How to get a job in the cannabis industry
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The number of American jobs supported by the legal cannabis industry in 2022 is 428,059, according to Whitney Economics and Leafly’s 2022 Jobs Report. That’s a 249% increase in just five years, when the industry supported 122,800 jobs in 2017. To put the number in perspective, in 2022 there will be 423,570 bank employees in the United States.
As the cannabis industry navigates some roadblocks in late 2022, the industry will recover. The 2022 Jobs Report predicts that there will be 1.5 to 1.75 million workers in the U.S. cannabis industry when it matures, meaning there’s plenty of growth ahead in the future. With numbers like this, it’s not surprising that many people want to work in the cannabis industry.
To get an open job in or with the cannabis industry, you must be a professional, perform well, and be knowledgeable of your job responsibilities and the rules and regulations of the legal cannabis industry. Here are five important things you should do if you want to get a job:
1. Educate yourself
The cannabis industry is constantly evolving and change is the norm. Companies want to hire people who understand the industry and the current climate and regulations. Therefore, it is extremely important that you stay up to date with industry terminology, news and updates at the local, state and federal level.
With that in mind, subscribe to online and offline industry publications and stay up to date with laws, regulations and news. For example, subscribe to the Cannabiz Media newsletter to receive industry updates.
Tip: Learn more about Cannabis College courses and degrees here.
2. Get your credentials
What credentials are required to work in the marijuana industry in your state? Are licenses or certifications required to get the kind of job you want? For example, did you know that if you want to work as a pharmacist in Massachusetts or Illinois (that is, someone who works in a pharmacy or retailer in either state in a plant-touching role), you must take a yearly responsible provider training course from an accredited provider ?
Do your research, check with your state, and determine if you need specific credentials to work in the industry before applying for jobs.
Although you don’t need to have specific qualifications, industry certifications can set you apart from other job applicants. For example, if you have a budtender certification from a reputable cannabis industry certification provider, that certification demonstrates your commitment to succeeding in the industry far more than a candidate with similar skills and experience but no industry certification.
Skills-based credentials can also make you better at hiring. For example, if you are looking for a job with an employer that subscribes to the Cannabiz Media License Database for sales and marketing to cannabis and hemp license holders in the US and international markets, then you must have credentials that demonstrate your expertise in the Evidence of email marketing and using the license database can help your application get to the top of the list.
Cannabiz Media, through the Cannabiz Media Email Success Academy, offers a variety of free online self-paced courses that you can complete and earn one or more coveted certifications as:
- Certified Technical Specialist in Email Marketing: Learn about spam laws, deliverability, domain reputation and more and become an expert in technical email marketing.
- Certified Email Marketing Audience Specialist: Learn how to find the right people to send your email marketing campaigns to, how to tailor your content to your audience, and how to create an effective email marketing strategy.
- Certified Email Marketing Content Specialist: Learn how to write and design email marketing messages that get the results you want.
- Certified Email Marketing Data and Lead Scoring Specialist: Learn how to track results, score leads, and qualify leads with the Cannabiz Media License Database.
- Certified Email Marketer: Once you’ve earned your email marketing certifications in Technical, Audience, Content & Data, and Lead Scoring Specialist, the next step is to become a Certified Email Marketer will.
Each of the Cannabiz Media certification courses listed above is publicly available so there is nothing stopping you from learning and demonstrating your expertise in email marketing and the Cannabiz Media license database for your current or prospective employer’s sales and marketing initiatives to use!
Tip: Learn more about Email marketing and cannabis certifications here.
3. Get the right skills
If you’ve never worked in the marijuana industry, you can still get a job. That’s because today’s employers often forego industry experience for relevant, applicable skills developed in another industry.
According to Vangst’s 2022 Report: An Analysis of the Cannabis Professional, 33.2% of cannabis workers have been in the industry for less than a year. Vangst reports that retail, hospitality, professional services, manufacturing, and healthcare are the top feeder industries for the cannabis industry, but workers come from a variety of industries and roles.
Employers today are actively looking for highly qualified candidates from other industries, especially for managerial and specialist positions. Do your homework and learn what types of skills hiring managers are looking for, and then work on improving them to increase your chances of getting a job.
In addition to job-related skills, you should also work on improving relevant transferrable skills. For example, take some time to understand workplace etiquette and employee professionalism. As recommended in the 2022 Vangst Report, soft skills such as passion for people, resourcefulness, curiosity and perseverance are all highly transferrable and sought after by cannabis employers.
Tip: Learn more about Marijuana jobs attract workers from all walks of life.
4. Start the network
There is perhaps no better way to start a career in the cannabis industry today than by networking. That means you should start networking online using sites like LinkedIn and Leafwire. Also, attend industry-specific events in person. This includes regional and national events as well as local meetings.
To ensure your networking efforts are successful, you need to be active and vocal. Introduce yourself to people, ask how they got started in the industry and share your goal of starting a new career in the industry.
After the event, make sure to reach out to everyone you met, connect with them on social media, and continue your conversations. You never know when an opportunity might arise.
Tip: Learn more about Cannabis networking and industry events here.
5. Get help
You don’t have to go it alone if you’re looking for a cannabis job. There are many job boards that advertise jobs in the industry. Some job boards even specialize in marijuana jobs.
Additionally, there are a variety of recruiters working in the industry, some of whom focus solely on recruiting for marijuana businesses — both plant touch license holders and ancillary businesses. Take the initiative and reach out to them to start your job search.
Tip: Learn more about Cannabis jobs and recruiters here.
Key takeaways for getting a job in the cannabis industry
Are you ready to find your new career in the cannabis industry? Start with these five tasks:
- Get out there and start connecting
- get formed
- Get your credentials
- Get the right skills
- get help
Remember these are the same things you need to do if you are looking for a job in any other industry. However, there are some challenges in this industry that set it apart from others. The industry in particular is still new and constantly changing. You need to be agile, eager, and committed to find a cannabis job and have long-term success.
Use the tips given above to prepare for a successful job hunt so you can start a successful new career in the cannabis industry.
Originally published on 7/8/19. Updated 12/30/22.