How To Get A Job In The Legal Marijuana Industry
The marijuana industry is the next great industry in America. There are almost two dozen states that have legalized medical marijuana (not including CBD only states), and there are currently two states with a legal recreational marijuana industry (Colorado and Washington). Soon, Alaska and Oregon will also have a legal recreational marijuana industry. Between now and the end of 2016, there are over a dozen states that could potentially legalize recreational marijuana, and several states could legalize medical marijuana during that same time. Almost all of the businesses involved in the growing industry will have a need to hire employees
For a long time, when people thought of getting a marijuana job they were referring to something in the black market. People would flood into Northern California and Southern Oregon to get jobs as plant trimmers during harvest season. Or people would get a job as a courier, transporting black market marijuana from one place to another. Those days seem almost ancient these days. There are still black market jobs like that of course, but a legal industry has transformed, and dramatically expanded, the list of marijuana industry jobs that are out there.
Right now the medical marijuana sector is much larger than the recreational sector because there are so many states with legal medical marijuana compared to recreational marijuana. The medical marijuana sector has been around for a lot longer than the recreational marijuana sector in the two states that have both. So right now, most of the jobs are in the medical marijuana sector. That will obviously change as more states legalize recreational marijuana, and the recreational marijuana customer base expands.
If the e-mails and social media messages I receive are any indication, the interest in getting a legal marijuana industry job is growing rapidly. Most people want to grow marijuana, or work as a budtender. But I always tell people to explore other avenues too. There are many jobs in the industry that go beyond growing and selling. Almost every job you can think of outside of the marijuana industry can also be found inside of the industry these days. There is a growing need for accountants, marketers, ad sales staff, graphic designers, web developers, software engineers, and many other professional jobs that most people don’t associate with the marijuana industry.
Obviously, there are not marijuana jobs in every state, so moving is often required. In a perfect world you would be able to get a marijuana job in the South and stay close to home, but that is simply not possible until reform is achieved, rules are worked out, and a legal industry is established. Right now most of the legal marijuana jobs are found in the West, such as in California and Colorado.
Probably the best way to get a job in the legal marijuana industry is through networking. The easiest way to get a job is to know someone inside of the company, which is no different outside of the industry compared to inside of the industry. If you don’t have a friend that works at a marijuana company, try to see if you know a friend of a friend. If that doesn’t work, try to make friends on the internet or some other way. Anything to get a foot in the door.
A lot of the people that I know in the industry got their jobs by volunteering first. This of course has its drawbacks, especially if you are poor already. But if you are able to volunteer with a company for a month or two to show off your skills, it helps a lot. You can have a great resume with a lot of experience in other industries, but the marijuana industry is a different animal, and most of the people in the industry are relying on over-promising to keep their new job in the industry. It’s only a matter of time before they under-deliver and are let go, and it will be hard for them to get a new job in the industry once they have a bad reputation. If you volunteer first, and let your skills speak for themselves, you will increase your chances of landing a permanent position.
One thing that I always tell people when they ask me how to get into the marijuana industry is to PROCEED WITH CAUTION. I have seen so many people get burned in this industry. This industry is full of sharks that will use you, abuse you, steal your credit, not pay you for your labor, and leave you under a bus. That’s not a big deal if you are in between jobs, get a job at a local dispensary, and have time and energy to burn. But if you are going to travel across the country to work for someone you haven’t met before, and the job sounds too good to be true, you are likely setting yourself up for a nightmare scenario.
Ask around before you take a leap of faith like that. If the person or company has a bad reputation in the industry, it’s likely for a reason. Don’t let your dreams of working in the legal marijuana industry blind your judgement. I have been offered many jobs in the industry, just to see those offers fizzle quickly. Do you research on the company. Get everything in writing as much as possible so that there are no surprises. If the company or boss isn’t willing to come correct straight out the gate, chances are they are not the boss or company that you should be trying to work for.
I was able to find three websites that list marijuana jobs. If I find others, I will make sure to add them as time goes by. I have seen these three websites pop up all over the place, and they seem to be the most reputable out there. With that being said, I don’t personally know any of the people behind these websites, so take their listings for what you will. Good luck in your job hunting!