How to find a job in the cannabis industry
Looking for a job in the cannabis industry? Well, the good news is that there are many available, and the sector is always growing. Here, we give you a taste of what's available, and look at what each role has to offer.
Not long ago, finding a job in the cannabis industry seemed impossible. These days, there are many available. So why not try to get one yourself?
In this article, we look at a handful of the weed jobs available, as well as what they require and what they offer in return.
What are cannabis jobs?
Cannabis jobs are broad and varied, but have one obvious common denominator: cannabis!
A non-exhaustive list of possible jobs is as follows:
- Edibles chef
- Cannabis accountant
- Weed writer
- Bud trimmer
Though these are some of the most common and sought-after positions, if you’re after a job in the cannabis industry, don’t limit your search to these five roles. Websites need graphic designers, many chefs need camera operators, seed banks need people to run their social media, warehouses need botanists to manage their grows; the list goes on!
Finding a job in the industry is about marrying your existing skills and interests with the myriad roles available.
Do cannabis jobs pay well?
They certainly can. High-level jobs in the cannabis industry can pay over $100,000 USD a year. This is especially true for those in highly qualified roles, such as botanists, legal specialists, or accountants.
For less-qualified roles, you can expect to earn less. But the money can still be very good. Later on, we’ll outline average salaries for particular roles.
How to find a job in the marijuana industry
As mentioned, finding a job in the cannabis industry is about matching your skills and aspirations with the available roles. What can you offer the industry, and what can the industry offer you in return?
The good news is that the cannabis industry is growing massively, and new jobs are always appearing. Given this, if you persist, it’s likely you’ll be able to land a job at some point. Here are 8 important tips to consider before and during your job hunt.
1. Consider your career goals
What do you actually want from your cannabis career? The cannabis industry is like any other industry in many ways, and there are many positions in which you will never come into contact with the plant or its byproducts. For example, you’ll find the role of an accountant to be quite similar regardless of whether you're in the weed business. If you do want to work directly with weed or cannabis products, then a role in a growing operation or dispensary is likely your best bet.
Then, you need to ask yourself how much money you want to earn. If you want to work with plants and want to earn a very good salary too, then you’ll need certain qualifications to clinch high-level jobs. If you just want to make a decent living working with weed, however, you could consider roles such as a bud trimmer.
If you’re happy to work practically anywhere within the weed industry, then there's a lot more open to you. However, be aware that doing admin for a big weed farm might not be any more inspiring than doing it for any other company.
2. Do your homework
It should go without saying that job prospects within the cannabis industry will vary depending on location.
In many countries, growing THC-rich cannabis is still illegal, and so looking for a legal job doing just that is going to be impossible. So what can you do? You could move elsewhere, or you could look for alternatives closer to home.
Research local laws, and you might find that you can get a job on a hemp farm or for a CBD manufacturer in your home country, even if cannabis is otherwise illegal.
Aside from legality, doing your homework involves familiarising yourself with the companies to which you’re applying, as well as the specific role and what it requires. You should come to your interviews prepared to both answer and ask questions.
3. Consider your qualifications (and pursue education)
As mentioned, when you take into account your career goals, you’ll have to look at what is actually available to you.
The cannabis industry is a highly technical one, requiring scientists, botanists, and legal experts, to name but three highly qualified positions. A passion for cannabis won’t be enough to get you into many roles; you’ll need the relevant qualifications and experience too.
Therefore, if you’re serious about making it in a certain role, it could take years to actually get there. Many positions require at least a bachelor's degree—and sometimes more. So be prepared for a long (but rewarding) journey.
4. Make a list of favourite companies
When applying for jobs, it’s worth forming some sort of list of your favourite cannabis companies.
This will not only help you keep track of your progress during applications, but can be a good resource to return to as your career progresses. Maybe you’re not qualified for a certain role right now, but things could be different in a couple years! And it can never hurt to send a polite email asking if a company has any roles available that fit your skill set; just don’t be pushy if they say they don’t.
5. Determine what you have to offer
What can you do? Also, what do you want to do?
The cannabis business has certain roles exclusive to the industry, and this means that there are always little niches to be filled. Could you be the one to fill them?
Maybe you make the best extracts in the world, or perhaps you’ve got the best new cannabis recipe. Maybe you’ve got the science chops to offer something truly vital to cannabis research. Whatever it is, this growing and vibrant industry is always looking for people with new ideas.
6. Attend industry events and connect online
It’s hard to overstate the importance of networking, in any realm of life. This is no less true within the cannabis industry. In fact, though it’s growing, it’s still smaller than many other industries, and so it’s not impossible to build a meaningful network fairly fast.
Get online and go to expos, conventions, and lectures—anything related. If you speak to enough relevant people, it will pay off at some point.
It hurts sometimes, but volunteering can be a great way to get a foot in the door.
That being said, respect yourself and don’t allow yourself to be used when you could make good money doing the same thing. Some companies use “interns” to fulfil the roles of normal employees, just without having to pay them.
So if you choose to volunteer, make sure you’re getting something out of it! Bear in mind that if a company is making money from a product that you’re helping to create, you should also be paid for your part in it.
8. Search online listings or contact staffing agencies
Once you’re a little clearer on what you’re after, get yourself out there.
Online listing and staffing agencies can be an easy way to find advertised jobs. But everyone else will be doing this too. If you make the effort to contact companies and check their individual websites, you’ll likely find interesting roles and face much less competition.
What are the best jobs in the cannabis industry?
Below, we’ll list our top 5 favourite jobs in both the cannabis industry and the CBD industry. As different locations have different offerings, we’ll treat these two industries as distinct.
These lists are by no means exhaustive, and don’t show just how broad these industries can be. However, we’ve tried to pick roles from across the industries, and which require different levels of qualification—so there should be something here for everyone.
Top 5 jobs in the weed industry
Without further ado, here are our top 5 jobs in the THC-rich weed industry.
1. Edibles chef
This might be many people’s dream job: a cannabis chef!
These are chefs who specialise in imbuing food with the goodness of cannabis. For this, you need more than just a passion for getting high, though. The industry demands the best chefs, and so your passion and aptitude for cooking (or baking) need to be equally high.
In terms of salary, it’s hard to say. If you work for a company, it could be up to $100,000 a year. However, if you create your own brand, this figure could be significantly higher.
2. Cannabis accountant
This might not sound as sexy as the former, but it’s certainly well-paid. Accountants or CFOs (chief financial officers) of cannabis firms can earn up to $125,000 a year.
These roles require a large degree of responsibility, as it’s necessary to keep track of everything happening within a cannabis company. Not just for the sake of profit, tight books are often a legal requirement too!
3. Weed writer
You could also become a writer for a cannabis company or magazine—such as this one!
Once again, it’s hard to determine salaries for these roles. Many writers are freelance, and so it depends on the specific publications to which they contribute. As a broad estimate, writers could hope to earn between $20,000 and $50,000 a year—sometimes more if you really establish yourself.
Alternatively, you could work front of house selling weed to customers.
This isn’t the most lucrative role, with budtenders earning an average of $11 to $13 an hour. However, it can be one of the more enjoyable positions, and it’s quite possible to move your way up through the ranks of the dispensary into a higher-paid position.
5. Bud trimmer
Good bud trimmers work fast!
Work as a bud trimmer can be intermittent, and if you want it to be a reliable source of income, you might need to establish yourself with a specific company. Growing operations only need bud trimmers at harvest time, and thus tend to hire them on a temporary basis. But it’s also one of the best ways to get hands-on with cannabis.
Often, trimmers get paid depending on the amount of bud they trim, in terms of weight. On average, this works out to be around $12–15 an hour, with experienced, fast trimmers making upwards of $20 an hour.
Top 5 jobs in the CBD industry
Now, let’s take a look at the top 5 jobs in the CBD industry. As CBD isn’t intoxicating, it’s legal in many countries, meaning that jobs in the CBD industry are more widely accessible. Here are our favourites.
1. CBD lab analyst
Good CBD manufacturers only offer products that have been third-party tested and analysed. To do this, they need lab analysts. What’s more, laws around the maximum level of THC within CBD products are strict, and so growers need to ensure that they’re not inadvertently selling illegal products.
On average, a lab analyst will earn around $50,000 a year.
2. Hemp farmer
If you’ve got land, or money to buy land, why not become a hemp farmer? Hemp farmers can make up to $300 dollars per acre, and that’s if they’re selling the hemp for industrial usage.
If farmers are growing high-quality CBD bud, then they can earn more than this. Ultimately, how much one can earn running a CBD hemp farm depends on too many factors to make an estimate here.
3. Hemp extraction technician
Most CBD isn’t available in raw form. Usually, it comes as an oil-based product, or perhaps a gummy bear. Someone needs to extract the CBD from the plant matter and turn it into these products. For this, the industry needs experienced extraction technicians.
This role pays, on average, between $35,000 and $50,000 a year, though it can be higher depending on the operation.
4. CBD marketing expert
You’ve probably noticed, but CBD marketing is massive!
Whether you work as a copywriter for ads or as a marketing consultant, there’s money to be made in CBD advertising. Sometimes, it can reach above $100,000 dollars a year.
Entry-level roles within this sector of the industry can be fairly easy to break into, and if you stick with it for some time, you can earn some serious money.
5. CBD lobbyist
Though legal in many countries, the legal landscape around CBD changes often. Part of this change is due to lobbyists.
Skilled lobbyists can earn a lot, especially those who work for pharmaceutical companies. It’s hard to say exactly how much one might earn, but it’s certainly a highly paid profession for those who are skilled at it.
Weed jobs: What career is right for me?
As you can see, there are many job options available for those who want to work with cannabis. And there are many, many more available than have been mentioned here.
Primarily, work out what it is you want from your role, and then see what you need to do to get there. If you work hard, it’s likely you can achieve it. However, be aware that although the cannabis industry is growing, it is nevertheless competitive, so you’ll need to persist if you want to make your canna-business dreams come true.