How To Get Your Start in the Cannabis Industry

I’m Sun Lee, the Recruiting Manager here at GreenForce. One of the most common questions job seekers have for me is this: How can I get a job without having cannabis experience? 

There are a variety of jobs in the cannabis industry, which makes answering this question tricky. Many jobs exist that do not require any previous cannabis experience, such as packaging, labeling, and sanitation. These entry-level positions are the perfect place to get your foot in the door. There are other jobs such as accounting, sales, operations and project management, where skills from one industry can translate well into the cannabis industry. Then there are jobs that nearly always require some experience within the cannabis industry, such as cultivation or budtending. I’m not saying that it’s not possible to get a job in cultivation or in a dispensary without experience, but it is usually very difficult. 

I always make sure to tell candidates that have questions about transitioning careers and entering the cannabis world for the first time, is that one of the key factors in your career success is networking and building relationships. Like many other industries the more people you meet and build a rapport with the easier it is to move around the landscape. When you think about it, because cannabis was in the dark for so long, many relationships were built on trust and I still find that to be true in the recreational marketplace. 

I recommend that all candidates work on their resume. This is generally a company’s first impression of you. Do not forget to list your relevant skills and where you have worked. Double-check your resume for typos. List soft skills and hard skills. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen resumes that don’t list jobs or skills. I’ve also seen people forget to include their contact info or provide old contact information. Make sure all of the information is up to date.

When applying for a job, be sure to read the job description carefully and make sure that you meet all of the requirements. For example, I will list a budtender position for a client that requires a particular POS experience or previous experience working at a dispensary. I would say that nearly 50% of the applicants will not have any dispensary experience. Requirements are requirements and if an applicant does not have all of them they will not be called in for the job. 

If you are scheduled for an interview, be on time, aim to arrive 10 minutes early, because you never know what the parking situation or traffic might be that day. Being late to an interview is not the first impression you want to give. If you are running behind, communicate with the employer. If you are canceling an interview, just notify the employer. You never know when you might be applying to that company in the future and most employers will keep notes on all applicants.

For executive and mid-level management candidates wanting to transition from their current industry to the cannabis industry, I recommend a lot of patience. The industry is growing rapidly and many companies are trying to figure out what types of positions they need and if they can afford the salary. As companies grow larger, more and more opportunities will occur for people to transition. The cannabis industry needs people with upper-level management skills, it’s just taking some time in Oregon for companies to increase their revenue to start being able to afford the salaries professionals are worth. 

I hope this sheds some insight into getting a job within the cannabis industry. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!