How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry

Soft Secrets
25 Aug 2020

It might mean moving to another country. It might mean obeying more laws and regulations than you would with other sectors. And it could be highly rewarding.

You may have been smoking weed your entire life, but never did it occur to you how to get into the cannabis industry. Perhaps you've always wanted to be part of the industry but have not taken the initiative to do so. If you are looking for an industry that presents with stable, steady growth, look no further. An increasing number of people are interested in becoming part of the industry as a growing number of states are making medical or recreational cannabis or both legal. If you want to pivot with your career, or maybe you recently lost your old job, you can inquire and see what the options and possibilities in the cannabis industry are. Scroll on and get the tips of what you should do to get into the cannabis industry.

It's Easier Said Than Done: How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry

First things first get to know the basics. Then do the research and learn the differences between the jobs and salaries. Lastly, be aware of some uncertainties that are normal to any industry.

Get familiar with how things are

Before you consider working in the cannabis industry, you have to know the basic things. Nobody expects you to be an expert or something. However, it's good to know in which states recreational and medical marijuana is legal and understand the basic differences between the use of the first and the former. You want to know the effects of smokable marijuana as much as you want to know the effects of taking CBD oil, for instance. It's critical to know that medical marijuana is something that doctors prescribe to patients so that they can use it for various conditions, ranging from epilepsy or post-traumatic syndrome to cancer or HIV/AIDS. Regarding recreational cannabis, users are up to themselves to decide and make a purchase of cannabis products. Everyone who buys should also be 21 years old. 

While recreational products are easy to get by in states where recreational cannabis is legal, it may be slightly more difficult for medical marijuana, which requires a procedure. In terms of regulation and taxes, these also differ from state to state as they also differ for medical and recreational cannabis. That means that product prices will range from place to place.  It doesn't matter if a particular cannabis product is labeled as a recreational or medical; it's worth noting that both have medicinal qualities. Recreational products are based on THC, the primary psychoactive compound of cannabis, while medical cannabis is based on CBD, the cannabidiol well praised in medicine.  All states have laws regulating the use of CBD, whereas the restrictions may vary, but the federal government still puts CBD in the same group as marijuana. Nevertheless, it's unlikely to charge against the use of CBD. 

Explore all your options

If you are working in a dispensary, you have to know the variety of products being sold there, from learning the different kinds of strains, what effects they give, and how they smell to the effects of edibles gummies and brownies. However, this is only a small slice of the cake. It may be a bonus if you are an experienced stoner or a grower, as you already have honed some marijuana skills this way. However, there are some pretty serious occupations in the industry, where bragging about how much you smoked last night may not be the best idea.  You may be thrilled at the prospects of working as a grower and horticulturist, production supervisor, technician, or edibles specialist.

These are some of the more prestigious occupations and may require years of experience to get to these jobs. By many, the West Coast is considered the best option on how to get into the cannabis industry. So, if you want to nab down the perfect job for you in the sector, you may need to move to another state. One way is to explore opportunities in states such as Washington, Colorado, California, Oregon, or Alaska. Most western states have legalized both recreational and medical cannabis. 

On the East Coast, there are also states that have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis. Some states are waiting to finalize the legislation. So, it's interesting to see options as well in states such as Florida, Maryland, or Pennsylvania, to name three.  It's worth noting that some states follow a regulation that grants only the residents of that state to work in the industry.  Do anticipate that the cannabis job market is fairly competitive, exciting, and dynamic. And while you can rely on cities on the west coast for almost always having available job openings, it's good to keep an eye on emerging markets where, if you are breaking in the industry, you may have more chances to stumble on entry-level jobs.

Explore the job descriptions and salaries 

Basically, there are three major fields where you can get into the industry. You can enter the domains of cultivation, production, or dispensary. In cultivation, you can work as a master grower, earn as much as $150,000 per annum, managing all tasks and employees in the grow facility, and interact with authorities such as the DEA. Junior grower assistants, who have responsibilities such as nourishing or cloning cannabis plants, can earn a salary between $30,000 and $70,000 a year.

Marijuana trimmers have some of the lowest wages in this domain, earning up to $25,000 per year.  The guys in production receive cannabis from cultivation centers and process it into different cannabis products, whether it's smokable cannabis, edibles, etc.  One of the most prestigious positions in this domain is being a master extractor, which ensures that production processes run smoothly in the facility.

The position is a lot about management, and the earnings can be as much as $180,000 a year - one of the more lucrative salaries and positions in the whole sector.  In production, you can also nab a job as an extractor technician, operating machines to extract oils from cannabis plants. The pay can go to around $70,000 for this position. Extractor assistant is a position that would require less expertise and which encompasses tasks such as packaging the products and delivering the goods to the dispensaries that ordered it.

Normally, the pay is less for this position, which would require experience in logistics.  Last but not least, in dispensaries, you can work as a receptionist, dispensary agent, assistant manager, and general manager, the last of which is the highest-paying position, whether you are pursuing a career in dispensaries and want to earn up to $100,000 a year.  As you do your research on salaries, you will notice that the pay can be two times as high in some states for the same position. 

As you explore the options, remember that, just like in any other domain, more money means extra responsibilities. Although it's not always the case, most people who surpass the challenge of how to get into the cannabis industry, need some time until they get to the good-paying salaries. But there's one lovely thing in this sector. Since the industry is expanding fast, promotions in the industry are happening reasonably quickly. 

Your record needs to be clean. 

If you are wondering how to get into the cannabis industry, know that your record needs to be clean. If you have a criminal record, it may be a significant obstacle to get the job that you want.  As an applicant, as is the practice for many other industries, in the cannabis industry, too, you may be subjected to background checks. That is for the sole reason that employers as well as authorities want to know that the people who are going to work with cannabis are not past convicts. 

It may sound strange that this is a matter of concern, but as a matter of fact, it is. While being a candidate with a misdemeanor in the record may not be such a big deal, a candidate with a felony conviction may be a problem. A majority of states disqualify persons charged with a felony to work in licensed cannabis businesses.

Some states are presently designing systems to help felons expunge their cannabis record where possible.  For instance, when California moved to legalize recreational cannabis at the beginning of 2018, a provision of the law offered the option to expunge records for cannabis-related crimes. Residents of California also benefit from an automatic expungement online tool to do that.  States such as Washington are more prone to scrutinizing, however.

Employers may go as far as performing background checks on the family members of their employees, such as the partner. Other states simply check if the candidate has been charged in the past, and marijuana possession, unfortunately, might be enough not to get the job, which is a pity.

There are jobs, but there's also one significant source of uncertainty.

That is the very fact that under federal law, marijuana is still classified as an illegal drug. Being aware of this is critical to understanding why there's still some lingering uncertainty in the industry.  At the federal level, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, "schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse." Marijuana or cannabis is classified along with substances such as heroin and LSD.  Until marijuana is not made legal on the federal level, there will always be this source of uncertainty. 

See it like every other type of job. 

Last but not least, despite the uncertainties, despite the unfamiliarity you may have toward jobs in the industry, you need to see employment in the cannabis industry the same as in other sectors.  Like every other job, you may be required to work in shifts, fulfill the weekly hours, and pay taxes for your income.

The enthusiasm you may have for marijuana and smoking is one thing, and this share of love for the plant may not mean that you are the ideal person to work in the industry.

Expecting otherwise is like to assume that everyone's who is enjoying the good nugs needs to know how to grow them.  Assumptions on the side, when you find your way how to get into the cannabis industry, it just might be the beginning of a beautiful new era in your life.

Soft Secrets