The legal cannabis market keeps expanding, and with that it, the job market. It is not everyday that a new industry comes along that has the ability to create a plethora of new jobs, so it is no surprise that there is a huge number of people trying to find their way into the fastest growing American industry.
In many ways, cannabis is a new industry; however, that is kind of a misnomer, as a large cannabis market existed and thrived before it was officially legalized. Legalization provided a space for people who were already producing and selling cannabis to do so without the fear of going to jail, but it also created a new category of jobs that is often labeled as “cannabis adjacent.”
Cannabis adjacent jobs are part of the ever-growing infrastructure that facilitates the business needs associated with the production and sale of cannabis. These are jobs like accounting, marketing, or security -- jobs that do not have direct contact with the cannabis plant but play an important role in keeping the business going smoothly.
There are many avenues into the cannabis industry. Whether you want to work directly with the plant or be cannabis adjacent, there is always going to be a need for skilled professionals to fill these jobs. The trick is to develop the skills you need for the job you want, or find a position that is looking for the skills you already possess.
Below you will find 10 jobs that are vital to the success of the cannabis industry. Many of these jobs are cannabis adjacent -- offering a huge spectrum of opportunity for the person looking to make their way into cannabis. So, whether you are already a working professional or embarking on a new career path, check out how you might put your skills to work in the cannabis industry.
1) IT & Computer Programming: Computers are a vital part of every industry. People with strong computer skills are needed to make sure that the cannabis industry keeps running. Customers use apps to place pickup orders at their local shops -- somebody needed to program that app. Producers are required to track their inventory through state systems -- creating a need for strong programmers to make sure these systems are kept up and running. POS systems need to work seamlessly with inventory, and sales need to be controlled from the back end. Without competent professionals in place to meet these demands, the entire industry would come to a screeching halt.
2) Sales: There are a lot of people trying to take advantage of the green rush happening around the world. The market is oversaturated with cannabis products, and it is hard for a company to create a big following. The competition is fierce. There will always be a job for people who know how to sell. Getting a solid foundation in business and analytics is a great place to start! The best salespeople in the industry are also well-versed in cannabis fundamentals.
3) Marketing: You know what plays a big role in whether or not a product makes it -- things like marketing and branding. Marketing is usually handled by a team that includes graphic designers, website developers, and marketing wizards. The sole purpose of these jobs is to give a cannabis company a professional feel and a story that will speak to the curious consumer. It makes a product pop off the shelf -- distinguishing itself from the competition. If you are an artist looking to work in the cannabis industry, this might be the place for you.
4) Real Estate: Location, location, location, but not that location. Most regions have strict rules around where cannabis businesses can operate. Retail shops want heavy foot traffic; however, finding a place that has foot traffic and fits the legal requirements for selling cannabis is no easy task. Real estate is also needed to produce cannabis. Some people grow indoors in an urban environment, and some grow outdoors in a rural environment. An effective real estate agent, who is knowledgeable about local cannabis regulations, can move mountains for cannabis companies.
5) Journalism: Cannabis is big news, and somebody has to be there to report it. It seems like everyday we learn something new about cannabis, or a state makes a change to the law that reshapes the cannabis market. People need to be kept up to date on what is happening. There is also a large push toward advocacy in the cannabis community. Great writers are needed to keep people focused on what is truly important. If you have excellent writing skills and can tell a great story, you might consider moving into cannabis journalism.
6) HR Services: Having spent a while working in the cannabis industry, I can say one thing with certainty. Get a great HR professional! I say this because, too often, I have seen this position overlooked, and I have seen the chaos that develops because of it. It pays to have someone who understands the finer points of nurturing a company’s culture and running a professional business.
7) Legal Services: Navigating the cannabis market is very difficult. Just keeping a business legal takes tremendous effort. Having someone on your side to fight for your rights and help keep you on the right side of the law is important. Lawyers also make excellent advocates, as their work can focus on helping people navigate the legal system and avoid unethical treatment. If you have a passion to help people, and do not mind a few extra years of college, consider studying law!
8) Security: We are talking about a highly regulated, billion-dollar industry that runs on cash. At every level of the cannabis industry, there is security. Security systems for grow operations, security guards for pot shops, security teams for transportation of products, armored vehicles for cash deposits, and the list goes on. People with solid military and police backgrounds are highly sought after in these fields.
9) Accounting: Having someone to keep track of the books is vital. Cannabis companies can work with hundreds of vendors and serve hundreds of guests a day. Keeping track of what is going in and what is coming out is critical to the success of any business. If you are a numbers person and want to work in cannabis, consider becoming a CPA.
10) Education: A lot of cannabis adjacent jobs already have some kind of formal education and/or degree attached to them; however, very few of these programs offer education on how the cannabis industry converges with them. We need places that are dedicated to educating people about cannabis, thereby helping people develop the skills necessary to be successful in their field. If you are already an educator or administrator who wants to add cannabis to the curriculum, check out Green Flower’s Higher Ed programs. These programs have been expertly designed to give you the skills necessary to be successful at the intersection of cannabis and healthcare, law, agriculture, and business. Our instructors are some of the top experts in their field. They will help you build a strong foundation of cannabis knowledge, so that you can be successful in real-world settings as well as become the innovators who bring the industry into the future.
Whether you are looking to teach people how to become better growers of cannabis or teach people how to become great lawyers who specialize in cannabis law, getting the proper education around cannabis is a vital step in being successful at your craft!