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Find a Career in Cannabis: 7 Jobs to Break Into the Industry

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News Posted Jul 7 2020

As the nation struggles with the COVID-19 crisis and a sagging economy, some sectors of the marketplace still continue to grow and even thrive. One industry that is expanding and remains host to a number of growing job fields is cannabis. States across the country are legalizing the use of medicinal and recreational marijuana and the demand for people to fill open marijuana jobs and think about potential cannabis careers is huge.

Over 66% of Americans support legalizing marijuana and marijuana initiatives are moving rapidly through state legislatures. Recreational marijuana use is now legal in 11 states and it is legal for medical use in 33 states. The legalization of cannabis has huge implications for state economies and the national economy. The industry totaled more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, posted a 76% increase in cannabis jobs in 2018 and the legal marijuana sector is expected to be worth $23.4 billion and employ nearly half of a million Americans by 2022. Illinois recently joined the ranks of the legal marijuana states and its April 2020 sales exceeded $37 million.

A current estimate of jobs in the cannabis industry is between 200,000 to 300,000. Although most are entry-level cannabis jobs that sit on the lower end of the pay scale, as the industry expands, the need for skilled employees to fill positions is also increasing. Simply put, the cannabis industry is expanding at an astounding rate.

How to Get into the Marijuana Industry - Jobs

Budtender

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The budtender could be considered the face of the weed industry because they will be the person who guides you through the process of buying marijuana at the dispensary. A top budtender must be knowledgeable about each of the store's products and will know the effects of the specific strains that are behind the counter. The best budtenders will take the time to compassionately discuss the needs of the patient and/or recreational consumer to ensure a proper purchase. Dispensaries are opening on a daily basis across the country and quality budtenders are always in demand. A background in retail, customer service or the service industry is helpful.

Cannabis Grow Technician

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This position is responsible for providing general support for the growing operation. Very little prior knowledge is necessary, but site workers must be reliable, focused and know how to pay attention to minor details. Duties include plant feeding, light management, tool maintenance, site quality control and proper documentation of plant growth and harvest. It is one of the more general marijuana growing jobs, but it is also one of the most important.

Marijuana Packager

This entry-level job is responsible for making sure that cannabis and/or cannabis products are properly packaged for distribution and sale. Marijuana products must be prepared in a safe and legal manner that follows specific guidelines and regulations. Packagers should be comfortable working with small and large quantities of hand-trimmed flower, oils, wax, shatter and other forms of cannabis products.

Marijuana Bud Trimmer

Along with Budtender, if you were to Google, "marijuana jobs near me, " the position of Trimmer would be at the top of the list. A deft touch and good concentration are essential for trimmers to expertly prune plants and make the buds look perfect. A strong knowledge of cannabis anatomy and the structural differences between strains is essential, as is the ability to properly weigh, catalog and safely handle the cannabis throughout the workday. Trimmers used to be mainly seasonal workers at harvest, but the proliferation of the industry has turned the trimmer into an essential full-time employee.

Cannabis Laboratory Technician

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Lab Techs support the laboratory scientists and analysts preparing and staging samples, documenting and labeling incoming and outgoing vials while ensuring a clean lab environment. The position of Lab Technician is one of the easiest of the cannabis research jobs to obtain.

Security

The weed industry runs on cash and dispensaries and grow operations require heavy security to guard products and money. Security personnel have the opportunity to be exposed to all parts of the cannabis supply chain because cannabis cash is constantly on the move and security professionals are always needed to travel with the money and products or work at dispensaries, labs, distributors and cultivation sites.

Cannabis Supply Chain Manager

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This is a position with a wide range of responsibilities that could be a good fit for candidates with a variety of backgrounds. Supply Chain Managers are usually responsible for purchasing and procuring supplies, working with suppliers and vendors and handling logistics such as shipping and receiving. Inventory management and quality control of production and assembly processes also fall under the purview of the Supply Chain Manager.

How to Get into the Marijuana Industry - Tips

Before simply searching for, "Dispensaries Hiring Near Me, " take some time to understand some basic industry terminology and do some research on all of the different marijuana jobs that are open in your area. Try to hone in on what is of interest to you and what matches your experience. Remember that cannabis careers can differ greatly. Cannabis cultivation jobs can be very different from MMJ jobs (medical marijuana). Furthermore, retail positions are nothing like working in a lab.

Other tips include:

If you think that you need additional education to start the cannabis career or land the marijuana job that you really desire, there are plenty of options for in-person or online schooling. Most offer affordable packages that can be tailored to focus on aspects of interest whether they are in business or finance or science or sales. A degree from a school like Oaksterdam University or the Cleveland School of Cannabis is most likely necessary in order to enter the industry and immediately earn money closer to the range of a master grower salary ($75,000 - $150,000 per year depending on the size of the operation).

Do you work in the cannabis industry? What sector? How did you go about getting the job and beginning your cannabis career? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

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