Getting Into The Cannabis Industry: A Beginner’s Guide

1. Knowing Where to Start

The cannabis industry has been one of the fastest growing business sectors in the U.S. the past few years. Currently, 33 states have legalized recreational marijuana use. That number will inevitably grow. As the industry grows, so will job opportunities for people looking to break into the business. 

From 2020 to 2021, employment grew by 32% in the cannabis industry. As of September this year, 77,000 new jobs in the sector according to Leafly’s jobs report for 2021. A lack of formal work experience around the plant shouldn’t hold you back from pursuing a career in cannabis. One simple way to get a foot in the door is demonstrating your professional passion about cannabis. Make it clear it is more than just a hobby.

Remember, it can feel intimidating trying to break into a new career and field. You got your first job without any experience at one point in time. It will happen again, too, with dedication and preparation in the approach.

2. What are the Next Steps to Take?

Understanding the need to approach your cannabis job search with professional enthusiasm is a key fundamental in the process. Here are concrete steps to take:  


1. Determine Which Job is Right for You

What kind of job are you looking for in the industry? Do you want to be working with the plant directly or not? If you’re unsure about the different jobs available in cannabis, take the time to research positions. See which roles sound appealing or fit with your past work experiences.

If you have a background in marketing or branding, there are lots of companies looking for help in those areas. That can encompass a wide variety of positions, such as content strategist, public relations specialist, market research analyst, copywriter, social media manager, SEO specialist, and more. Past job experience like this brings value and skills, even without cannabis experience.  

Another thing to consider are the values and mission of companies. Do those things align with your professional goals, values, and morals? You should want to work someplace you feel proud to represent and dedicate time and effort.

2. Attend Networking Events and Build Relationships

Attending in-person events is a great way to help with your job search, especially with a lack of experience. Cannabis career fairs are a great opportunity to get face-to-face time with brands and companies. Come prepared with questions to ask the representatives there. This will help put a name to the face when you submit a resume. Pro-tip: tailor your resume for each position you apply.

Find local chapters, organizations, or clubs dedicated to cannabis to join. Learn about what activist groups are doing and explore that area of the sector. In general, be willing to learn as much as possible from multiple resources in the industry.  

3. Connect with Companies on LinkedIn

Before making connections, ensure your profile is up-to-date and optimized for your job search. List any skills, achievements, and work experience that are relevant to your career aspirations. This platform gives you the ability to digitally interact with the cannabis industry.

Keep in mind, LinkedIn is not the kind of social network to make random connections. The goal is to strategically connect with companies and people relevant to your goals. Connecting with as many people as possible is not the goal. Who you are connecting with is an important key to successful networking.  

LinkedIn is an excellent, free research tool. Gain insights and knowledge about places you want to work. Connect with people that make hiring decisions within the company to determine what they look for in employees. Find people in similar roles and positions you’re considering to ask questions.  

3. Additional Steps to Take to Get Your Foot in the Door

Staying up-to-date on the current trends and news around cannabis will be beneficial. It’s a good idea to learn general knowledge related to the industry as a whole, as well as specific insights and knowledge related to the job you want.  

Certification programs and schools out there, such as Oaksterdam University, teach specialized cannabis knowledge and information. Be sure to do diligent research to find reputable and successful programs. Look at their reviews and success rates of employment after graduating before investing money in it.

Find ways to get relatable experience to the role you want. Have aspirations of being a grower? Look for a job at a nursery to get hands-on experience caring for and tending to plants. Tangible experience like this with transferable skills will be a huge benefit when lacking a background in the cannabis industry.  

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