By Luke Sholl

There's never been a better time to translate your passion for cannabis into a job that you love, instead of one that merely pays the bills. The legal cannabis industry is growing at a rapid pace, and that pace is only expected to accelerate as sensible legal reform continues to spread. By 2027, legal marijuana sales are expected to reach $57 billion dollars. At that time, North American customers are forecast to be the largest customer base, with the rest of the world quickly catching up.

Businesses of all sizes are ramping up so that they can claim their share of the market, but they can't do that without qualified workers. The total number of cannabis-related jobs grew by 690% between January 1, 2017 and August 1, 2018, with pay increasing by 16.1%. By 2021, forecasters expect more than 400,000 people to be employed within the legal cannabis industry.

Experience and knowledge can help you get a job in the cannabis industry, but it's no longer a requirement. The demand for motivated employees is so high that cannabis companies have no choice but to provide on-the-job training to their new candidates if they have any hope of filling all their open positions. Plus, they also need people who don't work directly with marijuana plants. Business skills like accounting, customer service, marketing, and programming are also high on the recruitment list.



Cannabis jobs don't involve some big secret club designed to keep you out. Traditional job search methods will still work. If you live in an area where either medical or recreational cannabis is legal, scan the classifieds, online job boards, and keep an eye out for help wanted signs. You might even get a job by walking into a business that interests you and asking for an application.

Job boards will have a lot of opportunities too. There are several sites that are cannabis-specific, but employers who are looking to hire a lot of people may also list on general recruitment sites. Recruiters, as well as staffing agencies, are also on the hunt for new talent. If you're not sure exactly what type of job you'd like, working as a temp can help you narrow down the positions you'd enjoy most.

Search Cannabis Job


While you're looking for your dream job, take the time to learn as much as you can about cannabis, the local laws, and the companies you'd most like to work for. Even if you're not an expert or even a consumer, this will show your prospective employer that you're motivated and making a real investment in this career choice.

Plus, this is one of the most regulated industries in the world. If you apply for any job that requires you to make decisions that could put a business at risk, the interviewer will be more likely to hire you if they feel you know what's acceptable and what's not in the eyes of the law. This applies to positions at all levels, from budtenders to advertising executives.


Like any industry, getting a job with a cannabis company can come down to who you know, instead of what you know. Be friendly but professional whether you're visiting a local dispensary, a cannabis festival, or a regional trade show. Don't be pushy, but let it be known that you're very interested in breaking into the field. Not only will you learn where job postings are most likely to show up first, either online or off, but a new contact may give you a call the next time they either have or hear about an opening. Besides, it never hurts to know who the industry insiders are in any profession.

If it's not possible for you to network in person, follow the companies you'd most like to work for on social media. They'll sometimes list open positions and other functions online.


The cannabis industry is an emerging sector of our economy, and the companies involved are changing the way they operate even faster than they're growing. They'll need people who can readily adapt to evolving job roles and roll with the punches. This can give candidates who have worked for startups in the past an advantage over those with a corporate background. However, even corporations shake up their employees on a regular basis these days. Be prepared to give examples of how you've had to be flexible in a past job role during your interview.


If you are trying to get hired in an area where you must be registered or certified to be legally employed, take care of this before you apply for a job. For example, anyone who works with marijuana in Nevada must have a state-issued agent card. Applicants go through a thorough background check during the approval process. The card also specifies what type of work the holder can do. For example, trimmers must work on the cultivation side of the industry while budtenders can only work in dispensaries.

Training Legal Cannabis Job



This is probably the lowest paid job you can find in the cannabis industry, but it's also the easiest one to get. However, it's not easy to do. Trimming, in case you've never done it, is hard work. Ask any grower, and 9 out of 10 will tell you it's their least favourite thing to do. This job does not require any experience. It can be seasonal in areas with big outdoor grows, and you may be expected to harvest and package in addition to trimming.

Due to the nature of the job, trimmers work on-site. The best places to find a trimming job are in legal states like California, Colorado, and Washington State, but Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland also employ trimmers.


In areas where it’s legal, customers can order dried buds, edibles, and concentrates online and have them delivered like pizza. The delivery driver makes that possible. This position requires a good driving record and a dependable vehicle if one isn't supplied for you. In urban areas, the delivery person may ride a bike like a courier. This is an entry-level position. Experience with cannabis is a plus, but not a strict requirement. The ability to use a GPS effectively, follow directions, and be reliable are much more important.

By definition, a delivery driver must work close to the product and customers, but this worker will be out and about for most of the day. California and Washington DC are great places to look for delivery jobs. Both areas have thriving cannabis delivery services.

3. BUDTENDERS: $32,000–$42,000 PER YEAR

Budtenders are more than counter and cashier staff. They listen to the customer's needs and help them choose the right herb. If needed, they also educate consumers about why one type of cannabis is “better” than another in specific cases. Budtenders often help their customers find new ways to use cannabis and recommend other products. They are some of the most knowledgeable workers in the cannabis industry, and the most experienced can often pick and choose where they will work.

This is another on-site job. Budtenders work in dispensaries and are the face of the industry. It's a popular job choice, especially in places like California, Oregon, Colorado, Michigan, and other states where cannabis is frequently used for medical reasons. As legalization spreads, more budtender jobs will open up.


Cannabis businesses of all types need a healthy online presence to thrive. It reassures the public that the business is legitimate and helps build the brand. Website managers, social media managers, and email managers create an above-board image while content writers and editors educate customers about the business itself and cannabis in general. A background in digital marketing, graphic design, website design, and copywriting are required.

This type of job allows you to work remotely while living in any part of the world, even an area where cannabis is totally illegal. Established brands have the biggest budgets for their websites, but there will be less competition for positions with a startup.

Cannabis Website Job


Edibles are incredibly popular whether you're talking about infused candy, baked goods, or cannabis-infused drinks. And someone has to make them! Job requirements include a background in food safety and, sometimes, culinary school. Independent chefs and edibles artisans who work for established brands make the most money, while those who work for small, fledgling companies make less.

As long as you can obtain cannabis isolates or extracts, you can make medibles anywhere that it's legal to do so. Your kitchen does not need to be near the grow site or a dispensary. In fact, due to health codes, it probably shouldn't be. Edibles are very popular in states where medical marijuana has been legal for a long time, like California and Colorado, so those are the best places to start your job search. They're slowly catching on in other areas.

6. COMPLIANCE MANAGER: $45,000–$149,000 PER YEAR

If you're not hip enough to get in with an actual cannabis business, get a compliance manager job with the regulatory board. It'll be your responsibility to make sure every business in your district complies with all regulations that are in effect at any given time. You'll get to know plenty of industry insiders and learn quite a bit about cannabis and the legal system.

Requirements include some form of legal background and, in most cases, a college degree. Job opportunities will be found in states or countries that have a robust legal cannabis industry with a high level of government oversight.


If you can make beautifully clear shatter, your skills could equate to a very nice salary as the director of extraction for a big cannabis processor. Your job will be to manage lower-level extract technicians, maintain quality and compliance, and develop better ways to make dabs, budders, waxes, and the like. Working for a smaller company will give you more control over your job with a lower average paycheck, while jobs with larger enterprises may mean more oversight and reporting requirements in exchange for higher compensation.

Extracts have been around for centuries in the form of hash, but Colorado has turned extraction into an artform. Today, skilled craftsman are in as high demand as their products around the globe. Look in areas where cannabis is legal for this type of career option.

8. DISPENSARY MANAGER: $60,000–$150,000 PER YEAR

A dispensary manager is responsible for maintaining stock levels, ensuring buds are fresh, training and scheduling workers, and all other day-to-day activities at the dispensary. They must also make sure the dispensary operates within legal boundaries. Highly qualified shop managers from other retail sectors may be able to get a job at a dispensary with only basic knowledge of cannabis, but owners often promote their best budtenders to this position.

Being a dispensary manager is an on-site job that's usually found in legal states where dispensaries are allowed to operate.



Growing cannabis is no longer delegated to an underground network of outlaws. It's now a legitimate career choice that can be very lucrative. If you grow for a company, you can make a handsome salary, but not nearly as much as if you become an independent grower. The total amount you can net per year also depends on the laws where you operate. Some places limit the amount that a single person can grow and sell, or even who they can sell it to. Some places also control prices.

Growers also work on-site. The best places for growers to work are California, Colorado, Oregon, Michigan, Canada, Spain, and Uruguay. In-depth knowledge of cannabis, expert growing skills, and the ability to troubleshoot common problems are strict requirements.


If you have the money to start a dispensary, there's virtually no limit to how much you can make in exchange for dealing with all the licencing and legal hassles that come along with it. At this level, the job is less about cannabis and more about all the management tasks that come with running any medium-to-large business, but it does come with one of the highest potential salaries in the industry. Of course, it also comes with the most risk.

A smart dispensary owner ensures they can visit their facilities on a regular basis, but knows it isn’t necessary to spend every waking hour on-site, especially with a competent and loyal staff. The dispensary itself must be located in a state or country where it's legal to operate.


In the past decade, the cannabis industry has exploded, and new job opportunities seem endless. This is the time to get in on the ground floor with rapidly evolving companies to become a valued expert in this field, even if you know very little at this time. Develop your skills, be creative with your applications, and it could pay off with a lucrative new job working in a field that you love!

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