These Cannabis Jobs Are Most In-Demand Right Now

Cannabis jobs increased 690 percent between 2017 and 2018, with employment projected to grow another 220 percent in 2019.
These Cannabis Jobs Are Most In-Demand Right Now
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Founder of NDXBL, an organic growth co.
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This story appears in the May 2019 issue of Green Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Here’s a staggering number: Cannabis jobs increased 690 percent between 2017 and 2018, with employment projected to grow another 220 percent in 2019. This makes the canna-business the fastest-growing sector in the United States. From high-ranking managers to entry-level weed nerds, job opportunities are plentiful. Which one’s for you? Take a look.

Related: The Bright Future of Cannabis Retail

Dispensary Manager and Budtender

The first cannabis jobs that come to mind, and for good reason, are dispensary manager and budtender. These are two of the most in-demand jobs in legal weed. With the industry growing 28 percent annually and projected to reach a value of $146 billion by 2025, there’s intense need for people who are knowledgeable about cannabis. For years, dispensary staff have been in such high demand that only about half of those hired have formal training, and businesses are struggling to staff up. Prospective employees armed with some business experience and knowledge of the plant’s medicinal benefits have a good chance of landing these jobs.

Related: Survey Finds Dispensary Staff Are Well Trained for Sales but Not for Medical Advice

Lab Technician

One of the most significant advantages to legalizing cannabis is the ability to regulate its quality. That means lab testing for pesticides, contaminants, THC levels, and more. In most states, companies must have their legal weed tested by a third-party facility before it’s sold in a dispensary, creating the need for a lab-testing industry so as not to cause bottlenecks. The technician jobs require knowledge about how cannabis works: Are there contaminants in the product? What levels of THC and CBD, and which terpenes, should a sample have? The job also means working with chemical solvents and high-tech equipment.

Related: Pesticide Contamination Is a Growing Cannabis Safety Concern

Brand Ambassador

There are many ways to work in the cannabis business without touching the plant. Like companies in any other sector, green entrepreneurs need to promote their products and build a client base. But it’s not quite business as usual yet for cannabis because of all the regulations in traditional marketing and advertising channels targeted at this industry. Enter a brand ambassador, someone with a special human touch. Although the role will differ depending on the organization, the goal is to promote a company by connecting with potential customers at trade shows, in stores, and through social media. For good communicators, cannabis brand ambassador offers a great creative challenge.

Related: 9 Totally Normal Business Considerations That Are Completely Different in the Cannabis Industry

Director of Extraction

Vaping is the second-fastest-growing method of cannabis consumption, which is why concentrates are predicted to be worth $8.5 billion in 2022. As a result, businesses are expanding into extraction, the process by which you remove plant matter to obtain compounds in a concentrated oil form. It makes sense that “director of extraction” is one of the hottest cannabis positions right now. In simple terms, the job entails designing and running a laboratory, hiring staff, and overseeing quality control.


Those who are not afraid to get their hands dirty might want to consider becoming a trimmer, a person whose job is to prune cannabis plants without harming them. You have to understand the plant anatomy and the difference between strains. You also must have the ability to focus for extended periods of time: You are typically paid by weight—how much cannabis you trim in a day—and doing it well and thoroughly requires concentration. 

Related: Burgeoning Marijuana Industry Has a Growing Need for Scientists

Delivery Driver

Cannabis increasingly resembles any other kind of product when it comes to customer behavior. Many people, and especially those who use medical cannabis, want the convenience and anonymity of home delivery. Consequently, companies are looking for delivery drivers. Qualifying for the position involves more than having a car and a driver’s license. Like any employee of a dispensary, you are required to understand its menu and how medical cannabis can benefit people with specific conditions.

Compliance Manager

Because cannabis is subject to a raft of regulations, behind every legal product is a network of compliance experts, tracking software, and lots of paperwork. For all these reasons, one of the most sought-after applicants in the cannabis biz is a compliance manager, according to a report by the industry recruiting platform Vangst. This person’s job is to create compliance protocols for dispensary staff, keep track of inventory, and stay up-to-date with ever-evolving regulations and taxes. In California, Massachusetts, and many other legal states, laws can vary county to county and city to city. That doesn’t even account for regulatory changes that take place on the state level. For businesses in such a new and highly regulated industry as this, it’s a challenge just to follow the law and have the paperwork trail to prove it. A compliance manager never has to worry about being bored. In fact, none of these jobs is your same-old 9-to-5. So apply now! 

Related: From Fighting Terrorists in Syria to Delivering Sativa in Michigan

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