10 Jobs in the Legal Marijuana Industry
With the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in an increasing number of states, more and more jobs are popping up in the legal cannabis industry.
And a booming industry it is. Marijuana is big business, worth over $10 billion in 2018 and responsible for creating over 250,000 jobs, according to economists. Beau Whitney, vice president and senior economist at New Frontier Data, a cannabis market research firm, tells NBC News that he expects the legal marijuana industry to top $16 billion in 2019.
A look at the marijuana-related job board websites out there shows a vast number of available jobs supporting the growth and sale of legal marijuana.
Ready to take your skills to a growing field? There’s almost certainly a marijuana job out there for you. Some are universal to many industries, e.g., delivery person or store manager, while others are unique to this emerging segment.
There are jobs available in many different areas and for many different skill sets. See if one of these appeals to you:
A "budtender" works at a dispensary to answer customer questions, provide the correct information and generally be the customer's go-to resource for making purchases. (Think of a sommelier, but for legal weed instead of wine.) Accordingly, budtenders must be personable and have exceptional customer service skills while also possessing experience in sales and customer relations.
With recreational and medicinal marijuana available in multiple different forms, including baked goods, candy, and tea, a variety of jobs have emerged. Edible chefs, for example, are directly responsible for creating recipes and producing goods. There are a variety of other positions in the edibles industry, too, from working on an assembly line to labeling and packaging.
A job working with marijuana edibles will require experience with food handling and production. In many cases, a culinary-related degree is preferred.
Now that e-cigarettes and vaporizers are becoming increasingly popular, many stores are popping up that are solely dedicated to selling smokeless devices. Landing a job in one of these stores will require some familiarity with the industry, in addition to top-notch sales and customer service skills.
Many dispensaries offer delivery services to patients who are prescribed medicinal marijuana but can't necessarily make it out of their house to pick up the prescription. In addition, truck drivers are hired to transport products to their various locations.
A delivery job will require a valid driver’s license, a clean driving record, and no criminal record. Some companies will require you to have your own car and GPS device, and for legal reasons, in some states you may be required to possess your own doctor-authorized medical marijuana permit to work for the company.
In cases where you'll be interfacing with customers, you'll also need solid communication skills.
As more dispensaries pop up, store managers are needed to successfully run each store. Having previous experience working in a dispensary is a huge asset – and sometimes, a requirement – to land a job as a manager. At the very least, you'll need to have retail skills and be able to demonstrate your ability to successfully manage employees, retail operations, and sales.
Cashiers or front-end sales associates are needed in dispensaries and stores to greet customers, answer their questions and ring up sales. Though this is generally an entry-level position, you'll need to have great customer service skills and a familiarity with the products you'll be selling.
Security guards are needed in dispensaries, manufacturing areas, and other places medical marijuana is produced and distributed. In many cases you'll need to be certified as a guard and licensed to carry a firearm if the job requires an armed guard.
Production managers oversee and analyze the entire "seed to sale" cycle of the product. In this job, workers must account for operations, process, and staff management, plus manage budgets and timelines.
Website, social media, and email managers are needed to run the digital presence of dispensaries and marijuana companies, as well as the agencies that run their marketing and PR efforts. In addition, there are many marijuana-related websites and apps popping up that need staffing.
A background in communications, digital media, or web and graphic design is necessary to land a job in one of these fields. Employers may give preference to those with experience in the field, as advertising a product that’s still illegal at the federal level comes with a host of challenges.
Harvesting marijuana involves in a number of tasks, including growing, trimming, and packaging. These entry-level jobs tend to be quite labor-intensive and physically demanding, but prior experience is not usually required (although it may be preferred).
How to Get a Marijuana Job
Looking for a marijuana job? Job searching in this emerging industry isn’t very different from looking for a job in a more traditional field. The usual methods apply: networking, referrals, and even job search sites can help you find your dream job in the legal marijuana industry.
There are also several niche sites with a focus on marijuana jobs, including:
- 420Careers.com: Includes full-time and part-time jobs, plus freelance and remote gigs.
- Cannajobs.com: Submit your resume to jobs sorted into career paths including Growing, Artisan, Technology, and more.
- Ganjapreneur.com: Search by keyword or browse job openings on this jobs board geared specifically toward workers in the legal marijuana industry.
- Ms. Mary Staffing: Offers job listings sorted by state or job category. Popular categories include Account Managers, Budtenders, and Dispensary Managers.