How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry – 5 Tips From an Industry Recruiter

Jonte Major / May 31, 2019
hero-graphic-How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry – 5 Tips From an Industry Recruiter

I remember the day I decided I wanted to get into the cannabis industry.

I had just moved into my new adult apartment and my neighbor, who seemed to have everything together told me he worked in cannabis. At first, I was taken back by the fact that someone working in cannabis had his own two-bedroom apartment in the middle of the city. Quickly I learned that the cannabis industry was extremely lucrative, and I needed to be a part of it. As of February this year, 10 states have now legalized recreational cannabis, which means the already massive industry is getting bigger. Legal cannabis is the number one source for new full-time job creation in America and it is estimated that this year alone cannabis has created over 200,000 jobs nationwide. That is a 44% jump since 2017 and according to a study done by Leafly they expect to see a 20% growth in 2019.

Next, I faced the challenging problem of getting a job in cannabis. I found myself facing a “Chicken and The Egg” situation – needing cannabis experience to get a chance to get into the cannabis space. Well eventually I networked my way into a position as a recruiter for Vangst, the leading cannabis and hemp industry recruiting platform. I now spend my days helping others achieve their goal of getting a job in cannabis.

If you’re finding yourself struggling to get a job in cannabis, check out these 5 tips for getting a job in the industry!

5 Tips For Getting a Job in the Industry

1. Network

You cannot expect your dream cannabis job to knock on your door, especially if you don’t know much about the current companies in your area. The best thing you can do for yourself is network, most markets, like Denver, have cannabis meetups every week, like Canna Gather. Take some time to research the local meetups and get yourself out there, you never know who you might meet. While you are at these events, don’t be shy! Introduce yourself to the vendors, and brand ambassadors. PRO TIP: collect as many business cards as you can! Ask individuals how they got into the cannabis space and let everyone you meet know, your goal is to pursue a career in cannabis. After the event, FOLLOW UP, send emails to everyone you met. 60% of people never follow up with business cards after receiving them.


Revel is a showcase of cannabis innovation across the industry from tech to research to business growth. (Image Credit: Sara Wass)

Bottom Line: If you want to stand out? Get out there, meet people, and follow up!

2. Read

Add a Google alert to alert your Gmail or web browser to alert you about cannabis specific news. You want to become an expert in the ever-changing landscape that is cannabis. Employers are often looking for individuals that are up to speed on industry policies and regulations. If you can talk the most current talk, you will set yourself apart. The more you know about the industry, the easier it will be for you to talk with potential employers or industry professionals. Companies want to hire someone who knows enough about the general cannabis landscape that they can help them grow in the right direction. The more you know about the industry, the better. Additionally, there are a lot of great books being written by industry influencers everywhere, on topics ranging from the history of cannabis prohibition, to how to best set up an edible production kitchen. This industry is full of random niches, find a few books that you connect with and start reading it will only increase your knowledge and credibility.

Get started today with Amazon’s Marijuana Cultivation best sellers list!

3. Get Certified

While you are doing your research, find out about your state’s laws and what it takes to be legally able to work with cannabis. In Colorado, for example, you need to get a MED badge to work in any “plant touching” role. This means in order to be hired you must have a valid MED badge. To find out how to get your MED badge check out our most recent blog post on the topic! Make sure you take the appropriate steps to get your badge before you are hired, as sometimes this process can take a few months.

cannabis med badge

4. Be Flexible

If you want to be in cannabis you have to be willing to be flexible and prepare to wear many hats. Most of the companies in the cannabis industry are startups and most startups require a different work ethic to be successful. If you are coming from a big corporate environment, be prepared to have fewer resources. You may have to tackle tasks that you are used to having someone else handle. Do your research about the companies you are targeting and make sure you are comfortable with the size of the organization. The smaller the team, the more hats you will likely have to wear. However, there is a huge upside to this, as no other industry in the world will provide you with the learning and growth opportunities that cannabis will. The more willing you are to be flexible, the more opportunities you will be opening yourself up to. Go into your interviews with an open mind around job titles and salary. According to a recent study, the average salary in the cannabis space is about 11% higher than the U.S median salary. However, don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight. If you go into your job hunt with realistic expectations, this will come across in your interview and employers will feel more comfortable offering you a position on their team.

cannabis plant cultivation work

5. Have Passion

Everyone has a reason to be interested in cannabis. Whatever your reason is, don’t forget it! Having passion behind your work is what makes, and will continue to make, this industry so special. The more you love the cannabis space, the easier it will be to find success. Cannabis is an industry run on passion. Don’t be afraid to get on your soapbox every now and again. Find an organization that you align with and get involved; you’ll be amazed by the number of opportunities that open up.

Overall getting into the cannabis space requires some effort, but it’s worth it. If you are looking for more help finding a job in the cannabis space, check us out at You can learn how to get your MED badge, browse open jobs around the country, and keep a competitive edge by staying up to date on our latest industry reports and insights. With our digital talent matching features you can take your cannabis job search into your own hands by applying directly for jobs posted by leading cannabis companies. Plus, once you’ve been Vangst-Verified by one of our dedicated talent managers, you’re eligible to be recruited by Vangst when it comes to any job searches we personally handle for our clients. Whether you’re looking for temporary work or a full-time job in cannabis, Vangst is the best resource for connecting top talent with leading cannabis companies.

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