Employment Advice

How to Land a Job in Cannabis

This guide has been written by Amanda Fox, Daniels PMBA student and Head of Marketing/Branding, Pioneer Interests

When first thinking about what you want to do in the cannabis industry, it is important to understand the scope of the category and how many opportunities exist.

The legal marijuana industry is set to add thousands of jobs in the U.S. over the next few years with additional jobs for businesses that service the marijuana industry such as electricians, contractors, software development and more.

The industry breaks down into a few major areas: growing or cultivation, retailing, product development and ancillary services. If you are unsure where to start, begin researching the various sectors and think about your relevant work experience.

If you have had experience in retail or restaurants, applying for a dispensary job might be a good fit. If you are interested in product development, you might want to look into a packaging company or lab devoted to cannabis. Think about all the different areas within a sector, not just the most obvious.

For example, you may want to get a job at a high-end retail store to gain experience in order to work in a dispensary. By thinking two to three steps ahead, you can gain relevant experience even if it is not directly related to cannabis.

There are more people who are interested in the category than there are jobs so being educated and prepared is a must.

Check out a few of the sites below. If a company looks interesting, do more research on their website or recent news articles.

You do not have to be a user to land a job in the space. In fact, an outside perspective is always valued.

Once you have narrowed your search, reach out to local companies and ask for an informational interview. By meeting people within an organization, you are more likely to get hired than submitting a resume that is sitting in a stack.

If you are having trouble finding a job in a state that is already recreational, look to states that are set to turn recreational and position yourself as a qualified candidate. Most states that have legalized medicinal marijuana are more likely to legalize recreational marijuana.

Remember that the industry encompasses more than just cultivation, retail and brands. Think about PR, marketing, construction, real estate, software, accounting and sales.

Starting off with an entry-level job in cannabis is a great place to start as the industry is growing at a rapid pace. There is a much better chance of moving up quickly than someone in a more established industry.

When looking for a job, look professional. Even though the cannabis industry is more laid back than most industries, the majority of business owners come from the corporate world. Dress professionally and be on time.  Make sure your resume speaks to your skill sets and directly relates to the job you are applying for.

You can also speak to cannabis placement agencies and see if you are the right fit. Make sure you have your resume prepared just in case. Some cannabis placement agencies include:

Don’t forget about the standard LinkedIn, Indeed and postings on websites. Utilize your network and ask around to see if anyone knows someone in the industry and then ask for an introduction. If you are living in a non-legal state, you’ll have to be prepared to move to a place where there is a job available.

You can also start off with a part-time or temp position to get your foot in the door, especially with startup companies. It is always valuable to take a part-time position because you will leave with valuable experience that can land you a job elsewhere should you not get hired.

Finally, being educated about the industry is vital. Taking a training or compliance course is invaluable and will set you apart.

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