A recently released report by New Frontier Data says that cannabis will create more jobs than manufacturing by 2020. According to the report, the legal cannabis industry will create 250,000 jobs…and that only counts states that have already legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes..
In a market worth more than $7 billion currently, and such an abundance of job opportunity, it’s easy to see why more people than ever are flocking to the legal cannabis industry.
Some of these jobs are exactly what you would think, including growing, processing, and trimming cannabis plants. But, as legal cannabis continues to evolve into a full-fledged industry, there are more opportunities to apply “mainstream” skills like marketing, sales, technology development, graphic design and more.
Worried you’ll have to take a pay cut when joining the industry?
Your worry may be unfounded. Many cannabis companies want to recruit top talent like any other mainstream company, and are willing to pay competitively to do so. Entry level positions, like trimming leaves, pay between $12-15 per hour, and more advanced, salaried positions can pay $50,000 – $90,000 per year.
So, if your resume is up to date and you are looking to get a job in the cannabis industry, here are a few tips:
Do your research
It’s hard to imagine that one of the fastest growing economies in the United States was born of a social movement led by dedicated advocates and patients, but that’s exactly what legal cannabis is and knowing where you come from is important. The history of legalizing weed and the general landscape of the industry are important to understand if you really want to be successful.
When you have a firm grasp on the lay of the land, start researching companies in your area or an area you deem worthy of relocation. There are plenty of cannabis technology companies, marketing agencies, retail locations and more whose mission may speak to you.
Don’t be afraid to cold contact
It’s a new industry hungry for talented people willing to take on the possible risk and stigma that still exists around working in weed. Some companies may not even know they need someone with your skills until you tell them.
If you find a company that you think could really benefit from having you on board, don’t be afraid to send a cold email. If you can’t find a specific person’s email, try emailing their generic info email address with a specific request to pass along your resume to the right person you have already identified. Many cannabis companies are still small enough where emails like that are likely to make it to the desk of someone who can pass your information along to the right individual.
Use cannabis job boards and recruiting firms
In addition to traditional job boards like Monster.com and recruiting firms, there are cannabis specific versions that may be even better.
Sign up for Kalogia, the “world’s largest professional cannabis network”, for free. A Kalogia membership gives you the ability to create your own profile and peruse their job board.
If you would rather go the recruiter route to outsource some of the worst parts of the job search, check out Vangst Talent Network. Some of the largest cannabis companies, including Dixie Elixirs, LeafLink Technologies, and Native Roots Dispensary have hired talent via Vangst. Work directly with a recruiter, or take a look at their job board for free.
Join a cannabis group or organization
Are you passionate about cannabis advocacy and interested in networking with cannabis industry professionals? Joining a local chapter of a cannabis organization may be a cost effective option for you. Organizations like Women Grow, Minority Cannabis Association, NORML and more have chapters all over the country that you can join.
Go to a cannabis conference
Every cannabis industry professional would agree there is truly no shortage of cannabis conferences happening every year. A quick Google search will show your abundant options. These trade shows have hundreds of companies exhibiting and are an easy way to get a feel for the industry while networking with companies you have identified as a prospect.
These conferences can be expensive, especially if you live out of state. So plan ahead and identify the conferences your top companies are exhibiting at or sponsoring. Don’t forget your printed resume!
Have your own idea? Incubate it!
The cannabis industry is relatively unchartered and under populated compared to the demand it is facing. If you have an idea that you think the industry can’t live without, you may be surprised to find that the runway for entrepreneurship in cannabis is virtually wide open.
If you want to see your idea come to fruition, but may need a structured environment to help you get it off the ground, apply to a cannabis incubator! Canopy, with locations in Boulder and San Diego, is a traditional incubator with a cannabis industry focus.
The Hood Incubator, located in Oakland, California, has taken the general idea of a traditional incubator and added a twist to address a very real issue facing the cannabis industry. The Hood Incubator helps provide those who have previously been involved in, or prosecuted for, working in the black market cannabis industry of the past with a path forward into the new, legal market.
This post was originally published on June 18, 2017, it was updated on October 5, 2017.