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As the cannabis legalization train barrels across the country from state to state, countless professionals are looking for ways to get on board. But how do you make your mark - or just your entry - in such a dynamic industry? By and large, while the cannabis industry is a rapidly changing space, many of the same job-hunting principles apply.

Develop an affinity and a passion for cannabis 

As “Best Budtender in Chicago” Lorena Cupcake told Weedmaps, “having an affectionate familiarity with cannabis is one of the most important prerequisites for making bud your livelihood.”

Cupcake is right: while it's true that you can get a job without having an intimate relationship with the cannabis plant, an affinity surely helps. 

It can give you passion and a sense of purpose in your work to keep your motivation high. And on the job hunt, this enthusiasm can also make a positive impression on potential employers. 

It can also drive you to learn more, helping you stay up to the minute on trends in the industry. 

Find your niche for cannabis

What’s your specialty? Are you a wordsmith with a passion for storytelling? Do you have a knack for sales and actually enjoy interacting with strangers? Do you excel at skilled manual labor and love nothing more than a long shift in the storeroom with your colleagues?

Before launching your job hunt, take some time to consider the types of jobs you’d enjoy and which cannabis businesses and positions would fit your skillset. 

One of the great things about the industry is that while it is unique in various ways, all types of prior job experience can help. 

Sales professionals can find work as a sales rep or entry-level budtender, while skilled content writers can find no shortage of marijuana companies who want their stories told. People with experience in horticulture, laboratory work, and business management should also find many job postings that speak to their particular skill set. 

But first, you need to decide what your story is and what you bring to the industry.

Look at your professional network

If you live in a legal cannabis state, you’re likely to know people who work in the industry. Comb through your contacts on Linkedin and reach out to those working in the industry. If you don't know them personally, find mutual acquaintances or colleagues and ask them to connect. 

In the worst case, you’ve made another professional connection. And even if they don’t know of any cannabis job openings in your area, this could change soon, and you’ll be on their radar as someone on the job hunt. 

Additionally, they can give you advice about how they got their current job and which resources they used to help them on their path.  

Check out cannabis events and webinars

Cannabis conferences and networking meetups are a great way to learn about some of the industry's big names and make valuable personal connections.

They can also provide a window into the conversations driving legal cannabis today and which trends we can expect to grow (or die off) in the coming years. 

The fact that cannabis events have largely gone virtual over the past two years also means that you can attend all types of webinars and meetups from the comfort of your home. 

Visit cannabis job sites 

Cannabis job sites are relatively new, but they can still help you find job openings and people like yourself who are on the job hunt or already employed in the industry.

They can give you a good idea of how many jobs are out there, which types of positions are available, and which companies are hiring. 

Many of these sites also produce content that can provide insight into the industry.    

Here are some of the leading cannabis job sites and staffing agencies:

In addition, “conventional” job sites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Linkedin also cover the industry and should be among the first sites you check for cannabis job postings.

Learn the lingo and educate yourself 

In your younger years or when you first encountered cannabis, you may have thought, “this is just herb; what’s all the fuss about?”

While there is something to that, the world of marijuana is a lot more than just bong rips on the couch and scrolling through Netflix. 

It is a life-changing medicine for millions of patients, an essential service during a pandemic, a fascinating and growing field of scientific research, and a mind-altering hobby for people from all walks of life.

The legal cannabis industry also has its lingo, and using slang like “weed,” “pot,” or “marijuana,” instead of “cannabis” can give people the wrong idea about you. Even terms like “recreational cannabis” (as opposed to “adult use”) can rub people in the industry the wrong way. 

Simply put, the world of cannabis is full of nuance and a language and culture all its own. It pays to study the landscape if you’re going to dive in. 

And now, the good news

The cannabis industry welcomes all types of people, even if they have no direct experience.  

And if, at first, you don’t succeed, the numbers may be in your favor. According to MJBizDaily, the marijuana industry will employ between 545,000 to 600,000 full-time workers by 2025. With some focused preparation and a positive outlook, chances are you can join them. 

If you’re looking to work in cannabis, you don’t need to go back to college and get a degree in cannabis. 

Online cannabis courses can provide job seekers with a comprehensive education on the cannabis plant, the science behind how cannabis works, intake methods and dosing protocols, and much, much more. These courses can look great on your resume when searching for a job in the industry and can also help you develop a deeper, more enriched understanding and appreciation for the world of cannabis. 

In addition, in-depth training can help cannabis professionals establish an eye for safety and compliance, helping safeguard themselves, their customers, and their employer.  

Crafted by industry-leading experts in cannabis law and food manufacturing compliance, the Rootwurks Learning Experience Platform includes a host of education and training resources that benefit cannabis professionals.

To learn more, click here for a demo.

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Ben Hartman, Content Manager

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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