How to Get Your Foot in the Door: Entry-Level Jobs in the Cannabis Industry
Introduction to the cannabis industry and its job market
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, so does the demand for skilled and knowledgeable professionals. From cultivation and processing to distribution and retail, the industry offers a wide range of job opportunities for those looking to break into the field.
According to a report from Leafly, the cannabis industry added 77,300 jobs in the United States in 2020, bringing the total number of jobs to 321,000. The industry is projected to add another 250,000 jobs by 2024, making it one of the fastest-growing job markets in the country.
While the cannabis industry is relatively new and still faces legal and regulatory challenges, it has quickly become a significant economic driver in many states. In addition to job growth, the industry has also created significant tax revenue and investment opportunities.
In this article, we will explore the different entry-level job opportunities available in the cannabis industry and what you can do to land your dream job. Whether you are looking for a career change or a first job out of school, the cannabis industry may offer the right opportunity for you.
Entry-level jobs in cannabis cultivation
Cannabis cultivation is the backbone of the cannabis industry. It involves growing cannabis plants, harvesting them, and preparing the flower for sale. Entry-level jobs in cannabis cultivation are usually labor-intensive and require a lot of physical work. However, they can also provide an excellent opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in the cannabis industry.
Some of the entry-level jobs in cannabis cultivation include:
- Trimming Technicians: Trimming technicians are responsible for trimming and manicuring cannabis buds after they have been harvested. This involves removing the fan leaves and excess sugar leaves from the flower to improve its appearance and potency.
- Grow Room Technicians: Grow room technicians are responsible for maintaining the growing environment of cannabis plants. This includes monitoring temperature, humidity, light, and air circulation in the grow room.
- Watering Technicians: Watering technicians are responsible for ensuring that cannabis plants receive the proper amount of water and nutrients.
- Packaging and Labeling Technicians: Packaging and labeling technicians are responsible for packaging and labeling cannabis products. This involves weighing and measuring the product and applying the appropriate labels and branding.
- Harvesting Technicians: Harvesting technicians are responsible for harvesting cannabis plants. This involves cutting down the plants and preparing them for further processing.
Cultivation jobs can be physically demanding, but they are also an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the cannabis industry. Additionally, many cultivation jobs offer opportunities for advancement and further career development.
Entry-level jobs in cannabis processing and manufacturing
Processing and manufacturing are crucial aspects of the cannabis industry, and they offer plenty of entry-level job opportunities. These jobs involve converting harvested cannabis plants into products such as concentrates, edibles, tinctures, and topicals. Entry-level positions in this field include trimmers, extractors, packagers, and lab assistants.
Trimmers are responsible for removing the leaves and other unwanted material from the harvested cannabis plants to prepare them for further processing. This job requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to work quickly and efficiently.
Extractors use various methods such as solvent extraction, CO2 extraction, and distillation to extract the active compounds from cannabis plants. This job requires a strong understanding of chemistry and experience working with laboratory equipment.
Packagers are responsible for packaging and labeling cannabis products for distribution. This job requires attention to detail and adherence to strict regulations regarding product labeling and packaging.
Lab assistants assist scientists and chemists in cannabis research and development. This job requires basic laboratory skills and a willingness to learn about cannabis chemistry.
Entry-level positions in cannabis processing and manufacturing typically require a high school diploma or equivalent and some on-the-job training. With experience and additional education, employees in these positions can advance to higher-paying jobs such as production supervisors and lab managers.
Entry-level jobs in cannabis retail and customer service
The retail sector of the cannabis industry has boomed in recent years due to the legalization of cannabis in many states. As more dispensaries and cannabis shops continue to open up, entry-level job opportunities in retail and customer service are becoming increasingly available. Some common entry-level jobs in cannabis retail and customer service include:
- Budtender: A budtender is a front-line customer service representative in a cannabis dispensary or shop. Budtenders provide product recommendations and assist customers in making purchases based on their needs and preferences. They are responsible for maintaining a clean and organized store, ensuring that inventory is accurately displayed, and maintaining compliance with state laws and regulations.
- Receptionist: A receptionist in a cannabis dispensary is responsible for greeting customers, verifying their age and identification, and directing them to the appropriate sales representative or budtender. Receptionists may also be responsible for answering phone calls, scheduling appointments, and processing online orders.
- Sales Associate: A sales associate in a cannabis dispensary is responsible for assisting customers in making purchases and providing product recommendations based on their needs and preferences. Sales associates may also be responsible for maintaining inventory, processing transactions, and ensuring that the store is clean and organized.
- Delivery Driver: Some cannabis dispensaries offer delivery services to customers who are unable to travel to the dispensary. Delivery drivers are responsible for transporting products to customers in a safe and timely manner. They must be knowledgeable about state laws and regulations regarding cannabis delivery and ensure that all deliveries are made legally and safely.
Entry-level jobs in cannabis retail and customer service typically require a high school diploma or equivalent and some customer service experience. Employers may provide additional on-the-job training to ensure that employees have a comprehensive understanding of state laws and regulations regarding cannabis sales and customer service.
Entry-level jobs in cannabis delivery and logistics
Cannabis delivery and logistics jobs are becoming more popular as more states legalize cannabis. These jobs typically involve delivering cannabis products to consumers, dispensaries, or other cannabis-related businesses. Some of the most common entry-level cannabis delivery and logistics jobs include:
- Cannabis Delivery Driver: This job involves delivering cannabis products to consumers, dispensaries, or other cannabis-related businesses. In most cases, delivery drivers are required to have a clean driving record and a valid driver’s license.
- Cannabis Courier: This job involves transporting cannabis products between different locations, such as between a grow facility and a processing center or between a processing center and a dispensary. Couriers are typically required to have a clean driving record and a valid driver’s license, as well as a high degree of professionalism and attention to detail.
- Cannabis Inventory Specialist: This job involves managing inventory at a cannabis business, such as a dispensary or processing center. Inventory specialists are responsible for tracking product levels, ordering new products as needed, and ensuring that all products are properly labeled and stored.
- Cannabis Packaging and Labeling Specialist: This job involves preparing cannabis products for sale by packaging them and labeling them with the appropriate information, such as product name, potency, and ingredients.
- Cannabis Supply Chain Coordinator: This job involves coordinating the supply chain for a cannabis business, from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished products to customers. Supply chain coordinators are responsible for ensuring that all products are delivered on time and in good condition, and for maintaining relationships with suppliers and other business partners.
Cannabis delivery and logistics jobs can be a great way to get started in the industry, as they often require little prior experience and offer opportunities for advancement. These jobs also typically offer competitive salaries and benefits packages.
Tips for crafting a strong cannabis industry resume
When applying for a job in the cannabis industry, it’s important to tailor your resume to the specific job and company you’re applying to. Here are some tips to help you craft a strong resume that will catch the attention of cannabis industry employers:
- Highlight your relevant experience: If you have previous experience working in the cannabis industry, be sure to highlight it prominently on your resume. If you don’t have cannabis-specific experience, focus on transferable skills like customer service, sales, or manufacturing.
- Emphasize your knowledge of cannabis: Even if you haven’t worked in the industry before, you can still demonstrate your knowledge of cannabis by including relevant coursework, certifications, or personal projects on your resume.
- Showcase your passion: Employers in the cannabis industry are often looking for candidates who are passionate about cannabis and the industry as a whole. Be sure to highlight your enthusiasm for the industry in your resume and cover letter.
- Use industry-specific keywords: Many cannabis companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. To increase your chances of getting through the initial screening, use industry-specific keywords in your resume that match the job description.
- Keep it professional: While the cannabis industry may be more laid-back than other industries, it’s still important to maintain a professional tone in your resume. Avoid using slang or casual language, and proofread carefully for typos and errors.
By following these tips, you can create a strong resume that showcases your skills, experience, and passion for the cannabis industry, and helps you stand out to potential employers.
Interviewing and networking advice for aspiring cannabis professionals
Once you’ve crafted a strong resume and started applying to entry-level cannabis jobs, it’s important to prepare for the next steps: interviewing and networking. Here are a few tips to help you succeed in these areas:
- Research the company and industry: Before your interview, make sure to thoroughly research the company and the cannabis industry as a whole. This will show the interviewer that you are knowledgeable and passionate about the industry and the role you’re applying for.
- Practice common interview questions: Many interviewers will ask similar questions, such as “Why do you want to work in the cannabis industry?” or “What experience do you have working with cannabis?” Practice your answers to these questions ahead of time so you can answer confidently and thoughtfully.
- Dress professionally: Even though the cannabis industry may have a more relaxed atmosphere, it’s still important to dress professionally for your interview. This shows that you take the job seriously and are willing to make a good impression.
- Network, network, network: The cannabis industry is still growing and evolving, so networking can be a powerful tool for finding job opportunities. Attend industry events, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and join cannabis-related groups to expand your network.
By following these tips, you can increase your chances of landing an entry-level job in the cannabis industry and setting yourself up for success in your career.
Opportunities for career advancement and growth in the cannabis industry
The cannabis industry is still in its infancy, which means there is ample opportunity for growth and career advancement. As you gain experience and knowledge, there are several avenues for advancing your career in the cannabis industry.
One of the most straightforward paths for career advancement in the cannabis industry is to move up within your current company. Entry-level positions can serve as a stepping stone to higher-level positions such as team leader, manager, or director. Take advantage of any opportunities for training or additional responsibilities, and showcase your skills and work ethic to your superiors.
Another way to advance your career is to seek out new opportunities within the industry. As the industry continues to grow, new companies and job positions are constantly emerging. Keep an eye out for job openings and take advantage of industry networking events to make connections and learn about new opportunities.
In addition to career advancement within a company, there are also opportunities for entrepreneurship and starting your own cannabis business. This may involve starting your own cannabis cultivation, processing, or retail operation, or developing new products or services within the industry. It’s important to keep in mind that starting your own business involves a significant amount of risk and requires a strong entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen.
Finally, as the cannabis industry becomes more established, there may be opportunities for specialization and niche expertise. For example, you may choose to focus on a specific aspect of the cannabis industry, such as cannabis testing, quality control, or research and development. By developing specialized skills and knowledge, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and potentially command higher salaries and more opportunities for advancement.
Overall, the cannabis industry is a dynamic and rapidly growing industry with a wide range of career opportunities. By staying up-to-date with industry trends and opportunities, networking, and continuously building your skills and knowledge, you can position yourself for long-term success and growth in the industry.
Getting your foot in the door of the cannabis industry can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With so many entry-level job opportunities available, you can start your career path in cultivation, processing, manufacturing, retail, delivery, or logistics.
It’s essential to craft a strong cannabis industry resume and prepare for interviews and networking events to increase your chances of landing a job. Once you have a foot in the door, there are plenty of opportunities for career advancement and growth, whether you choose to stay in your entry-level position or move up to a higher-level position.
Remember that the cannabis industry is still growing and evolving, so there will always be new opportunities for growth and development. By staying informed and up-to-date on the latest industry trends, regulations, and best practices, you can position yourself for long-term success in the industry.