How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry

Soft Secrets
25 Aug 2020

You may have been smoking weed your whole life, but it never occurred to you to become part of the sector. Perhaps you've always wanted to be part of the industry but have never taken the initiative until now. Getting into the cannabis industry might mean moving to another country. It might mean learning more about local laws and regulations. It also might mean taking more risks than what would be for other sectors. But it's all worth it if it pays off in the end. In this article, we give practical tips to help you prepare as you make your way into the budding sector.

An increasing number of people are looking forward to become part of the cannabis industry as more and more states make both medical and recreational weed legal. If you want to pivot with your career, or you're simply looking for lucrative job opportunities, there's something for everyone in legal cannabis. If you are not familiar with how the sector functions, it's good to make some research as part of your preparations. 

Get Familiar with the Industry

Before you consider working in the cannabis industry, it's good to know the basic things. Not that you have to be an expert or something, but it helps to know things such as, for example, which states permit the recreational use of marijuana and which doesn't. You also want to know the differences between various products, and how there are different market segments: CBD, THC, smokables, edibles, topicals, etc. Each of these market segments might have different cohorts or groups of consumers that are more likely to purchase those products. So for instance, younger people might be more interested in trying out THC products, while medicinal users could be more likely to shop cannabis medicines that are ingested rather than inhaled. 

Explore All Options

There are different job positions you can take. Working in a dispensary for example, means that you have to know the variety of products being sold there. To know information about every strain and its effect, and to know to explain edibles, flower or tinctures to customers. 

For those with some growing experience, perhaps some of the other occupations in the industry would be more attractive. Cannabis manufacturers are always on the hunt for the best person who has the grow wisdom and can cultivate high-quality flower. There are lucrative job positions for growers, horticulturists, production supervisors, technicians or edibles specialists. 

The higher-paying jobs normally require more significant experience. Also, there is the geographical factor. The West Coast currently has some of the best options around for those interested to get into the cannabis industry. Oftentimes, succeeding in this sector means moving to another state. The West Coast has more opportunities to offer because there are more legal states in this part of the U.S. 

On the East Coast, there are also states that have legalized both medicinal and recreational marijuana. Many more are waiting for legislation to be finished. So, it's interesting to see how the market changes once we have states like Florida, Maryland, New York or New Jersey joining the game. Those would be some of the emerging markets and that can be ideal for taking a competitive advantage if you are early on to break into the sector. 

It's worth noting though, that some states have a regulation where they allow only state residents to work in the industry. You can check more about cannabis state requirements on the link here

what should i do to get myself into cannabis sector jobs

Job Descriptions and Salaries 

Generally speaking, there are three main fields to get into the industry. These are cultivation, production and retail. Master growers can earn as much as $150,000 a year, managing all tasks and employees in the grow facility and interacting with the DEA as a bonus if need be. Junior grow assistants are responsible for nourishing and cloning cannabis plants, and their salaries are in the range between $30,000 and $70,000 annual. Cannabis trimmers have lower wages, earning up to $25,000 per year. 

Those who work in production receive cannabis from cultivation centers and process it into various cannabis products. A master extractor is one of the highest-paying jobs in this domain, as this is the person responsible that all the processes run smoothly in the facility. The position is much about management and the earnings can go up $170,000 a year. An extractor technician is the person who operates machines that extract oils from the plant material, and the pay for this position is around $70,000 per annum. Extractor assistant requires the least experience from all three and includes tasks such as packaging the products and delivering the goods to the dispensaries that order it. The payment is similar to that of trimmers. 

In retail, you can work as dispensary receptionist, as an agent, shop assistant, or general manager. The highest-paying position is being the dispensary's general manager, with a salary of up to $100,000 a year. 

As you make your own research on salaries, you may notice that the pay can be twice as high in some states for the same position. 

Keep a Clean Record

Having a criminal record might be an obstacle to get a job into any sector, including cannabis. It's a common practice among employers to make background checks, especially for the higher-paying positions. Employers as well as authorities want to know that the people who are going to work with weed on a daily basis are not past convicts. Low-level convictions might not be so much of a problem, but more serious offenses can be. 

If the background check shows that you've an active charge or conviction within the last 10 years from a controlled substance-related felony, then you're automatically disqualified by law to be hired or licensed a work permit for Cannabis. What can change your outcome and help you stay in cannabis business is getting a certificate of good conduct, receiving a pardon, or having your record sealed under the state's expungement program. Not all states have effectuated expungement, but each state that goes legal is expected to implement record sealing. 

Uncertainty is Part of the Deal

Cannabis is a new and exciting market, and exactly for that reason things can sometimes be unpredictive and more volatile than elsewhere. There is lack of regulation. For example, there is no access to normal banking services that is usually available for other businesses. If you are a business owner or a manager, this can make things all the more challenging, as you have to improvise and find solutions how to remain operational on the go. 

The other big source of uncertainty is the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. It's classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances are those drugs and substances defined as drugs with no currently accepted medicinal use and with a high abuse potential. We know that cannabis is not one of those drugs, but in federal view, that unfortunately remains the case. It is due to the this classification that state-legal businesses sometimes fear federal prosecution. 

See It Like Any Other Jobs

Regardless of the uncertainties, and despite any unfamiliarity that you might have towards Cannabis jobs, it's good to see employment in the sector the same as everywhere. Just like every other job, here as well, people work in shifts, they fulfill weekly hours, and pay taxes on the generated profits.

The enthusiasm you may have for smoking weed is one thing, but the shared love for the plant might not mean you are automatically the best fit to work on certain positions. Expecting otherwise is as if assuming that everyone's who is enjoying some goods buds needs to know how to grow them. 

However the case, getting into cannabis can be a highly-rewarding and life-changing experience. It's always dynamic in the budding sector, and one of the best thing of all is that you can actually help people medicate and heal with a plant that not so long ago was a subject of total prohibition. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

9 Questions to Consider If You Want to Try in the Cannabis Business

8 Steps to Help You Learn How to Invest in Cannabis Stocks

Cannabis Startups and Crowdfunding For Cannabis

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