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These Are the Top 5 Most In-Demand Cannabis Jobs for 2021

Polish up your resumes. The industry is hiring in droves.

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As we head into a new year—amidst a global pandemic, no less— hundreds of thousands of American citizens are unemployed nationwide. But legal cannabis businesses, from seed-to-sale, ancillary to multi-state operators, are still hiring in droves. The industry is poised to be the largest creator of jobs over the next decade, driving a workforce mobilization not seen since World War II.

Lealnard Riengkaew | EyeEm | Getty Images

Operating on the frontlines of this hiring blitz, we see opportunities and trends continue to crop up. Here is a countdown of five jobs that will be of the utmost importance in 2021.

Related: Cannabis Is America's Fastest-Growing Sector, Adding 33,700 Jobs Last Year

5. General Manager

General Managers function as the adult in the room. They're responsible for overseeing entire facility operations, systems, processes, and onboarding training. Ultimately, they drive profitability. People with backgrounds in manufacturing or warehouse environments are often well-suited to this kind of position, having dealt with rapid buildouts and scaling, and maintaining a healthy balance between being a collaborative colleague and an effective leader.

4. Compliance / Infrastructure Operations

Over the last five years, the cannabis industry has matured tremendously. With that growth comes the need for diligent oversight on accounting, supply chain analytics, inventory management, and compliance. The industry has developed and refined a methodology for operating businesses with an eye for profitability. While margins can be thin, and federal hindrances, like 280e, are still at play, the importance of having dedicated experts overseeing the details behind running a retail or cultivation site is crucial.

3. Human Resources 

The cannabis industry is set to create more jobs than any other industry over the next decade. Companies in the space are scaling at warp speed and need their workforce to grow alongside them. Both talent development and HR play vital roles in cannabis. Leaders in these fields should be prepared to get creative with their approach to finding talent, considering most applicants do not have past cannabis experience. They also must actively hunt down the best possible solutions for things like payroll and benefits providers, banking, and taxes.

2. Retail

The great thing about cannabis retail is it's not limited by seasonal shopping habits like other mainstream industries. While employment has dipped in traditional retail and hospitality spaces due to Covid-19, cannabis dispensaries remain strong, even needing to hire more talent to keep up with demand. Staffing numbers can range anywhere between 15-100 employees, depending on the space's size and needs. This role is not for everyone, though; it's about more than just "loving the products." Employees need to be curious, educated and informed to answer customer questions and provide a comfortable shopping experience. Retail roles require a passion for the plant, good people skills, and a willingness to educate.

1. Cultivation

The most in-demand cannabis job for 2021 is surely going to be cultivation. This is the heart of the industry, the start of the supply chain, the ground floor of it all. Cultivation facilities range in size and dynamics, but as the industry grows and expands, so will these areas of production in order to keep up. In a legal state, you don’t have to travel far to find a grow, as they often exist in rural areas and in the heart of major cities. While cultivating cannabis is challenging, with the right training, management, and oversight, it’s a great role for anyone with a green thumb, enjoys who enjoys connecting with nature and being on their feet.