Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Year over year, there’s been a 445 percent increase in job listings in marijuana, making it the fastest growing job category in the U.S., ZipRecruiter.com Co-founder and CEO Ian Siegel said at a U.S. News & World Report conference this year.
Professionals from across industries are eager to explore opportunities in cannabis although some are hesitant to enter a new industry where the blurred lines of what is and isn’t legal leave room for questions. With cannabis only recently becoming legal — California legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons in 1996, and Colorado and Washington legalized its recreational use in 2012 — there are still uncertainties surrounding this multi-billion dollar market.
So what’s it really like to have a job in the marijuana industry? Here are some of the most common myths and biggest misconceptions people have about jobs in cannabis, and the realities that lie behind them.
1. Working in Cannabis Is Illegal
While marijuana is illegal on the federal level, employees who hold jobs in the cannabis industry are protected as long as two requirements are met: the state must first legalize marijuana and/or CBD for either medical or recreational purposes, and secondly, the business in operation must obtain a license.
That said, employees may find themselves facing other hurdles due to the unique interplay of federal and state laws. For example, the Department of Labor is not involved in the marijuana and CBD industry, which means that there aren’t clear federal protections given to the workers in this particular field. This means that the responsibility often falls on job seekers and potential employees to ensure that the company they’re interested in working for has a history of treating their employees well, and is honest and forthright.
2. People Who Work in Cannabis Can Smoke All They Want
Similar to the misconception that working in wine means having the opportunity to drink endless amounts of it, working in cannabis is similarly misleading to some job seekers. For some, a job in cannabis comes with the mistaken belief that working in the field means an opportunity to smoke unlimited amounts of marijuana. The reality is that most states have laws dictating that those who work in the marijuana industry be felony free. In order to protect themselves, many businesses take this one step further, refusing to hire anyone with a misdemeanor or drug-related blemish on their record. And while this is certainly not true of every dispensary, potential employees often fare better when they don’t lead an interview by discussing their own enjoyment of cannabis (especially if any of it happened before legalization).
3. You Must Have Prior Industry Experience to Land a Job in Cannabis
One of the most exciting things about the marijuana and CBD industry is that it’s new. For example, Florida (which legalized medical marijuana in 2016) is predicting that they will see $456 million in sales by the end of 2018 and 25,000 new job openings by 2022. This kind of rapid growth makes the industry feel like one giant startup.
It also means that employers are incredibly open to hiring those who have no prior experience working in the cannabis industry. There are dozens of degrees and career paths that make potential employees excellent candidates for these jobs — from accountants to marketers, to those with degrees in sciences like biology or pharmacology, or those who have years of customer service have a great shot at finding a place in the workforce.
And bonus? Jobs in cannabis pay well, too, for both hourly and salaried employees. At the minimum, a Master Grower can make $100,000 annually as well as a percentage of the profits, Forbes reports. Store Managers also do well — making at minimum $75,000 annually — especially in profitable stores. The ‘green rush’ is already gaining momentum among professionals looking to cash in on cannabis — or should we say, cash crop?