The legal marijuana industry is rapidly growing worldwide, and is expected to create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. If you’re interested in working in the cannabis industry, but don’t know what job opportunities there are or where to find them, then look no further. This article explores popular positions in the industry and how to get hired in your desired field.
There are a huge range of jobs available in the cannabis industry, from entry-level retail positions to highly-skilled technical jobs as a grower and even opportunities on social media. Whatever skills you bring to the table, there’s a position out there for you!
Retail jobs are public-facing jobs where you interact with customers on a daily basis. Generally, cannabis retail positions are at dispensaries. If you enjoy interacting with people and talking about weed, a retail position would probably suit you.
Budtender ($31,000 – $42,000/year)
A budtender is the person at the dispensary who helps you choose and buy your weed. Budtenders have a vast knowledge of different strains and products and their effects. With this knowledge, they can provide advice to customers who need help with specific ailments or desire a certain experience. Being a budtender requires insight, good people skills, and a willingness to share your cannabis expertise.
Everyone likes to be greeted by kind faces when they’re out shopping. Receptionists provide a welcoming aura to cannabis shoppers and medical marijuana patients as they enter a dispensary. They help get first-time visitors registered and acquainted with the dispensary’s policies and rules. Oftentimes, receptionists also give customers extra information about deals, sales, and exclusive offers. In many ways, this position requires skills similar to budtenders, but the receptionist is less focused on sales and more interested in making visitors feel welcomed.
Lounge Associate ($20,000 – $45,000/year+)
Marijuana lounge associates manage cannabis smoke lounges. Smoke lounges are recreational hangouts that are generally attached to dispensaries. These lounges give guests a safe space to smoke and proper smoking equipment, some even including dab bars. Lounge associates help facilitate customers’ experience in the lounge by answering questions, keeping the space and the equipment clean, and assisting customers cannabis products. This position is a bit more rare, since smoke lounges have yet to catch on in most places; the majority of smoke lounges are currently concentrated in California. However, if you’re looking for a position that’s all about helping others have a great smoking experience, being a lounge associate might be for you.
Security Guard ($20,000 – $47,000/year+)
Security guards are generally the first faces you’ll see at a dispensary. They check IDs to make sure that all potential customers are eligible and old enough to enter the store. Security guards are needed to deescalate tense or dangerous situations and to escort customers off the premises. For these reasons, many security guard positions require guard training. If you’re interested in a working as a guard, check the training requirements for your local dispensaries and search for open positions.
Courier ($19,000 – $38,000/year+)
Marijuana couriers deliver products to people who aren’t able or willing to pick them up themselves. Courier jobs generally require applicants to have a valid driver’s license and their own vehicle. Some may allow you to deliver using a bike if you’re in a big city. Couriers interact face-to-face with customers all day as they hand off deliveries. And, like budtenders, they often take some time to explain the uses and effects of strains or products. This job is great for folks who love talking about weed but aren’t as comfortable in a standard retail environment. Plus, you also have the opportunity to take home some decent tips.
Dispensary Manager ($40,000 – $70,000/year+)
Dispensary managers are in charge of overseeing the employees and the day-to-day operations of the dispensary. Cannabis companies generally prefer applicants with experience managing retail stores. Other desired skills may be customer service, marijuana knowledge, and the ability to handle inventory. Dispensary manager positions are ideal for people who are looking for a longer career in cannabis and enjoy the retail side of the business. These jobs generally offer good benefits and pay reasonably well.
Operations positions are the often unsung backbone of the cannabis industry. The people who do these jobs are the ones that grow and produce the products found in dispensaries. These positions are hands-on and are typically the most physically labor-intensive. They also often require expertise in specific fields, such as horticulture or cooking, which means that they tend to pay more than positions in other parts of the industry.
Master Grower ($50,000 – $120,000/year+)
Growers are the true heroes of the marijuana industry. Without them, it’s safe to say that the industry wouldn’t exist at all. They grow, cultivate, and harvest marijuana and hemp plants in order to get them ready for trimming. Growers typically have a background in horticulture or botany as well as previous experience with marijuana cultivation. Master growers are some of the most sought-after workers in the cannabis industry, and also some of the best paid. If you have cannabis or hemp cultivation expertise, this is an ideal position.
Trimmer ($20,000 – $40,000/year)
If you’re looking to break into the marijuana industry and start learning about the cultivation process, becoming a trimmer could be the right opportunity for you. Trimming positions are entry-level jobs that generally require no experience or formal training. A trimmer’s responsibility is to take freshly harvested marijuana and remove the stems and trim the large leaves. While these jobs can be rather physical, they’re perfect if you enjoy gardening and working with weed. These jobs give you the opportunity to get firsthand experience working on a cannabis farm or in a grow house.
Master Extraction Artist ($70,000 – $250,000/year+)
Master extractors oversee the safety and production of concentrates and oils made from marijuana and hemp plants. With their advanced skill set, they’re able to extract precise amounts of CBD and THC. Extractors do their work in labs and are in charge of following safety and government regulations. These jobs generally require higher education with a background in biochemistry and experience in engineering. Master extractors are some of the highest-paid workers in the industry.
Edible Chef ($50,000 – $100,000/year)
Do you have a culinary background and an interest in marijuana? Then being an edible chef may be your calling. Edible chefs help create edibles and baked goods infused with precise doses of THC and CBD. Cooking is a science and an art; it takes a talented individual to create good edibles. This is a great job for those who are innovative in the kitchen and love to experiment with cannabis-infused foods.
Packager ($19,000 – $40,000/year+)
Packaging is a great entry-level position if you’re looking for a way to get into the marijuana industry. These individuals are in charge of making sure that all cannabis and cannabis-infused products are safely and efficiently packaged before being sold. These positions are great for anyone who wants to work with weed and learn more about what goes on behind the scenes.
Marketing & Media
Not every job within the cannabis industry involves growing or selling weed; there are also plenty of opportunities to work in marketing or media. These jobs are much less visible, but no less important. Many of these positions can be done remotely or on a freelance basis, making them perfect for people who need flexibility in their careers. Marketing and media positions generally attract creative individuals.
Social Media Manager ($25,000 – $100,000/year+)
Social media managers handle everything related to social media for their clients. Some of their tasks may include crafting tweets, editing pictures for Instagram, and researching hashtags, to name a few things. They engage with potential customers and fans while acting as the face of the company online. Social media managers may also act as customer service representatives by assisting customers with problems or inquiries on social media. This position is ideal for individuals who are knowledgable about social media trends and building, maintaining, and leveraging a following.
Brand Ambassador ($17,000 – $40,000/year+)
Brand ambassadors are the face of the company during public events. Their job is to engage with potential customers while informing them about products and providing them with a great impression of the brand they’re representing. If you’re a friendly, outgoing individual and enjoy discussing cannabis products, but don’t necessarily want to be bound to a retail space, this could be the opportunity for you.
Writer ($25,000 – $100,000/year+)
There are an abundance of opportunities for writers in the cannabis industry. Whether you’re interested in writing news articles, blogging about lifestyle pieces, or copywriting material for products and websites, there’s a job path for you. Some writers work freelance while others are hired to write exclusively for one publication. Either way, these jobs generally require a background in writing or journalism and an enthusiasm for cannabis-related topics.
Photographer ($25,000 – $80,000/year+)
A photographer’s job is to capture and share beautiful images with the marijuana community. Marijuana plants, extraction processes, packaged products, and models consuming cannabis are all popular photography subjects in this industry. Ultimately, photographers help individuals and companies in all parts of the industry tell their stories. These jobs usually require professional photography training or a great portfolio. This position may also require some travel, as you may need to take some photos on location.
Cannabis Influencer (Varies)
A cannabis influencer is a special individual with a special charm. Like social media managers, they’re able to amass followers online and set trends within the community; however, rather than leveraging these skills for a company, they turn themselves into the brand. Influencers thrive on sponsorships and partnerships with marijuana companies who will pay them to review or endorse their brand. Social media influencers tend to be skilled in a number of areas, including writing, photography, and public speaking. If you’re interested in becoming an influencer, consider signing up for a service like SociaLax, that organically grows your Instagram following and consults you on social media strategies.
How to Find Jobs
There are a lot of opportunities for employment in the cannabis industry, you just have to know where to look. With a little determination, and with the help of these resources, you can start your career in the marijuana industry.
One online job board specializing in marijuana industry employment is 420Careers. Here, you’ll be able to find listings from marijuana companies from across the nation looking for applicants for a variety of positions. Like most job sites, listings show you the pay, location, and general information about the position. The site also offers helpful filters that you can use to ensure that you’re only seeing the positions that are a good fit for you.
Ganjapreneur is a cannabis talent and job board website similar to 420Careers. The great thing about Ganjapreneur is that not only can you find job listings in the marijuana industry, but you can also read about industry news and learn more about individual companies. This site is great if you want to search for jobs and get greater insight into the how the industry works.
Cannabis Job Fairs
One of the best ways to get involved with the marijuana industry is to network. Legal states often have cannabis job fairs or cannabis-related conventions that are perfect for making new connections. Going to these events and introducing yourself to potential employers is a great way to get hired. Find events in your community by searching online and following local cannabis businesses on social media. If you’re active in the community, you’re bound to see events pop up in your feed.