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3 Steps to Landing a Job in the Cannabis Industry

Insider advice from a leading weed business staffing agency.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the US. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the industry currently employees between 125,000 – 160,000 full-time employees. Now is a great time to kick off a career in the cannabis industry as the number of full-time employees is expected to triple over the next three years.

Jeff Rotman | Getty Images

There are four verticals in the cannabis industry, that I would like to deep dive into, where people can work: Cultivation, Extraction, Retail, and Ancillary.

Related: 7 Hottest Jobs in the Cannabis Industry Right Now

The Cultivation vertical is responsible for the actual agronomy of cannabis, meaning the people physically growing the plant. The most popular jobs in the cultivation vertical include Director of Cultivation, Grower, and Trimmer.

The Extraction vertical is responsible for extracting oil out of cannabis to create products such as edibles, vapes, and topicals. The most popular jobs in the extraction vertical include Lab Director, Chemists, Research & Development Specialists, and outside sales representatives.

The Retail vertical is responsible for selling cannabis directly to patients and recreational users through dispensaries. The most popular jobs in the retail vertical include dispensary General Mangers, Inventory Managers, and Budtenders (sometimes referred to as patient consultants).

The Ancillary vertical of the cannabis industry is responsible for providing infrastructure to support cannabis businesses, while not actually cultivating, extracting, or selling cannabis. Some examples include technology, service, and training companies. The most popular jobs in the ancillary sector include software engineers, outside sales representatives, and customer service representatives.

Related: Business Ideas for Those Who Don't Want to 'Touch the Plant'

The best part about the cannabis industry is that outside of the some of the industry specific roles mentioned above, there are other opportunities for almost every type of skillset. Each of these businesses, whether cultivation, extraction, retail or ancillary, require finance, human resources, operations, marketing, IT, and more. I always say, keep your career, change your industry; whatever you are currently doing in another industry can likely be transitioned to the cannabis industry. The cannabis space is actively recruiting top talent from all different industries and welcomes diverse backgrounds and skillsets.

Three steps to landing your dream job in the cannabis industry: 

1. Identify the Vertical You Want to Pursue

Remember: The key cannabis sectors are cultivation, extraction, retail, or ancillary. As a step to identify which vertical you would like to work in, I suggest attending cannabis industry trade-shows, conferences, and other networking events. I also suggest researching many companies in each vertical to better understand how they contribute to each vertical.  

2. Narrow Your Search

Once you identify the vertical you would like to pursue, narrow your search down to companies you would like to pursue. Once you identify the companies that you believe would best suit you, begin applying to positions that your skillsets align with. 

3. Network Like Crazy

Lastly, I recommend attending trade-shows, conferences, and networking events where the companies you’re pursuing will be attending. It's a clear advantage when you meet your potential employer in person, and an event is a great place to do so.

Related: 10 Ways to Maximize Your Time at the Next Cannabis Conference