How to Get a Job in the Cannabis Industry

The number of American jobs supported by the legal cannabis industry in 2022 is 428,059 according to Whitney Economics and Leafly’s Jobs Report 2022. That’s a 249% increase in just five years when the industry supported 122,800 jobs in 2017. To put the number into perspective, there are 423,570 bank tellers employed across the United States in 2022. 

While the cannabis industry is navigating through some obstacles at the end of 2022, the industry will recover. The Jobs Report 2022 forecasts that there will be 1.5 to 1.75 million workers in the U.S. cannabis industry when it reaches maturity, which means there is a lot of growth coming in the future. With these kinds of numbers, it’s not surprising that many people want to work in the cannabis industry. 

To land an open job working in or with the cannabis industry, you need to be professional, perform well, and knowledgeable about your job responsibilities as well as the rules and regulations of legal cannabis industry. Here are five key things you should be doing if you want to get a job:

1. Get Educated

The cannabis industry is continually evolving and change is the norm. Companies want to hire people who understand the industry and the current climate and regulations. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you keep up on industry terminology as well as news and updates at the local, state, and federal levels.

With that in mind, subscribe to online and offline industry publications and stay up-to-date on laws, regulations, and news. For example, subscribe to the Cannabiz Media newsletter for industry updates.

Tip: Learn more about cannabis college courses and degrees here.

2. Get Your Credentials

What credentials are required to work in the marijuana industry in your state? Are licenses or certifications required to get the type of job you want? For example, did you know that if you want to work as a dispensary agent in Massachusetts or Illinois (i.e., someone who works in a plant-touching role at a dispensary or retailer in either state), you’re required to take an annual responsible vendor training course from an approved provider?

Do your research, check with your state, and determine whether or not you need specific credentials to work in the industry before you start applying for jobs.

Even if you’re not required to have certain credentials, obtaining industry certifications can make you stand out from other job applicants. For example, if you have a budtender certification from a reputable cannabis industry certification provider, that certification shows your commitment to succeeding in the industry far more than a candidate with similar skills and experience but no industry certification.

Skill-based credentials can also make you more hirable. For example, if you’re looking for a job with an employer that subscribes to the Cannabiz Media License Database for sales and marketing to cannabis and hemp license holders in the U.S. and international markets, then having credentials that prove your expertise in email marketing and using the License Database can help your application rise to the top of the pile. 

Cannabiz Media offers a variety of free self-paced online courses through the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy that you can complete and one or more earn in-demand certifications as a:

Each of the Cannabiz Media certification courses listed above is open to the public, so there is nothing stopping you from learning and proving your expertise in email marketing and using the Cannabiz Media License Database for your current or future employer’s sales and marketing initiatives!

Tip: Learn more about email marketing and cannabis certifications here.

3. Get the Right Skills

If you’ve never worked in the marijuana industry before, you can still get a job. That’s because today’s employers will often forego industry experience for relevant, applicable skills developed in a different industry.

According to Vangst’s 2022 Report: An Analysis of the Cannabis Professional, 33.2% of cannabis workers have been in the industry for less than one year. Vangst reports that top feeder industries to the cannabis industry are retail, food services, professional services, manufacturing, and healthcare, but workers come from a wide variety of industries and roles. 

Today, employers actively seek highly qualified candidates from other industries, particularly for executive and specialized roles. Do your homework and learn what types of skills hiring managers are looking for, and then work to hone them to increase your chances of landing a job.

In addition to job-related skills, you should also work on improving relevant transferable skills. For example, take some time to understand cannabis workplace etiquette and staff professionalism. As recommended in Vangst’s 2022 Report, soft skills such as a passion for people, ingenuity, curiosity, and perseverance are all highly transferable and sought after by cannabis employers.

Tip: Learn more about marijuana jobs luring workers from all fields.

4. Start Networking

There is perhaps no better way to start a career in the cannabis industry today than networking. That means you should start networking online using sites like LinkedIn and Leafwire. In addition, attend in-person industry-specific events. This includes regional and national events as well as local meetups.

To ensure your networking efforts are successful, you need to be active and vocal. Introduce yourself to people, ask how they got started in the industry, and share your goal to start a new career in the space.

After the event, make sure you follow up with everyone you met, connect with them on social media, and continue your conversations. You never know when an opportunity might pop up.

Tip: Learn more about cannabis networking and industry events here.

5. Get Help

You don’t have to go it alone when you’re looking for a cannabis job. There are many job boards that post industry jobs. Some job boards even specialize in marijuana jobs.

In addition, there are a variety of recruiters that work in the industry with some focusing solely on recruiting for marijuana businesses – both plant-touching license holders and ancillary businesses. Take initiative and reach out to them to launch your job search.

Tip: Learn more about cannabis jobs and recruiters here.

Key Takeaways to Get a Job in the Cannabis Industry

Ready to find your new career in the cannabis industry? Get started by tackling these five tasks:

  1. Get out and start networking
  2. Get educated
  3. Get your credentials
  4. Get the right skills
  5. Get help

Keep in mind, these are the same things you need to do if you’re looking for a job in any other industry. However, there are some challenges in this industry that make it different from others. Specifically, the industry is still new, and it’s changing all the time. You need to be agile, eager, and dedicated to find a cannabis job and succeed in the long-term.

Use the tips provided above, to set yourself up for job hunting success so you can start a successful new career in the cannabis industry.

Originally published 7/8/19. Updated 12/30/22.

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