With medical marijuana now legal in well over one half of the U.S. and cannabis staffing plan use allowed in nine states (and counting), cannabis companies are striving to fill a rush of new jobs in the industry-an estimated 340,000 of these nationwide by 2020.
Contemplating an occupation change? Think about this: In older, more established businesses, you may have noticed, an absence of industry-specific experience can land your resume in the circular file pretty quickly. Not too in the marijuana trade, a business growing so fast that “there just aren’t enough people who have direct experience, so we need to bring individuals from outside,” says Karson Humiston, founder and CEO of cannabis recruiters Vangst in Denver. “We do not have choice.”
Moreover, since the cannabis industry gets bigger, the kinds of talent employers want is evolving. “A shrinking percentage of newly created jobs now require you to deal directly with the [marijuana] plant,” notes Morgan Fox, a spokesman for that 1,500-member trade group National Cannabis Industry Association. “Finance managers, marketing and branding experts, HR professionals-cannabis companies are hiring people with the same backgrounds as any other business.”
So how do you get in on all this growth? Here are four ways to get a job in the cannabis industry:
It’s worth speaking with marijuana-industry recruiters. Two that have been round the longest (since 2015 and 2014, respectively) are Vangst and San Francisco-based THC Staffing Group. Having said that that, as marijuana legalization spreads, all types of job boards as well as other help-wanted venues now post cannabis companies’ job openings, too. “We do post on job boards, and we provide an active employee-referral program,” says Christine Hodgdon, who was v . p . of human resources in a Denver-area oil-and-gas wgmgti before Vangst tapped her this past year on her behalf current role as HR chief at Native Roots Colorado. “We also hire some walk-ins-individuals who just enter in to our dispensaries and inquire the best way to apply.”
A lot more than in most other fields, constructing a network of relationships with cannabis industry insiders helps, and the number of local and regional networking events, easily Googled, is proliferating. Beyond that, experts recommend signing up, if at all possible, to a minumum of one of four big cannabis conferences, all coming up soon: Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo in La in September as well as in Boston per month later; the NCIA California Business Expo in Anaheim in October; and the Marijuana Business Daily‘s trade show in Vegas in November. Can’t escape to attend any one of these? “If you follow specific cannabis companies on social media marketing, you’ll often find job postings and networking events popping up,” says Christine Hodgdon. “Maybe since these are all young enterprises, they are generally far more active online than many bigger, more established businesses.”