Features // April 12, 2021 // Annie Gallo

How Do I Get A Job In the Cannabis Industry?

How Do I Get A Job In the Cannabis Industry?

As cannabis legalizes in more and more states, and legitimate systems are put into place for legal sales, there are jobs becoming available in many areas of the industry.Virginia lawmakers recently signed legislation that will legalize the sale and consumption of cannabis for adults 21 and older in 2024.  Some lawmakers are pushing for Governor Ralph Northam to add an amendment that would move the start date for retail up to July 1, 2021This means there are about to be an abundance of opportunities for anyone looking to get into the cannabis industry in the DMV.

What Kind of Jobs Are Available?

Because the legalized cannabis industry is relatively new to the East Coast, many companies in Virginia don't expect applicants to have much or any experience in the industry. The medicinal and recreational marijuana industries are booming, and a lot of help is needed for companies and shops getting started. Seemingly opportunities exist for the community — and no, employees do not need to consume to work in the business. People with charges and criminal records related to cannabis are sometimes given priority for work in the cannabis industry. Members of the cannabis community understand how hard it can be to find a job just with a simple possession charge. GLeaf is a cannabis medical dispensary in Richmond, VA. They told Urban Aroma they do not restrict anyone from working with them based on any sort of criminal history, cannabis or otherwise. However, GLeaf states that the Virginia Board of Pharmacy restricts dispensaries from hiring someone with a felony conviction, regardless of the circumstance. Cannabis brands need to have unique, eye-catching creative materials to capture the audience they want. Creative folks can help with this: anyone who's artistic, tech savvy, and has design skills has the opportunity to get work creating labels, logos, or designing promotional materials for new companies. Anyone with photography skills or an interest in learning is in luck, as companies are often looking for professional photos to showcase their products. iPhone and other smartphone cameras are so high-tech in 2021 that photographers do not need to have a $1,000 equipment setup to shoot content and make money. Bloggers and product reviewers are employed by websites (including us!) to help share news, educate, and provide honest reviews about products. Marketing and public relations jobs are available, as companies need help getting their name known in the community and industry. Every brand wants to make it into High Times and be known by celebrities, but to get there it takes a team of people with marketing skills. Budtenders are important workers in weed, serving bud up at dispensaries. In order to be a budtender, you need to be fairly knowledgeable about cannabis, with good customer service skills and experience. If you have a good driving record and a valid driver's license, you can apply for delivery positions with cannabis shops. There are also plenty of opportunities in the cannabis industry for science lovers: pharmacy technicians, extraction experts, and lab technicians at cannabis analysis labs that test for potency, pesticides and more. Growers, trimmers, harvesters, packagers, edibles makers and more will be needed for new cannabis brands. The sky's the limit when it comes to working in weed!


To stay updated on jobs in the field, and apply for open positions in the cannabis industry, here are a few resources:

What Does a Cannabis Job Pay?

The pay for entry-level positions in the cannabis industry can range from $15 to $25 an hour. Salaried pay is available for some job positions.  The multi-million dollar cannabis industry is growing across America as more and more states like Virginia get into the market. Virginia will lead the way for the South, as the first Southern state that has voted to legalize marijuana for adults, joining 15 other states and the District of Columbia.

Tips on How to Work in Weed

I have worked with cannabis brands and blogs as a writer, public relations consultant, photography, and social media manager in DC and Los Angeles. The main advice I have is to start getting connected to people in the cannabis industry. Build a portfolio, and make a resume tailored for cannabis jobs with skills and related experience. Instagram has been a great way for me to connect with influencers and brands both big and small. I recommend that anyone trying to get into the cannabis industry make a 420-friendly account.  Most members of the 420 community and industry members on Instagram are nice, welcoming, and helpful. I've found some great friends and mentors in the industry through the app and have been able to help others as well.