Quick Hit: How to Start Working in the Cannabis Industry

get into the cannabis industry

The secret is out… The cannabis industry is a hot market for job seekers. Leafly found that there were 321,000 full-time cannabis jobs at the start of 2021.

And this number will keep growing with time. As legalization expands and new cannabis markets come aboard, even more industry jobs will arise.

The hardest part of working in cannabis isn’t finding opportunities, it’s getting started. Because it’s still a growing industry, and job demand is high, many people have trouble entering into the legal cannabis space.

Here’s some tips to get started in the cannabis industry.

General advice

Applying for a job at a cannabis business requires the same fundamental steps as any other job. You need basic qualifications, an up-to-date resume, and you should actively network with others in the space.

cannabis job networking

Think about what you can bring to the table. How can your prior work experience transfer to a dispensary?

  • Restaurants: You’re probably good at interacting with people. Budtenders need to be skilled in the art of communication and customer service.

  • Retail: You have an understanding of stocking, selling, and building customer relationships — all of these are important in daily dispensary workflows.

  • Pizza delivery: You have a clean driving record and understand efficiency in getting from point A to point B. Cannabis delivery drivers are rapidly growing as states allow for delivery.

  • Management: You’ll know how to create schedules, hire/train/motivate new employees, and handle customer complaints — all of which lend themselves to being a dispensary manager.

  • Greenhouse/Horticulture: If you know plants and pest management, you could be a great fit for cannabis cultivation jobs.

Don’t expect to walk into your local marijuana shop and get hired. It takes some work!

In many states, it requires paperwork and background checks. While each state calls it something different, most have a specific badge, license, or worker permit specifically for the cannabis industry.

Dispensary job seekers: Get badged in your state before applying for cannabis jobs!

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If your state requires something like this, complete this step BEFORE applying for jobs. Not sure about your state? Vangst has a tool to help you understand the requirements.

How to find cannabis dispensary jobs

There are plenty of places to look for jobs in the cannabis industry:

  • Vangst: This staffing site allows you to search for cannabis job postings, build your industry network, and join the conversation with thousands of other cannabis pros — all for free when you join the Vangst Network.

  • FlowerHire: Get connected to cannabis employers and even take a quiz to find out if working in cannabis is right for you!

  • Indeed: While this isn’t a cannabis-only website, brands do post job openings there, including dispensary manager, grower, and trimmer positions.. Just search for cannabis and add your location to find jobs near you.

  • Glassdoor: This is another site that is not exclusive to cannabis, but still has a lot of postings in the marijuana industry on their job board.

  • Instagram / LinkedIn: Look out for cannabis job postings on social media networks. Follow brands you would like to work for on both Instagram and LinkedIn, then jump on opportunities as they are posted and promoted.

Dispensary interview preparation

Once you begin your cannabis job search, you should spend some time preparing for your upcoming job interviews — regardless if it's for an entry-level or more senior position.

cannabis industry professional

Here are some tips to help you prepare to get your cannabis dream job:

  • Take time to familiarize yourself with cannabis terminology. This industry is filled with unique slang and terms. If you don’t understand them, you’ll be left behind.

  • Look into average salaries and responsibilities for the roles you’re applying for. It’s important to set realistic expectations before committing to any job.

The cannabis industry is not one big smoke sesh. You are expected to be sober, on time, and ready to work whenever you’re on the clock. A common misconception about working in cannabis is that you sit around getting high all day. This is not the case. Cannabis is a highly regulated, professional industry.

How to Become a Better Budtender

  • If you haven’t done so, start networking! One of the best places to start is on Linkedin. Get your profile set up, join groups related to cannabis and follow your favorite companies or influencers. Do some in-person networking if you are able to travel. Keep your eye out for cannabis career fairs. Or you can chat with your local shop and ask about tips for getting started. Check if they’re hiring!

  • Make sure you’re licensed in your state. Each legal market has different rules and requirements to work in cannabis.

  • Consume cannabis products! While this may not be a requirement for all roles, it helps to have a personal relationship with the plant and keep up with product innovation.

  • Learn about dispensary technology, particular point of sale providers. Being able to say you've used or understand the basic flow of dispensary POS softwares may help your chances of getting the gig. Get started by watching a demo of Flowhub.

flowhub cannabis jobs

Good luck!

Cannabis isn’t an easy industry to get into, but if you have a passion for the plant and a desire to join this rocketship, it’s worth the effort.

Even if you’re in a not-yet-legal state, you can start networking and building your knowledge set now.

Interested in working for Flowhub? Check out our careers page for available positions.

Nick Headshot

Nick Rudy

Nick joined Flowhub in January 2020 with a passion for cultivating a safe, legal cannabis community and supporting the industry as it grows. Nick advocates for the retail cannabis community through content and social media efforts.