to show people that you are serious about yourself and your business and can go a long way when making a first impression.”
Since cannabis is such a new industry, how can business owners go about locating qualified candidates that meet the requirements of the cannabis industry?
“Since the cannabis industry is still new- it can be somewhat difficult to find the right candidates to fulfill a position or requirement. Since it seems like everyone from all walks of life and industries are trying to get into the cannabis industry in Canada, it can be difficult to “weed” out the proper candidates.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a qualified candidate is their education and training within the cannabis industry. Do they have or meet the proper up to date licensing requirements, and do they have the education required to fulfill their job?
If they require licensing or education, then it is highly recommended that they acquire these from a company like ours. A company that specializes in cannabis education and training.”
Hear From Elizabeth Maria Colvin, a Budtender, About How She Transitioned Into Cannabis As a Dispensary Budtender
Can you tell me about your background prior to transitioning into the cannabis industry?
“I was first introduced to cannabis at a very young age, around 5. My mother used cannabis medicinally, but I didn’t understand it. I lived in Arkansas and it rubbed off on me. I thought my mother was a bad person for using cannabis. Cannabis was not as widely accepted, and my mother experienced prejudice.
I decided that I want to stand up for my family. My family deserves the right to have cannabis. So, out of high school, I dropped my anti-depressant and picked up THC instead. Since I was a recent graduate, I knew I had to make plans fast to enter the legal cannabis industry. I figured step one was to move to a legal state (Colorado). I saved for a year and made my 14-hour drive with my boyfriend to beautiful Colorado and got into the industry as a Budtender.”
What about yourself and/or background helped you land a job in the industry?
“Before leaving Texas, I experienced 1 year in the black market. I was dealing with theft and unregulated quality. Cannabis is way more expensive in illegal states, so, I was paying $200 for 1 ounce. I didn’t want to start losing money buying my medicine, so- I had to think quick. I worked in cannabis due to my entrepreneurial spirit in order to afford my medication. I also took courses on the Cannabis Training University platform.”
Can you provide insight into the types of questions asked in a job interview for a cannabis position?
“A few common ones:
- How do you handle working in teams?
- Do you know your cannabis/weed sizes/weight?
- What would you do in a situation where a customer can’t find the right product.”
Starting a Business in Cannabis
Hear From Chrissy Calain, CEO of Canna Chrissy LLC About Cannabis Marketing and Education
“I graduated last August from San Diego State University with a degree in Communications. While at SDSU, I focused mainly on social media marketing, business psychology, and photography both in and outside of the classroom. Also, while at SDSU I ran for their Cross Country and Track team.
I moved to Denver, Colorado with absolutely no idea what my goal was. I researched in advance, places that I would possibly like to live in, and Denver just happened to be one of them. But, the reason Denver, CO moved to #1 on my list was because I did a bit of research on market needs and skills employers in the Denver Greater Area were looking for. At the time social media marketing was the second most needed skill in the greater Denver area which was obviously a HUGE win for me given my background. But, upon moving here it was extremely hard to find a job with companies that were in need, and even if there were positions, the salary was comparable to minimum wage; which was a no for me.
I decided I was going to take whatever job I could and create a digital marketing solution for brands no matter the market at an affordable price with the highest quality service possible. So, in January of 2019, I was able to quit my full-time job and begin my work as a digital marketing independent contractor. I saw a huge need in cannabis and began to educate myself within the industry and in April 2019, Canna Chrissy LLC was born. I’m often asked, “why cannabis?” and yes, it’s amazing that there is an extreme need in the industry but, the main reason I started working in cannabis was to help others.
When it came to me approaching brands it was very natural for me due to my background and connections with marketing agencies. A piece of advice: start out with something as simple as reading up on the latest trends, how the algorithm works, etc. because they make a difference. I promise you can never learn too much about social media! Currently I work with Euflora Dispensary, Joint Dispensary, Selfies, Vaporslide, Kalvara, and more!”
“I came to Humboldt in 2007. I knew I wanted to go somewhere to grow weed. Some place I could settle in, feel comfortable, find a job, start a life, and start a full-fledged weed farm. The Pacific Northwest offers many locations that are conducive to this, but in my travels, Humboldt was growing on me.
Having finished my degree in electrical engineering, I made a conscious decision to not pursue a more traditional engineering career. I really liked growing weed; a hobby I had gotten into pretty heavy in college. When a friend had expressed interest in going to the west coast to tour around, I jumped in his car and set out.
During this wild nomadic time, I took in all I could. I raged it, partied, trimmed, camped out, and lived. Many times, Humboldt often was a fall back point. A place where friends were and where the beaches were sweet to camp on. A place where you could you totally let your freak flag fly. I liked it. I don’t mind saying I was a green rusher, I was! I wanted to have a fat weed farm, and the more time I spent in Humboldt the more that seemed possible.
I decided to find a job which was harder than I thought as Humboldt, which is pretty small can be pretty insular. I found one with a great solar company in Eureka. I will be forever grateful it. Not only was it an engaging/interesting/fun application of my degree- it allowed me to meet a lot of Humboldtians, especially the kind that buy large off grid systems out in the hills.
In only a few years, this job had not only enhanced my skills as an electrical engineer and as an electrician; it made me the connections that helped me find my home. I put the down on the place in 2009 and picked up side work designing/installing grow rooms.
Since 2009, I’ve grown every year there, paid off the property, and expanded. I’ve fought home invasions but I’m still here. I have a great partner. We’ve gotten fully permitted. I love growing weed here and will probably do it through my last days.”
Hear From Yoli Edibles About Transitioning Into The Cannabis Edibles Space and Starting a Company
“I never intended to be in the cannabis business, it just happened. Yoli plant-based edibles was born after I lost clients who I used to meal prep plant-based meals for. VidaGreens is my meal prep business, where I meal prep and deliver vegan friendly meals around Los Angeles.
I had clients in a school, who started following me on Instagram. Being the cannabis enthusiast that I am, I would post up videos of me smoking or making cannabis infused vegan food. Some clients in the school did not take those videos or recipes so well.
I got a few complaints regarding professionalism and word that I was losing support from people that didn’t want to support anything that had to do with cannabis. It also caused confusion amongst new clients who thought all my meal preps where THC infused. So, I decided to separate the two by creating separate social media accounts.
When I chose the name Yoli, I was looking online for names in Nahuatl, a southern Mexican and Central American language, and I came across Yoli. Online, it translated to: “To Live”. Being that my other business was VidaGreens, Vida meaning “life” in spanish, I thought it would be perfect.
I am not 100% sure if that is even remotely close to what Yoli means in Nahuatl, but- I loved the way it sounded, so I kept the name. I started posting videos and pictures and started gaining followers on the Yoli account.
I started getting messages from people that wanted to try what I was making so I decided to share my creations and that was the official birth of YoliEdibles. I began delivering my infused plant-based edibles across cannabis enthusiasts in Los Angeles.”
Again I say, “cannabis is an industry” and here to stay! If you are in need of resume and/or interview assistance, check out my DIY resume guide, and posts on Lifehack- where I share content specific to resumes and interviews.