Getting Paid (Part 2) - Employment in the Legal Cannabis Industry
Last year we published the first of a multi-part piece on one of the hottest topics in cannabis right now…legal cannabis careers. With the bulk of COVID behind us, we’re beginning to see trends of hiring sprees across the country. This stacked on top of the fact that 2020 destroyed most budgets across the country, businesses are moving at lightning pace to establish revenue streams that will make-up for last year’s losses. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the cannabis industry, which has recently been identified as the fastest growing industry in the country. With hundreds of thousands of full-time jobs being created in this canna-sector, we thought this would be a perfect time to roll out part two of our employment in the legal cannabis industry series.
Edibles have been and likely always will be a staple in the cannabis industry. We often hear people complain that they are unable to find entry-level (or senior level in this case) points to enter the cannabis market. These days, it can be as easy as landing any other food-handling position. Edible chefs are a position that a lot of jobseekers sleep on when searching for a canna-job. Let’s be realistic, you’ve probably spent some time in your own kitchen making edibles before, so you probably already have some experience. If you’ve got actual kitchen experience in other food-based roles, even better! To find out more about this type of positions, we recommend making a list of the companies responsible for your favorite edibles and then checking out their website for hiring opportunities. If they don’t have any listed, there’s certainly no harm in reaching out to the company to inquire about canna-chef opportunities they may have. Just remember to keep it professional!
Have a background in managing employees in retail settings, but feel like you’re a little over-qualified for budtending? Well, fortunately for you, those budtenders don’t manage themselves! Managing a dispensary is, in most cases, very similar to managing any other retail operation and is the entry point for mid-career folks. Fair warning though…managing a dispensary, though rewarding when things are going smoothly, can come with a heavy workload and regulatory hurdles. One of the most important things to have a grasp on prior to jumping into a dispensary management setting is knowing your state’s cannabis rules and regulations. This will make your life much easier and will significantly increase your odds of landing the job.
If you would rather talk to plants than people and you’ve got a green thumb, perhaps cultivation management is a good fit for you. New grow operations are popping up daily and just like budtenders, those plants can’t grow themselves. This type of position certainly comes with some pre-requisites though. Hiring managers are going to be looking for candidates who have a background in growing or agriculture. There’s a gray area that people still feel they need to tip-toe around if they’ve got some experience growing, but it is along the lines of “growing…in my basement”. Most grow op hiring managers recognize that this is the case with many people in the industry. As long as you present yourself professionally and have a good foundation in terms of how to grow quality bud, most grow operation hiring managers will just smirk and know exactly what “independent grow op technician” means when they see it on your resume.
Lab Testing/Extraction Tech
Another role that is growing at an astounding pace but requires a bit of background experience. Becoming a technician in a lab that handles extraction or conducts product testing can be a rewarding and well-paying career path if you’re into the sciences background. Of course, having a chemistry-based degree will give you a head-start in this line of work. Don’t expect to just land a job the same week you begin looking if lab testing or extraction is the path you want to go (although anything is possible!). If you’re just getting your career started, try searching for opportunities as lab technician assistants. These are typically the best way to get your feet wet in a cannabis lab and usually result in a very structured career path.
You may not have expected this type of position to be on the list, but just like any other business, security in the cannabis space is just as important. There are countless security opportunities in the wonderful world of weed. Roles span from part-time gigs, overnight positions, and full-time careers. There’s even the route of digital/IT security! If you’re looking for a side-hustle, you may want to look for opportunities to serve as in-house security for locations who just need the role filled overnights or weekends. If you’re more interested in full-time security roles, start scanning for loss-prevention type security. We all know that most retail shrinkage (aka: retail theft) occurs internally (aka: by employees). Loss prevention (often referred to as LP) is the latest security position trend and the cannabis industry is no stranger to needing lots of these shoes filled. Be sure to check around your local area for security training and certification courses. This type of course is usually a good way to stand out against other candidates during the hiring process.
Got That Resume Polished Up?
Resumes and appearances are important when it comes to meeting with prospective employers, but don’t forget that we also live in the era of social media. That’s why you want to make sure your social media profiles are “prospective employer friendly” or just take the easy route and make your profile private because anyone responsible for hiring these days can and will google you before making a decision.
There are loads of cannabis job postings constantly popping up on all of the popular job posting websites. Take your time and don’t feel like you have to accept the very first offer that comes your way. After sending out a few resumes and applications, you’ll quickly realize that the cannabis industry is truly the new land of (career) growth and opportunity. Lastly, don’t sweat it if you get turned down a few times or even if you land a role, but it turns out to not be what you expected. The beauty of being part of the country’s fastest growing industry is that there’s always another job right around the corner!