GrassDoor Tips for a Career in Cannabis

by Zane Foley
Employee takes phone order

The gold rush is back! If you live in California or spent some time here partaking in all the golden state has to offer cannabis enthusiasts, chances are you’ve sparked up this conversation. As more and more cities across California position themselves to proliferate cannabis into their economies, this means an amazing prospect of, you guessed it, more jobs. 

For many of us, securing a career or a steady gig in the cannabis industry is our dream job. And no, it’s not for the free product or to be a test dummy for new strains, it’s because we are passionate about something that has impacted our lives in a positive way. We know first hand the power and benefits of cannabis. It’s cerebral, medical, spiritual, agricultural and business rolled up into the perfect concoction of rewards and challenges. So we at GrassDoor, want to help you understand those key components you must have as an individual  to landing a job in cannabis. We grabbed some key insights from Karson Humiston, founder and CEO of Vangst; the number one recruiting platform in cannabis, and added some of our own philosophy, so you’ll gain a better understanding of how you should approach landing your dream cannabis job. 

Do-It-Yourself Mentality: 

One thing that has pervaded throughout cannabis is the do-it-yourself mentality. For decades and even centuries, marijuana activists and businesses had to find their own ways to operate. That means our CEOs, our leaders, and all the people who’ve substantiated a business or product in cannabis have done so with an extremely healthy drive of self-determinacy. You cannot go into any cannabis situation believing you’re going to just be “plugged in” and have everything written out for you. You’re going to have to think for yourself and figure out ways to get your foot in the door. That’s exactly what you’re doing reading this article. Now keep it up. Investigate some websites and send some emails along with your resume. Go to events, shake hands, meet people. Be your own leader, water your own seeds and watch the yield grow.

Understanding the Industry: 

It’s not easy being on the outside looking in. And just because you are a cannabis consumer and enthusiast doesn’t mean you necessarily know the industry. Knowing the industry means understanding the different sectors of the market and those pillars that hold up the cannabis industry. Do you want to work in the service part of the industry? Maybe you want to go into product development or want to go into licensing and distribution? Each of the aspects of the industry all present their own unique set of challenges and rewards. Take some time to consider which aspect of cannabis you are most interested in and passionate about. Understand there are key legal and capital challenges to each one that you should be prepared to undertake. That being said, the industry is always changing. So be prepared to be a life-long learner in this respect. 

Passion is the lock, but skills are the Key: 

Everyone wants to prove their passion and allegiance to cannabis, so much so sometimes we forget that skills are necessary to really make an impact. This is the part where you imagine yourself sitting across your new potential boss at the interview. The employer asks you why they should hire you and all you have to say is how much you love marijuana? No, you want to be equipped with the tools and skills that prove you can make a real impact on the team. Figure out what aspects of cannabis your passion lies. If it’s business, content creation, marketing, production, cultivation, etc., sharpen these tools until you feel like you’re the best at what you do. This again goes into the do-it-yourself mentality and knowing the industry. Everything is about empowering yourself so that you can then use those skills to empower others. Sound familiar? Sounds like cannabis. 

More Hats than One

Just like most careers or jobs you want to grow and spread your wings. Sometimes this means diving deeper into your arena and sometimes it means wearing a completely different hat than your job description. In a lot of jobs also, this can be a real bummer. But in cannabis it’s basically a requirement. Yeah, the gold rush is back, but so is the wild west. With so much changing and many of these companies coming from grassroots and humble means, HR departments, let alone clear staff duties are seldom completely development. But this is also a very beautiful thing. Most of cannabis companies are family run businesses who are at the cutting edge of an emerging industry. It’s estimated that the majority of cannabis companies have fewer than 50 employees. You’ll learn more about yourself and what you’re capable of and contribute in ways you have never imagined. So go in understanding you that an environment of change is also an environment of opportunity. 

Take Work Seriously 

Working in the cannabis industry means you’re constantly going to have to be conscious of your actions. While it may be challenging to get hired in the cannabis industry, being let go or fired isn’t very difficult. You might be in the cultivation room, a nug could fall on the floor, by law it has to be thrown away but you pick it up and put it in your pocket. It’s just a tiny snap, you think to yourself. Then the next day, the manager is at your house explaining to your wife why the company has to let you go. [True story, by the way.] You represent something larger than yousel now. Your company and the industry as a whole are constantly being debased by entities hoping to shrink cannabis. Not to mention the competition you will face every stop of the way. You have to stand out, and in the best ways possible. Just because something like marijuana brings you great joy, doesn’t mean it isn’t a job. Take it seriously. 

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