The legal cannabis market is expanding fast. The industry took in $9 billion in sales in 2017. It’s projected that it will generate $11 billion in 2018 and climb as high as $21 billion by 2021.
Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in nine states and has been approved for medical use in another 30. In fact, after legislation concerning the medical use of CBD is factored in, only four states have no legislation that eases restrictions around marijuana use.
California legalized the sale of recreational cannabis starting January 1 of this year. This is a huge market; the state’s population is nearly 40 million, the most-populous state in the country. This change alone is likely to usher in a ton of expansion for the industry.
For these reasons, it’s an exciting time to break into the legal marijuana job market, and you don’t have to be a grower or a dispensary owner to do it. There are myriad jobs in the industry, some of which you’ve probably never even heard of until now.
It’s an exciting time to break into the legal marijuana job market, and you don’t have to be a grower or a dispensary owner to do it. There are myriad jobs in the industry, some of which you’ve probably never even heard of...until now.
1. Extraction Technician
Marijuana doesn’t just come in plant form. These days, extracts are very popular. They’re also the only form in which cannabis is legal in some places, such as the state of New York. But they can account for as much as 40 percent of sales in some stores that offer other options too. Machines do the actual extraction. But a person with relevant knowledge and experience (and usually a PhD) is required to assure consistency and quality. Extraction technicians reportedly earn between $75,000 and $125,000 annually.
2. Delivery Driver
The sale of legal cannabis is not always limited to dispensaries. Some states, like Colorado, also allow for delivery services. These workers should possess a clean driving record and a friendly personality. It’s also important to have a vehicle that you can use to make deliveries. Although some companies do provide delivery vehicles to their drivers.
3. Edible Creator
There is a high demand for edibles within the marijuana market. These product-infused foods have to be made carefully and according to regulations. But, the work done by edible creators can be quite lucrative if done well. All kinds of edible products are available these days, from candy to soda to coffee. If you love to create delicious food, this could be an interesting career path to consider.
4. Web designer/developer
All businesses need websites, and many new companies will open their doors this year. In California, for example, where legal marijuana is just getting started, a lot of businesses will be looking for help from web designers. If you have the relevant experience, this might be a great time to search for job opportunities doing web development in the legal marijuana industry.
5. Bud Trimmer
The job of bud trimmer is a bit tedious and not exactly glamorous, but it’s critical to the recreation cannabis industry nonetheless. These workers clean the product, carefully cutting away without wasting any useful part of the plant. Bud trimmers are reportedly paid $12-$13 an hour. Other workers are paid by the pound. Working one of these jobs is a great way to get into the legal cannabis on the ground floor.
6. Sales Representative
The legal cannabis industry needs sales reps just like any other industry, and there is the potential for talented professionals to earn a great living doing this kind of work. Cannabis sales representatives are responsible for helping to forge relationships between growers and dispensaries. It’s important that they have a good understanding of the industry, and of the specific businesses and clients they are working with, in order to get the job done.
7. Board member
Former House speaker John Boehner made news earlier this month when it was announced that he would join the board of the rapidly expanding cannabis company Acreage Holdings.
“I’m joining the board of #AcreageHoldings because my thinking on cannabis has evolved. I’m convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities,” Boehner tweeted following the announcement.
Boehner’s career shift helps to illustrate the vast opportunities that are available for work in this industry, and experience with cannabis specifically isn’t required in order to land those jobs. Those with a background in business, marketing, finance, or sales, for example, could transition those skills to this industry. The market is expanding quickly, and there are all kinds of different ways to get involved.
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