Looking to join the dynamic and rapidly expanding cannabis industry? We've got you covered! In this comprehensive guide, we will answer the most pressing questions about starting a career in cannabis, exploring available job types, average wages, legal requirements, and more. Whether you're a seasoned professional or new to the workforce, this article will help you navigate the exciting world of cannabis employment.
How do you get started in the cannabis industry?
Unfortunately, there is no one way to get started in the cannabis industry. While some professionals begin their cannabis careers in entry-level roles such as budtenders or trimmers and then work their way up the cannabis hierarchy, others join the cannabis industry laterally, bringing their experience and specific business skills from other industries and adapting them to the cannabis industry. Even though there is no single approach to entering the cannabis industry, referrals and networking, as well as seeking out education and training through webinars, courses, and other opportunities, go a long way. Vangst streamlines the job-seeking process, allowing you to showcase your qualifications and easily apply for relevant opportunities.
What are the different types of cannabis jobs available?
Just like any other industry, the cannabis industry offers roles of all levels that require different skills, knowledge, and specialties. Similar to other agricultural industries, cannabis roles can be divided into plant-touching and non-plant-touching or ancillary roles.
Plant-touching roles involve direct interaction with the plant and, in some markets, require specific badges or credentials. These roles include cultivation, manufacturing, trimming, and more! On the other hand, ancillary roles focus on the business and operations of the organization and don't involve direct contact with the plant. These roles are often similar to positions in other industries and encompass various areas such as accounting, marketing, law, sales, and more!
How many people work in the regulated cannabis industry?
According to the Vangst 2023 Jobs Report, there were 417,493 jobs in the regulated cannabis industry as of February 2023. The industry is projected to grow by 11.8% in 2023 and 20% in 2024, indicating significant room for growth in the cannabis industry.
Do I need previous cannabis experience to work in the industry?
The answer is, it depends! Some companies prioritize cannabis knowledge and prior experience in the industry, while others value other skills and business acumen. Often, organizations that prioritize cannabis experience are those that lack the resources to provide cannabis training to new hires. Conversely, larger and more established companies, such as ancillary companies and MSOs (Multi-State Operators), are often more willing to hire professionals with little to no experience, as they have more resources available for cannabis training. Additionally, Vangst Learn offers professionals of all levels the opportunity to gain cannabis knowledge. Interested in learning more? Browse open courses here.
What is the average wage in the cannabis industry?
Average wages for roles in the cannabis industry vary due to unique cannabis regulations in each state. Additionally, factors such as location, experience, job level, and company size also influence salaries. The Vangst 2022 Salary Guide provides insights into the salaries of over 60 roles across 10 verticals in the cannabis industry. Download the full report for free here.
Are there any legal restrictions or requirements for working in the cannabis industry?
Legal restrictions and requirements for working in the cannabis industry depend on state regulations. Plant-touching roles typically require badges and licenses, while professionals in ancillary roles can work in the industry without specific qualifications. For more information about state requirements, check out the Vangst state-by-state requirements guide.
In which states can you work in the cannabis industry?
Opportunities to work in the cannabis industry are available in 23 states for adult-use and 28 states for medical-use. Additionally, some organizations, particularly larger Multi-State Operators and technology/ancillary companies, offer remote opportunities, allowing individuals to explore cannabis career opportunities from anywhere. Interested in learning more? Check out the Vangst state-by-state requirements guide.
Will working in the cannabis industry hurt my future career opportunities?
Working in the cannabis industry is unlikely to hinder future career opportunities. The industry is gaining acceptance and shedding negative connotations. Skills acquired in the industry, such as compliance, customer service, and business operations, are highly transferable. Employers recognize the value of individuals who have navigated a rapidly evolving industry like cannabis.
Which skills are most important for job seekers in the cannabis industry?
Job seekers in the cannabis industry benefit from possessing adaptability, soft skills (such as marketing, accounting, communication, etc), and industry-specific skills (such as product knowledge, understanding regulations, etc.). Cultivating a balance of transferable skills and industry expertise positions you for success.
How can I learn about the regulated cannabis industry?
To keep up with the fast-paced nature of the cannabis industry, professionals of all backgrounds and experience levels are encouraged to stay updated with the latest trends, products, technology, regulations, and more. Numerous resources are available, including webinars, conferences, industry publications, company-specific blogs and articles, and dedicated educational platforms like Vangst Learn.
Where is the largest market for cannabis opportunities? Each cannabis market offers something unique. Established industries in the West have well-developed processes and an established workforce, while new and exciting markets in the East promise fresh opportunities. Here are some states to keep an eye out for:
- California is currently the number one job market for professionals in the regulated cannabis industry, with over 80,000+ professionals in the state's market as of February 2023.
- Missouri experienced the largest percentage growth in cannabis jobs between 2022 and 2023, with 6,958 new jobs created, representing a 350% increase.
- Markets such as New York and New Jersey are just getting started and expected to become some of the industry's most successful and prosperous.
How can I prepare for a job interview in the cannabis industry?
General advice for interviewing in any industry applies to the cannabis industry as well. Remember that although it's a job interview in the cannabis industry, it's still a professional business role that requires you to be professional and present your best self. Take the time to research the company before the interview, familiarize yourself with the products they offer, and be prepared to discuss your experiences and background, emphasizing how they will contribute to your success as an employee. For more insights, check out Vangst's blog, including resources on "How to Land Your Dream Cannabis Job" and "Finding Your Place in the Cannabis Industry."
What are the typical career advancement opportunities in the cannabis field?
The cannabis industry continues to experience exponential growth, with new markets emerging and businesses opening their doors. As a result, most companies are still in stages of rapid expansion, creating ample opportunities for professionals to quickly develop their skills and industry knowledge. The cannabis industry is often referred to as operating in "dog years," where a single year feels like seven due to the fast-paced nature and exponential growth.
Can I work in the cannabis industry if I have a criminal record?
The eligibility to work in the cannabis industry with a criminal record depends on individual businesses. Each company has the discretion to decide whether they are willing to hire employees with a criminal record.
Are there opportunities for remote work or work-from-home positions in the cannabis industry?
Like any industry, the cannabis industry offers various opportunities, including remote work options. Typically, remote roles are more common at higher levels or within ancillary/technology companies that don't require direct interaction with the cannabis plant or customer interaction. Interested in a remote role? Check out the Vangst jobs board.
Are there any age restrictions for working in the cannabis industry?
Most states require employees to be 21 or older to work in the cannabis industry, although some states offer opportunities for individuals aged 18 and older. For more information on the requirements in each specific state, refer to the Vangst state-by-state requirements guide.
What are the main challenges and opportunities in the cannabis job market?
As a new and rapidly growing industry, the cannabis industry faces both challenges and opportunities. These include navigating the complexities of operating in an industry that is still federally illegal and exploring the potential of building a new industry from the ground up. Gain insights into the experiences of professionals who have been instrumental in the growth of the cannabis industry by listening to Vangst's weekly podcast, "Proud to Work in Cannabis," hosted by Karson Humiston, Vangst's CEO & Founder.
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