5 Ways to Break Into a Cannabis Career

Jan 12, 2022 | Blog, News

According to the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report, legal cannabis now supports 321,000 full-time American jobs. Since 2017, the industry has averaged 27.5 percent employment growth each year, outpacing all other industries. Within the cannabis space, there are jobs in cultivation, manufacturing, retail, regulation, marketing, law, and more. Here are some tips from Oaksterdam University on breaking into the cannabis industry:

Use Proper Terminology

As the industry strives for legitimacy and federal legalization, using proper terminology shows you’re approaching cannabis in a professional manner.

  • Do use ‘cannabis.’ Don’t use ‘marijuana,’ ‘weed,’ or ‘pot.’
  • Do use ‘commercial,’ ‘retail,’ ‘legal,’ ‘permitted,’ or ‘adult use.’ Don’t use ‘recreational.’
  • Do use ‘Illicit,’ ‘illegal,’ or ‘legacy market.’ Don’t use ‘black market.’

Seek Entry-Level Jobs

If you like serving customers, budtending at a dispensary is a great place to learn about products, ingestion methods, and customer service. If you’ve got a green thumb, a job as a cultivation assistant will give you hands-on access to plants. If science is your jam, look for a position as a technician assistant in a cannabis lab, where you’ll play a role in extracting THC and CBD to manufacture a wide array of products. Once you get your foot in the door you can soak up the knowledge you need to grow. 

Get Certified

As legalization expands, traditional colleges and universities are introducing cannabis curricula. There are also numerous schools completely dedicated to cannabis. Oaksterdam University, America’s first cannabis college, offers certification programs in Horticulture, Business, Commercial Extraction and Manufacturing, and Budtending, with certifications respected industry-wide. Investing time and money in your cannabis education shows potential employers you’re serious about a career in the field. 

Build A Network

Get to know others in the cannabis space by networking in person and online. Join cannabis-related Clubhouse rooms, follow cannabis influencers, and sign up for industry newsletters. Attend trade shows like MJBizCon and G4 Live. Get involved with organizations like the National Cannabis Industry Association or Women Empowered in Cannabis. Link up with social justice groups like 40Tons, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, and the Last Prisoner Project.  These aren’t just resume builders, they’ll keep you in the know.  

Find Your ‘Why’

During job interviews, you’ll likely be asked why you want a career in cannabis. Study the failed War on Drugs to understand how prohibition has contributed to the disproportionate incarceration of people of color. Understand the history of the cannabis reform movement and the pioneers who fought for patients to have safe, legal access to the plant. Learn about the medicinal benefits of cannabis and how studies show it’s a safe alternative to opioids that helps people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, pain management, and more. Arming yourself with knowledge will allow you to give prospective employers a much better answer than “I like to get high.”

Visit Oaksterdam University’s Job Board for the latest listings in the industry.