Should You Hide Cannabis Experience on Your Resume?

Ellie Herring/Feb 21, 2020

hero-graphic-Should You Hide Cannabis Experience on Your Resume?

The cannabis industry is an incredible place to grow your career. But sometimes, plans change, moving is inevitable, or the industry just simply isn’t the right fit. If you find yourself looking outside the industry for a new career, you may question if including your cannabis experience in your resume is the right move. While there’s no one size fits all answer to this question, cannabis industry experience is a valuable resume builder.

The industry has faced decades of negative stigma and misinformation, so reinforcing the accurate and positive impact cannabis has is essential. Change starts with the conversations we have with our friends, family, and others who cross our path (for example, during a job interview). With an estimated 243,700 jobs in the legal cannabis market, and more states legalizing each year, cannabis is a powerful force – and for a good reason. Cannabis improves the lives of millions, offers career opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people, and brings impactful funding to state projects. Although some people still hold inaccurate or biased beliefs about cannabis and the industry as a whole, views are changing. This change would not be possible without the bravery of cannabis supporters and consumers speaking out about their experiences. 

Including cannabis experience on your resume is a chance to continue this conversation and educate others on the opportunities within the budding industry. Each position in the industry holds unique responsibilities that contribute to career development. Use your resume to highlight the accomplishments from your time in the industry.

pen to paper

 In addition to your specific achievements within your role, the cannabis industry provides unparalleled challenges that help hone in specific skills. For example, the industry is highly regulated, which means all employees must pay acute attention to detail. Also, many businesses quickly adapt within the industry, as trends, laws and best practices are rapidly changing. Illustrate your ability to quickly pivot and work within a start-up environment when discussing your cannabis industry experience. Many skills acquired in the industry translate to various other sectors within the workforce. 

If you’re nervous a future employer won’t recognize the legitimacy of the cannabis industry, is this really an employer you want to work for? Close-mindedness and an unwillingness to learn are two red-flags for any future employers. The cannabis industry is well established in legal markets, it is no longer considered a fringe interest. Keep in mind, the alcohol industry followed the same path as cannabis. Alcohol was prohibited for over a decade, yet those who were passionate about changing the landscape fought for legalization and didn’t back down when faced with opposition. Cannabis is experiencing the same trajectory. Although the industry faces fierce opposition, those who understand the true nature of the plant are fighting for change. Alex Lang, a Talent Manager for Vangst recalls his experience with job seekers both in and outside the industry. 

“I feel like at one point, having cannabis on your resume could be viewed as questionable. As the industry becomes more and more mainstream, and more folks enter it from highly competitive and mature industries, it will continue to lose its stigma. I know multiple folks who have entered the industry, left, and even some who have come back! Getting things more and more normalized will speed that process up.”

cannabis coffee

Honesty is always the best policy, but sometimes coming outright and using the word cannabis just simply isn’t a viable option. If that’s the case, consider simplifying your job descriptions. For example, instead of saying “budtender,” you could say “retail associate.” A “cannabis grower” is also a “horticulturist.” If absolutely necessary, most jobs within cannabis can be reformatted to remove cannabis-specific wording.

The cannabis industry is legally recognized within many states, and federal conversations are starting to happen. Choose to opt-in pushing the industry forward by inviting in conversations about your time in cannabis. Although including your cannabis industry experience may seem intimidating at first, by focusing on your personal achievements and the impact of the industry as a whole, you continue the path of progress for cannabis. What’s more rewarding than sticking up for something you believe in?

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