Understanding the Law: Federal vs State Cannabis Legalization

While not all states have legalized recreational cannabis consumption, the multi-billion pot industry is still on an all-time high. The establishment of more cannabis dispensaries—and related businesses—have paved the way for more job opportunities. While the demand for weed, be it for medical or recreational consumption is steadily rising.

Undeniably, there’s still a bit of confusion regarding cannabis legalization. If you are a cannabis cultivator or an entrepreneur, it’s likely that you still have some apprehensions with respect to understanding the law.

And this may be because the authority that grants you the privilege to operate is based solely on state laws. Particularly, in selling, possessing, distributing and cultivating cannabis.

In this article, we will help you understand the Federal and State cannabis legalization laws. We will also discuss how these laws can affect you and how to protect yourself—so read on!

Federal Marijuana Laws

On a Federal level, mere possession, sale or distribution of cannabis is illegal. This is because cannabis is categorized as a Schedule I substance—declared to have a high potential for abuse and cannot be used for medical purposes. This means that whether for medical or recreational use, the current federal law declares marijuana—illegal.

Thus, even if you are residing in a state where the use or cultivation of marijuana is legal, like the State of Nevada, you can’t be too sure that you are not violating the Federal Marijuana Laws. However, so long as you are compliant with your state cannabis laws and do not engage in interstate commerce—you cannot be prosecuted.

It’s important to note, however, that some states legalized marijuana for medical purposes only and not for recreational consumption. There are also limitations with regards to how much you can possess or sell, where you can cultivate or consume it, how much THC content is allowed, and among others. So it’s best to check what is legal in your state.

To be safe, you may visit NORML.ORG to guide you about cannabis laws and penalties in your state. If you or someone you know is arrested for marijuana laws violation, you should employ the aid of the best criminal defense attorney Los Angeles. Consult a lawyer too if you need legal advice especially if you are a cultivator or operating a cannabis business.

Marijuana Laws by State

As mentioned above, several states have already legalized medical and recreational consumption of weed. However, each state has its own policies so you need to be careful and stay informed about what’s legal in your area.

To date, 11 states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana use. This includes the District of Columbia, and inhabited territories—Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

While 14 other states allowed recreational use but with limited THC content. On the other hand, 33 states legalized cannabis for medical use only and must be coupled with a doctor’s recommendation. Meanwhile, there are 15 states, which includes the US Virgin Islands, that decriminalized the use of cannabis.

For commercial distribution of cannabis, it is allowed for all states that legalized marijuana, except the District of Columbia and Vermont. For more detailed information about the legality of marijuana by US jurisdiction, check Wikipedia’s guide.

How the difference in State and Federal laws affect legal cannabis cultivators and how to protect yourself?

The difference between State and Federal laws had caused a tremendous impact on legal cannabis cultivators. If the conflict is not resolved, then, the economic growth of the cannabis cultivators will be hampered and they will have a hard time to comply with these different rules.

Tax Payment

Businesses in the cannabis industry do not have the incentives that other businesses enjoy.

This is because the US Tax Code prohibits marijuana businesses from deducting certain expenses. These include marketing, transportation, and training.


The use of marijuana for recreational purposes is allowed if done within the comfort of your own home. However, this cannot be true if you are only renting a house. Your landlord can prohibit the use of the illegal substance on his property. You can get evicted!


Another challenge confronting cannabis cultivators is in banking. A lot of banks still don’t trust cannabis businesses that is why they’re having a hard time getting bank accounts and loans because of Federal regulation guidelines.

Protecting yourself

The best way to protect yourself before getting into a cannabis business is to navigate and learn the intricacies between these two clashing laws—state and federal laws.

Know its gray areas and the right course of action to take in case of a violation. Finally, keep yourself abreast with the latest marijuana laws developments and stay informed.

Key Takeaways

Note that currently, the rules and regulations provided in the state laws conflict with the federal laws. As of this writing, cannabis is illegal for any use on Federal level. To be on the safe side, research about your state’s marijuana laws or check

If you are still confused, or you need legal help and advice, seek assistance from a lawyer.


10 Steps to Get a Job in the Marijuana Industry

Federal job counters may not readily reveal the number of people working in the marijuana industry today. But reliable job-listing sites including Glassdoor and ZipRecruiter say that cannabusinesses employ at least 211,000 people across the country.

What’s more, this number is expected to triple as more cannabis products pop up and more states liberalize cannabis use.

These figures mean that green is getting greener for anyone who wants a career change or a job in the marijuana industry.

Mind you, there are lots of things that you can do in the world of cannabis from production management to making deliveries. Some companies like THC Detox offer interesting and high-paying job openings that don’t require you to interact with weed directly

The cannabis industry isn’t any different from other industries in terms of hiring. Make no mistake, though. Despite the heated demand for workers, nabbing cannabis job offers still demands a great deal of preparation.

In the next couple of minutes, let’s show you what’s required to break into this multi-billion dollar industry.

Key Steps to Getting a job in the Cannabis Industry

1. Know everything you should about weed

Should we really expound the importance of this? There are thousands of job openings up for grabs in the cannabis market. Regardless of the post that you are eyeing, the company will require you to have absolute knowledge of weed before they can offer you the job.

For instance, do you know the difference between Sativa and Indica? Why are American potheads more attracted to Kush? What about weed production, storage, and legality?

Generally, just like pretty much any other industry, you cannot deal with what you don’t know. While you’d still expect some form of on-job training and orientation to the product, having more knowledge about weed makes you stand out from the rest. This could earn you extra marks during an interview and, therefore, get you closer to landing the job.

If you are interested in making money off legal marijuana through self-employment, extensive knowledge on weed, how it works, methods of consumption, legal requirements, and tests will open up your mind to hundreds of opportunities in this space.

2. Approach the industry professionally

The major mistake that job applicants make is failing to take a cannabis job opening with the seriousness it deserves.

Weed may have been taboo several decades back. Anyone who had anything to do with it was often treated as a crook and was never taken seriously.

But all that has changed and the cannabis industry is now expected to leave the soda industry in the dust. This means that professionalism is a key aspect if you are aiming at making a leap in the flourishing cannabis market.

If you are serious about crashing that interview, don’t meet the recruitment team in a casual ‘catching up with buddies’ type of thing. Be sure to show up in an appearance that the interviewers want for their employees; clean, neat, professional, and seemingly successful. You want them to focus more on your skills not clothes, right?

The same case applies if you want to start a cannabusiness. If you want to strike it big, and regardless of whether you are going to set up a physical store or online, professionalism is key. This is the only way to attract and keep great and quality workers who will in return help you attract loyal customers.

3. Arm yourself with a startup mentality

Despite the historic achievements that the cannabis industry continues to make, there are still lots of regulatory roadblocks, especially at the federal level.

In addition, every day brings lots of federal and state rules and regulations that make the future of cannabis pretty much unpredictable. Anything can happen.

That being said, if you want to impress your prospective employer or investors, you need to show them that you view uncertainties as an opportunity to control the future.

On this note, prove that you can shake things up with your creativity and readiness to come up with new ideas rather than sticking to the status quo.

4. Be ready for changes and thrive in them

The cannabis industry is dynamic and fast-paced. It’s also full of changes that are both unstoppable and inevitable.

A change can trigger immense growth in a business or company. But it can also lead to its downfall if it’s not managed properly.

Employers and investors in the cannabis space want to work with people who not only enjoy changes but also thrive in them.

5. Show that you are a quick study and eager to learn

What makes the cannabis industry somewhat challenging to work in for most people is that it is relatively new. There are also a whole ton of things to learn. As others view this as a challenge, it could be your strength if you are a quick learner.

In an environment where new products and ways of doing things are changing unannounced, the market wants workers who are both ready and quick to learn the ropes and pick up speed fast.

This is a very important step too if you are planning to set up a store to sell marijuana paraphernalia. Needless to mention, you want to ensure that you are stocking up gadgets and tools that fit the present cannabis lifestyle in your state.

6. Be prepared to effectively reach above and beyond basic responsibilities

Due to all the changes that are going on around this industry coupled with daily regulations, cannabusiness employers are seeking to hire workers who are willing to wear several hats around the job.

Ideally, you need to take the roles listed in your job description as the minimum. Be ready to take some initiative to offer more by reaching outside of your job bracket.

Of course, it’s much safer not to expect any reward, for instance, a pay raise or a promotion. But showing your employer that you’ve taken an initiative to offer more services beyond what’s expected of you is quite impressive and will attract some form of rewards anyway.

7. Learn new skills

In the market, your salary is, to a larger extent, determined by your skillset- and this is especially true in the cannabis space.

Well, the high demand for workers in this industry means that employers are not particularly after highly experienced and knowledgeable workers.

However, while employers are keen to offer on-job training to uninitiated employees, several skills currently reign supreme on the recruitment list including precise extraction (requires experience in biochemistry and engineering), accounting, and marketing.

Getting out of your comfort zone and learning an additional skill is a huge bonus to clinching a job in the cannabis industry. It also speaks volumes about where exactly you’ll be on the organizational chart.

Worth of mention, simply getting a job in this expansive industry should not be your key goal. Instead, bring along your skills with a determination to make a difference. With such a mindset, we can guarantee you no employer will deny you a platform.

The best part of the cannabis market is that no skills are irrelevant. If you can learn some culinary arts real quick, this could be an avenue to join lots of companies that specialize in edible cannabis products as a pastry chef.

On the other hand, if you can pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry and add this experience to your engineering skills, most cannabis companies will want to consider you for one of the highest paying ranks in this industry; Master Extractor.

8. Go for a Post that interests you

Cannabis businesses are scrambling to fill a host of new jobs that are popping up in the industry. There just aren’t enough employees available for all the openings. But that doesn’t mean that the cannabis world isn’t plagued by employee turnover.

Experts say that the main reason why most people who get in don’t stay is the failure to get a job that makes them happy.

So, don’t be in a hurry to fill any position that pops up. Take your time and attend a few meetings to learn everything you can about the available posts before making your decision.

9. Pitch your role

It being a startup industry, most cannabis businesses and companies are picking up things down the road. Most of the ventures out there have several roles and gaps that are yet to be filled. Creativity is all about considering your skills and knowing how you could use them to shake things up in the cannabis industry.

If you are sure that you can use your skills in, let’s say, events management, content writing, or product development, go ahead and pitch your ideas to the company. It could be just what they need despite not having made an advertisement for it.

10. Meet any legal requirements and training beforehand

Another important step into breaking the cannabis industry is to ensure that you already have any legal certifications. Since marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level, most businesses in this industry are being hauled over the coals by an array of licenses and permits.

States such as Nevada also require employees and volunteers in this industry to get a registered agent card. This card is usually issued by the state and necessitates a background check.


Working in the CBD Industry: 3 Jobs for CBD Fanatics

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound from the cannabis plant that has been used as a medical treatment for many years. It is only recently, however, that this substance became readily available in grocery stores, convenience stores, restaurants, and lifestyle stores.

CBD is widely believed to offer a wide range of health benefits, from alleviating pain and anxiety to treating skin conditions.

In 2018, the new Farm Bill lifted the restriction on CBD products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content that is less than 0.3 percent. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a medication that contains pure CBD for the treatment of epilepsy.

All these developments indicate that CBD is on track to become a fully legal and mainstream wellness product with an ever-increasing demand. There are many different products available that are derived from CBD, and all of them are performing incredibly well.

If you are passionate about CBD as a product, you may want to consider some of the industry’s enticing career prospects. Let’s explore three jobs for CBD fanatics.

Cannabis Extraction

Cannabidiol extraction involves extracting the compound from hemp plants. This job is first on our list as it is a hands-on job that typically offers high compensation.

As a cannabidiol extraction technician, you have to be a skilled and responsible worker and, depending on the job description, you may need relevant experience in chemistry. When extracting the useful compound from the hemp plant, you have to ensure that each concentrate is as pure and rich in cannabidiol as possible.

You also have to be confident that your findings are accurate, and you have to be comfortable working in a laboratory setting with industrial solvents and heat.


Marketing is the backbone of the CBD industry, not only to advertise the benefits of CBD but also to educate the target market on the specifics of the compound and the differences between CBD and marijuana.

This job is made particularly difficult by advertising restrictions on platforms like Google and Facebook. As a marketer, you have to think creatively to navigate through these difficulties. If you are a skilled marketing professional who is passionate about CBD, this booming industry may offer you plenty of opportunities.

Because of the challenges CBD marketers face, these positions typically offer high earning potential with salaries starting at around $30,000 per year. Check GlassDoor for open jobs, as plenty of CBD startups are hiring marketing managers, including Royal CBD: a California-based CBD oil seller.

Advocacy and Lobbying

As a lobbyist, it will be your job to educate politicians on the latest developments in the CBD industry and to advocate new laws to advance the industry. The cannabidiol industry and the people who benefit from these products rely heavily on lobbyists.

Lobbying involves staying on top of the latest research, pushing sensible cannabidiol policy forward, and representing the cannabis community to lawmakers.

To become a lobbyist, you have to register as such in your state. While it helps to have a background in politics or advanced education, it is not a requirement. To make a difference as a lobbyist, you need a comprehensive knowledge of cannabis and, more specifically, cannabidiol.

The income you earn as CBD lobbyist depends on whether or not you have paying customers, and you may have to start your lobbying career as an unpaid intern.

A Growing Market

There are many more jobs you can consider in the CBD industry. For example, if you own a piece of land in the appropriate climate, you can become a hemp farmer. Unlike THC that remains a Schedule 1 compound, CBD is undergoing a lift in restrictions and an increase in demand.

With the cannabidiol industry showing rapid growth, there are many positions available for people with your skills or willingness to work.


Marijuana Job Fairs: Standing Out from the Crowd

You can spend all day long on the internet scouring for jobs in the marijuana industry, but odds are the best way to find one is by attending marijuana job fairs. Just like the college job fairs of yore, cannabis-themed events like these are a great opportunity for candidates to make connections and take advantage of open job applications.

What Businesses are Represented?

One of the great aspects of marijuana job fairs is the diversity of businesses represented. Job seekers have opportunities to connect with a variety of industry leading professionals across the cannabis job sector.

Everything from cannabis dispensaries and cultivation operations to marijuana edible production kitchens and paraphernalia and apparel manufacturers are likely to have a booth at marijuana job fairs. It is in settings like these where the industry is truly supported, with representatives from across the country appearing to make connections and strengthen their presence.

What Jobs are Represented?

Most marijuana job fairs offer career opportunities that range from entry level positions to advanced careers. The Cannabist reported on 2016 Vangst Talent Network cannabis career fair where the top five open positions were “budtenders, managers, sales representatives, growers and bookkeepers.”

The mix of entry level marijuana jobs like budtending and bookkeeping with more specialized careers like cultivation demonstrate the range of hiring needs experienced by the industry as a whole. In order to provide a better picture of of the offerings of marijuana job fears, this article will attempt to demystify the aforementioned five careers.


Budtenders carry much of the cannabis industry’s mainstream clout. Appearing in more regions throughout the U.S., especially on the west coast, budtenders facilitate the sale of legal cannabis products and paraphernalia to customers and patients. The novelty of the job title itself is enough to excite driven stoners and customer service workers to pursue budtending as the next step in their career.

Budtenders maintain a lot of different responsibilities in this newly legal market, but none are more important than serving and assisting customers with the selection of merchandise to fit their individual needs. Unlike bartenders, budtenders concern themselves not only with the taste and “high” of products, but the medical implications as well.

When attending marijuana job fairs for budtender jobs, it may seem overwhelming how large the pool of applicants for each job is, but there are some definite ways to garner some attention to your application.

For starters, being personable and having a conversation with the dispensary you’re applying for is a great way to put a face to your name and show that you are able to engage with strangers in a kind, comfortable way. When it comes to your application itself, be sure to highlight any direct customer service experience. Contrary to some belief, having experience working with cannabis isn’t necessarily the most sought after trait in job applicants.

Budtenders receive training to bring them up to speed on the all important compliance measures that keep a dispensary from being shut down. It’s important that applicants have developed cannabis product knowledge, as well as a strong fluency with their state’s regulations on cannabis distribution.

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Dispensary managers are integral players in moving the cannabis industry out from under the shroud of stigma and into the mainstream. Managers oversee dispensary operations and are in charge of training and supervising budtenders, receptionists and other dispensary staff. In terms of compliance measures, it is predominantly the manager’s responsibility to ensure that all employees are following the rules perfectly.

In addition to managing employees, dispensary managers often perform double duty as budtenders and are responsible for taking inventory and ordering products. Dispensary management jobs act as a great springboard between entry level marijuana jobs and advanced careers. The position comes with a certain amount of stress, especially since dispensaries are subject to constant government oversight.

When applying to be a dispensary manager at marijuana job fairs, applicants must be able to provide proof of past experiences working in management, with marijuana, or both. Unlike budtending, dispensary management is a position that almost always requires some supervisory prerequisites. While some dispensaries promote from within, hiring from the outside ensures that employers are looking for the most qualified and passionate individuals around.

Sales Representative

There’s a lot of talk in the cannabis industry about the cultivation process and dispensary sales, but many don’t consider how products make it from the farm or lab to the counter. This is where sales representatives come in. Sales reps work for cannabis production facilities or companies that sell products wholesale to pot shops, so they can then be sold to customers.

A large part of being a cannabis sales rep or brand ambassador is traveling. The job involves making connections with businesses and convincing owners and managers that the products they’re selling are the best for that business. Sales reps are sometimes asked to perform product demonstrations at trade shows or even marijuana jobs fairs to bring brand awareness to their company.

This position is predominantly about sales, so it helps to have a strong background in that field. These individuals must be comfortable leading a sales pitch and thinking on their feet depending on the conditions of their client and the business they are representing.

Sales reps are the primary avenue through which wholesale cannabis production facilities meet their fiscal goals, putting a significant amount of pressure on the position. On the positive side, sales representatives are frequently compensated with base pay plus commission, incentivizing employees to invest time and energy in their sales.

For outgoing candidates, being a sales rep can be the predominant goal of attending marijuana job fairs as the position perfectly combines strong sales sensibilities and a love of cannabis.


The dream job of many cannabis industry job candidates is growing. Because of this, tons of sites  dedicated solely to cannabis cultivation like Let’s Tend The Garden have cropped up to help newbies break into this exciting sector.

However, full-time marijuana cultivation jobs can be hard to come by, but they offer some of the most valuable, transferable skills and experience of any marijuana job. Depending on the size and makeup of the grow operation, cultivation staff may consist of a lead or master grower who runs the operation with support from assistant growers.

The growing process is a high intensity one that comes stocked with many variables that affect the outcome of the crop. Growers must decide whether the operation will take place inside or outdoors, as well as if they will use soil or hydroponics to facilitate plant growth. Additional care must be taken when formulating plans for light exposure, humidity, feeding, poison and pest control and so much more.

Being a cultivator can come with a hefty personal payout, but it’s not without hard work. Growing is a time consuming job that may involve a lot of “off hours” work, since the plants don’t operate on the same time constraints as the average worker.

Securing a job as an assistant grower is a great step toward leading your own operation one day. Assistant growers either have past experience working in cultivation, budtending or even marijuana trimming jobs. Unless you have connections in the industry, grow assistants usually have some sort of base level experience working with weed. Even though assistants are supervised, the hope is that they can carry out their daily tasks and upkeep with precision and organization.

Becoming a master grower is somewhat of grand pursuit. These folks work their way up the ranks season after season until they are confident and experienced enough to lead an operation and produce a successful crop.


Cannabis bookkeepers and accountants are some of the industry’s unsung heroes. The difference between an effective bookkeeper and one in over their head will become clear all too quickly in this stringently regulated industry.

Bookkeepers are responsible for navigating the convoluted, often fluctuating cannabis regulations that affect legal businesses. Especially since cannabis is still an almost exclusively cash-based industry, accounting becomes a complicated endeavor with a lot of room for error if the bookkeeper isn’t organized.

In addition to being skilled mathematicians and methodized administrators, employers at marijuana job fairs are looking for bookkeepers with a refined knowledge of cannabis legislation, history and products.

One of the industry’s biggest growing pains comes in the form of audits. Given the suspicion historically associated with the marijuana, individual cannabusinesses are constantly at the whim of the law and aren’t awarded many chances to make mistakes. This is where having a knowledgeable bookkeeper is key: while there is no guarantee a business won’t receive government intervention, a well maintained payroll is a good way to keep the company’s ducks in a row.

Marijuana Job Fairs: A Booming Future

Finding a job in the cannabis industry is attractive to newcomers and seasoned vets, alike. The promise of this business lies in its desire to be as inclusive and transparent as possible. The jobs detailed above represent some of the most available positions found at marijuana job fairs, but there are plenty more where that came from.

As the demand for substances like cannabis concentrates and edibles spikes, more positions for edibles chefs and cannabis extraction technician jobs are cropping up, leading the way for high paying careers in the cannabusiness. Whatever job you’re looking for, marijuana job fairs are amazing opportunities to connect with like minded individuals and get your name out there.


5 Tips for Getting a Job in a Cannabis Dispensary

The cannabis industry is growing, and opportunities or jobs in the cannabis dispensary are also experiencing an upturn. Thanks to the increasing demands of medical cannabis prescriptions and the legalization of recreational marijuana, this industry has become one of the fastest-growing job markets today.

In early 2019, Leafly’s data team learned that over 211,000 people have full-time jobs in the cannabis industry in America, and it won’t be long before that number closes in on half a million. With these promising prospects, there’s no better time to consider a career change.

How to Find Jobs in the Cannabis Dispensary

Interested in a job in the cannabis dispensary? Below are some tips to get you started:

Learn and explore the cannabis industry.

Did you know that business opportunities in the cannabis industry started in the mid-90s? When the legal landscape changed with the legalization of recreational marijuana, the conditions in this industry also changed. With over 29 U.S. states now favoring cannabis, including the country’s capital, there are more opportunities to learn and explore.

As a job hunter, there’s a variety of options at your plate if you’d like to work in a cannabis dispensary given the changing landscape. Since it is experiencing growth, people with different skill sets are in demand in this sector.

In essence, there are four main areas to explore if you’re looking to work in the cannabis industry. Figure out where you fit best in this set up to brush up your resume:

  • Cultivation – for those with skill sets related to gardening and the science of growing crops, e.g., biologists
  • Extraction – for the experts in chemistry and processing at the laboratory, e.g., chemists and lab technicians
  • Marketing and retail – for those with people skills who can work with different customers and creative skills to plan business strategies, e.g., sales, consultants, graphic designers and writers
  • Support Services and E-commerce – for those with technical know-how in accounting and taxation and who understand the World Wide Web, e.g., accountants, IT and web design

Research dispensaries in your area

Part of your exploration into the cannabis industry is to look for dispensaries near your area. Are there existing business or will new stores be opening soon? If they are hiring, learn about their business via their online website or social media profile, if any. Then find out what you can about the store by searching for reviews and feedback on the internet.

Understand and compare the mission and values of the dispensaries to see if this aligns with your own. The more you’ll know about the business, its needs, and its challenges, the better you can offer what the company might find valuable.

Attend industry events and build your network

The cannabis industry is composed of people with common activism. In a way, they are quite tight-knit because they need to work together to fight the restrictions since not everyone is still open to the use of medical or recreational marijuana.

This doesn’t mean, however, that newcomers aren’t welcome. In fact, the pioneers of this industry organize annual events and conferences to help raise awareness and broaden their network. Some of these big-ticket events include the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo, the NCIA California Business Expo, the Marijuana Business Daily‘s trade show, and the GrowUp conference. However, there might be other smaller events in your area as well.

Attend these events to get to know the people behind the industry and increase your chances of landing jobs in the cannabis dispensary.

Stay on top of the trends

It’s essential to be on top of the trends in the cannabis industry, especially since it’s still a heavily-regulated sector. You have to be well-versed about the products, the laws, and regulations so that you can perform your job better.

For instance, if you’re looking to get into advertising at a cannabis dispensary, you have to be aware of the legalities in crafting advertisements and marketing campaigns. Even in states like California or Colorado, where cannabis is legal, there are still certain prohibitions when it comes to promoting the products.

If you’d like to be in the sales team, it would work to read up on the innovations and science behind cannabinoids and terpenes. This way, you can connect better with your target market because you understand how the products work to change their life.

Some employers might prefer to hire people who actually consume marijuana, but in general, this is not required among the companies.

Don’t lose your chance of volunteering

Are there groups in your area that are pushing for cannabis reforms? Marijuana advocacy groups can put your foot in the door to this industry if you spend enough time volunteering at these causes. It’s also a great way to demonstrate your talents and potential to future employers because they can see your passion for it.

Best Way to Begin Job Hunting

The truth is, getting jobs in a marijuana dispensary is more about service and adding value to this sector. There are major challenges in this business but the future can be brighter as the perceptions shift.


How Much Do Master Growers Make?: Winning Big with Legal Weed

If we were to compile a survey covering the most desired jobs in the legal cannabusiness, master grower would surely be on the list every time. It’s also one of the best marijuana jobs for college educated folks. Of course, this position involves the most hands-on relationship with cannabis and involves directly facilitating the successful cultivation of cannabis to be processed and sold in dispensaries. When it comes to how much do master growers make, amounts vary based on the size of the operation. However, some master growers make salaries and bonuses that put them well into six figure territory and position them as leading members of the industry.

Running a Legal Grow Operation

Master Grower isn’t a title that just any cannabis cultivator can flaunt in good conscience. Industry professionals know that this term applies only to those with years of success cultivation on a professional level. It also usually means they are confident in designing the format of the grow operation (hydroponic/outdoor) and leading a team in plant maintenance.

How is Cannabis Grown?

Cannabis sativa L. has been selectively bred for years to retain certain qualities and lose others. When referring to cannabis cultivation resulting in the sale of high-THC products to consumers, the goal is to optimize cannabinoid concentration in the flowers. Cannabis flowers from feminized, unfertilized plants contain trichomes–resinous glands, which secrete cannabinoids THC and CBD, as well as terpenes.

In order to grow cannabis effectively, master growers use their knowledge to devise methods for hydroponic or traditional soil methods of cultivation. In either case, growers are responsible for making sure that seeds are properly germinated, transported, fed and given adequate nutrition. As plants get older, growers must make sure to keep the crop safe from pests and bacteria, while growing it under the most optimal environmental conditions possible.

Once matured, growers must decide whether or not they are going to flush the plants and when is the optimal time to harvest. When considering how much do master growers make, it’s important to realize that the job involves a lot of personal commitment to the operation and high stress. The success or lack thereof of a crop primarily rests on the shoulders of the master grower, making it one of the most high-pressure careers in the industry.

What Strains of Cannabis Exist?

There are innumerable cannabis strains bred by many different breeders across the country and world. However, cannabis strains are firstly categorized into three strains: Indica, Sativa and Hybrid.


Indicas are known to produce pleasant effects of sedation and calm. On a medical level, they are successful in treating pain and nausea. They are best consumed at night or when trying to relax. On a structural level, indicas grow bushier and shorter than sativas and maintain broader leaves.


Sativas are strains that make consumers feel uplifted, creative and energetic. This strain is best for daytime smoking and socializing with others as it is prone to cause anxiety in some individuals. Sativas grow tall and have thinner, pointier leaves. The longer a sativa plant is left after optimal harvest time, it will start to adopt indica dominant traits.


As the name suggests, hybrids are breeds that have qualities of both sativas and indicas. For this reason, they are very popular among recreational consumers looking for a mediated psychotropic experience.

Of course, the first step to growing cannabis is to find high-quality seeds in your desired strain. You can purchase seeds from a local dispensary or online. To learn more about buying from online seed banks, check out sites such as GreenBudGuru.

Cannabinoids and Terpenes

Growers do their best to optimize levels of THC and/or CBD, depending on the strain. THC, known formally as Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most abundant and primary psychoactive cannabinoid secreted in cannabis flowers. CBD on the other hand, is a cannabinoid with no psychoactive effects but myriad health benefits for pain, anxiety and more. Cannabinoids bind to receptors in the human endocannabinoid system. These receptors (CB-1 and CB-2) are associated with feelings of mood, pain and memory.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that act as a natural defense system for cannabis plants by warding off pests, but encouraging pollinators. Terpenes also have individual health benefits and have been proven to enhance the effects of THC and CBD.

How Much Do Master Growers Make: The Numbers

On the whole, salaries for marijuana growing jobs are hard to pin down as they reflect different levels of authority, experience and thusly, responsibilities. Master growers who are experienced and have steady partnerships can earn salaries up to $120,000 and above. This of course all depends on how much do master growers make in some states vs. others.

How to Become a Master Grower

There are many paths one can take to become a master grower, though all of them involve a dedicated practice of cultivating cannabis. Some growers have advanced degrees in horticulture or agriculture, while others worked their way up the ranks in the black market industry. In the newly legal growing industry, there are new pathways appearing making becoming a master grower a more accessible career path.


One way that more industry hopefuls are gaining experience is by starting out as a trimmer. Trimmers also work a very hands-on job, but at a different point in the cannabis cultivation process. Trimmers take harvested cannabis flowers and snip away sugar and fan leaves with sharp scissors. This manicuring of buds is in effort to optimize THC content and reduce the harsh smoke and chlorophyll content in smokable flowers.

Trimming is notorious for being a mundane job, but many feel that it is rewarding in unique ways. In addition to being meditative, marijuana trimming jobs allow workers to get up close and personal with cannabis, learning about its many parts and behaviors. Additionally, trimming is one of the better paying entry level marijuana jobs with hourly wages averaging between $12-15.

Grow Assistant

Another avenue employed by most master growers is beginning as a grow assistant. Grow assistants have less responsibility than their supervisors; if you’re wondering how much do master growers make in comparison to assistants, the gap can be significant. However, working as an assistant does pay respectably and offers invaluable experience and credentials. Working as a grow assistant for several different operations can help to make a well rounded cultivator who observes and studies a variety of approaches.


Budtending is largely a sales position, but it involves retaining a vast knowledge of cannabusiness information. Especially for those in cities or without close access to grow operations, working marijuana dispensary jobs can be a great place to start your journey.

Some dispensaries require budtenders to trim buds and fill pre-roll joints, so employees do experience some direct contact with flower, though less so than trimmers or grow assistants. Working as a budtender is a great way to establish connections and gain experience in the legal industry.

Cannabis Job Training Services

For those looking to gain experience cultivating cannabis, marijuana education and job training services are abounding online and in classrooms. Sites, such as Green CulturED offer a variety of courses online to bring students up to speed on the essentials of growing and working in the industry.

Other programs employ traditional classroom teaching environment, where students visit grow operations and interact in person with professors. Many of these training programs are also certification programs. While having a certification from a reputable service could very well help you land a job, the lack of education standards in the cannabusiness detracts from the credibility of a certificate.

Read Up!

Just like learning any other skill or craft, there is always some reading to be done! Research famous master growers and their books or publications – these come with tips, tricks and descriptions for how to best grow cannabis. The more time you spend researching and reading credible sources, the more prepared you will be when working in a grow operation.

Where to Find Master Grower Jobs

Thanks to increasing cannabis legalization across America, more job sites are posting jobs for master growers. In fact, searching for master grower jobs is as easy (or hard) as searching for jobs not in the cannabis industry. As the industry matures, more niche cannabis jobs sites are answering a request for better job sites aimed at those looking for jobs specifically in the cannabis industry.

Even though competition for jobs may be fierce, the expansion of the industry as a whole will lead to more opportunities for workers. As long as cannabis is legal and somewhat affordable, consumers and patients will continue to support the cannabusiness by purchasing products. Thanks do demand

Why is the Master Grower Important?

If you remove all the rhetoric and connotations surrounding the title “master grower” you might think: what does this position actually mean for the industry? Master growers are more than just leaders, they influence the continuation of good cultivation practices and positive results. As the cannabis industry becomes further standardized, farms and grow-ops will increasingly employ master growers to ensure the utmost consistency and transparency in their work.

If cannabis consumers hope to continue to purchase high quality, thoroughly tested flower, master growers will be necessary to maintain the precedent they worked tirelessly to establish. So to answer this question one more time, how much do master growers make, salary will always be dependant on a multitude of factors, many of those which have been discussed in this article.

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Average Marijuana Dispensary Pay: Success in Cannabis Sales

Making money in the cannabis industry is all about drive, professional connections and knowledge of the plant known formally as Cannabis sativa L. The legal cannabusiness has infiltrated into many other ancillary and associated industries, creating new jobs for passionate pot lovers.  Average marijuana dispensary pay represents a full spectrum of entry level, management and ownership career possibilities, reflecting different levels of experience and thus, diverse wages.

Cannabis Dispensary Breakdown

Cannabis dispensaries are the predominant avenue through which consumers purchase products in the legal cannabusiness. Like other retail shops, dispensaries are sometimes nestled into strip malls or flashing neon green plus signs off the highway. In legal states, dispensaries are a part of local culture and lifestyle.

The laws of operation for pot shops varies from state to state and within municipalities. In general, dispensaries are broken down into medical shops and recreational shops for adults twenty one years and older. However, when some states pass preliminary legislation legalizing cannabis, the distinctions between the two are often blurred.

Dispensaries are increasingly becoming one-stop shops for weed consumers, as stores offer a wide spectrum of products including cannabis flower, concentrates, edibles, tinctures and topicals, not to mention paraphernalia, apparel and novelties. As such, a lot of time and effort goes into making dispensaries run smoothly, as is reflected in marijuana dispensary salaries.

Entry Level Careers

In order to examine average marijuana dispensary pay, it’s perhaps easiest to break down the positions into three categories: entry-level; management; ownership, to represent the range of salaries appearing within one business.

When referring to “entry level” dispensary jobs, it’s somewhat of a misnomer. Although the following positions are often considered entry-level, the intense competition surrounding cannabis jobs has made it difficult to acquire beginner positions without previous experience.


Working marijuana dispensary receptionist jobs is an ideal avenue for cannabusiness novices to gain entry into the industry. With that said, qualified applicants for this position will require an in-depth knowledge of all things cannabis and cannabis-law related. Additionally, they will likely be expected to have previous experience with clerical and customer service work.

Primarily, receptionists greet and check in customers. These employees hold a great deal of responsibility by acting as a main agent of regulatory compliance. All customers must have their IDs checked and entered into online databases to ensure utmost compliance with state and municipal regulations.

Additionally, receptionists are tasked with communicating across online forums, over the telephone and in person with customers and company partners. Receptionists often fill-in in areas deemed necessary by managers and supervisors.

Average marijuana dispensary pay as a receptionist begin at or above minimum wage. In most regions, receptionist wages begin around $10 per hour with an average of $11-12 per hour.


Indeed the most “famous” position in a dispensary is the budtender. Friendly, attentive, savvy – these are a few characteristics that might describe your local weed whiz behind the dispensary counter. With such a diverse array of merchandise at a customer’s disposal, budtenders are charged with assisting visitors in choosing flower strains and other products from the sea of options.

Unlike bartenders, budtenders at medical dispensaries must be able to provide accurate suggestions for strains based on the medical needs of the patient. Even in recreational dispensaries, many adults use cannabis both for personal enjoyment and for its medical benefits!

More and more, dispensaries expect applicants for marijuana budtender jobs to have held jobs in the industry previously. Finding a job as a budtender can be a tough pursuit since it is one of the more appealing entry-level positions throughout the entire American job market. Candidates who are seriously considering working as a budtender should feel fluent discussing strains and concentrates, laws, regulations and culture.

Similar to receptionists and many other entry-level service jobs, average marijuana dispensary pay for budtenders fall just above minimum wage, averaging between $11-12 by the hour. Some dispensaries allow for customers to tip budtenders, however others argue that this reinforces lower hourly budtender wages.

Dispensary Manager

If you’re looking for a chill job in the cannabusiness, don’t apply for marijuana dispensary manager jobs. This position requires workers to maintain a high level of responsibility and accountability. In addition to the regular managerial tasks they are assigned, managers must also be constantly ensuring that all employees are following cannabis regulations perfectly.

While the exact responsibilities for dispensary managers vary from store to store, these individuals are usually assigned the role of sifting through employee applications, interviewing, and higher new employees. Furthermore, they must then train and lead each employee through daily operations, ensuring their performance is in keeping with business policies.

Many dispensary managers fill in where they are needed as budtenders or receptionists, especially when an employee is sick or absent. Managers are expected to handle customer comments and complaints. Involving merchandise, managers take inventory and manage the ordering of products to be delivered to the store. Some managers are responsible for communicating with farms, processors and sales reps to continue doing business together.

Unlike positions in budtending and reception, average marijuana dispensary pay in management is competitive. Wages average around $48,000 per year and can reach heights in the higher five figures.

Dispensary Owner

All hail the dispensary owner! The entrepreneurs responsible for setting up shop in our towns and cities and providing patients and customers with the weed they want and the cannabis they need. For many, the idea of owning a dispensary is a fantasy that may inspire you to want to pick up and make your way to a legal state; however, dispensary owners know just how difficult it is to become established and make money.

The process of obtaining a license to own and operate a dispensary can be arduous and confusing and is definitely expensive. This is why owners often enlist cannabusiness consultants to help guide them through the glut of regulations, to help them figure out how to follow compliance. Dispensary owners come from diverse backgrounds, bust the vast majority have experience in the weed industry and are confident in the changing arena of the cannabusiness.

Dispensary owners take on different roles with each store, but ultimately they are in charge of the entire operation. While many people the world over want to purchase cannabis, competition between other dispensaries and hefty startup costs keep some entrepreneurs from taking the leap and opening shop.

Average marijuana dispensary pay for dispensary owners have the largest income variation. Owners have been known to make incredible salaries above six figures, while others could barely break even. While being the owner has the highest possible wage outcome of any position in the store, they also have the chance to lose the most.

How to Work at a Marijuana Dispensary

Now that you have a better idea of what the average marijuana dispensary pay is, it’s time to consider applying for a position. there are a number of ways to go about finding dispensaries that are hiring, but there are important things to consider. First, know whether or not you are in a medically legal and/or recreationally legal state. The qualifications to work in dispensaries vary depending on the setup of the store and some states require obtaining a medical cannabis license from a doctor to be eligible.

Just like any other service position on the market, generalized job sites like Indeed and Craigslist frequently post ads by dispensaries searching for staff. Spend a half hour reviewing several budtender job ads and you’ll quickly discover some trends in what employers are looking for. Ideally, dispensaries want workers experienced both in service and cannabis, who are reliable and friendly. There are other regulatory requirements based on location as well.

Making Connections

It’s all about who you know. The cannabusiness is a community and as such, it reflects equal parts inclusion and nepotism when it comes to jobs. Some employers opt to hire individuals they know or have established credibility with. Especially in the early stages of legal operations, owners don’t want to risk hiring someone who looks good on paper, but is untrustworthy or inexperienced in person.

This is why it behooves applicants to establish personal and professional connections with industry workers. Even just getting to know your budtender or receptionist can be a way to separate yourself from the masses.

Know the Product

Entire tomes can be written about the wealth of cannabis products now on the market. While most dispensary employees aren’t expected to know every single strain and product, they should be well-versed and able to make easy distinctions from one piece of merchandise to the next.


Yes, there are all sorts of consumption methods out there but flower is the hard standard many customers know and love. Flower is broken down into three preliminary strains: sativa, indica and hybrid. Sativas encourage cerebral, energetic highs that may cause some patients to have an anxious response, while indica is more subdued, but is known to cause couch-lock. Hybrids deliver on encouraging effects with elements of both sativa and indica present. From here, the three strains are broken down into many many specific strains created through decades of selective breeding. Each strain is given a name ie: OG Kush, Strawberry Cough, Amnesia Haze and has individual properties that come with unique medical benefits and pleasant effects.


Concentrates are taking the weed world by storm. Medical and recreational customers alike are champing at the bit to purchase high quality, potent cannabis extracts. Concentrates are made by extracting essential cannabinoids and terpenes from plant matter using industrial solvents, including CO2 and butane.

Since concentrates have particularly high THC content around 65% and higher, they are used by medical patients for more sustained effects and less smoke inhalation over fewer doses. Recreational customers with high tolerances also report that concentrates bring a new dimension to the high experienced. At the same time, concentrates can be intense for some individuals, so dispensary workers must know how to accurately explain the experience.


Another form of cannabis intake is through edibles. Customers who can’t or don’t smoke use edibles as their primary way of receiving their medical cannabis. Edibles are created by infusing concentrates into food and beverage products with more accurate dosing than traditional cannabutter infusion.

Like concentrates, the effects experienced by eating edibles is different than smoking flower for most people. That’s why even as more methods of consuming cannabis are unveiled, flower will continue to be used by those seeking a specific course of effects.

Edibles are very popular in the marijuana circuit, especially with the medical community, and edibles creation jobs are popping up like crazy thanks to the increased demand. Edibles chef salaries no doubt reflect this demand so you can make a pretty good living in this field. If you are a chef by trade and a proponent of marijuana, this might just be your best ticket into this booming industry.

CBD Oils

CBD Oils are exploding in popularity lately since you can buy them legally in all US states. CBD products have no THC content and no psychoactive effects (meaning they don’t get you high), so they attract a very different kind of customer. You’ll need to know how to work with CBD customers as well as normal dispensary customers.

Average Marijuana Dispensary Pay: The Future

Although the legal cannabis industry is unique in its novelty and progression, it still succumbs to the same restrictions as other highly regulated industries like alcohol and other consumer goods. For this reason, average marijuana dispensary pay will be somewhat at the whim of the market.

At the same time, this industry is offering positions that applicants actually want to work! Even if starting wages at dispensaries aren’t as high as you’d like, positions in pot shops allow for employees to advance in their weed career through gaining promotions and making meaningful connections.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Chances of Landing a Job in the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry is hot right now, and set for billions of dollars of growth around the world over the next few years, as more and more nations embrace the plant medicinally and recreationally.

Perhaps you’re a regular smoker, or maybe you have never touched a joint in your life – it doesn’t really matter. Cannabis is serious business, and getting ‘high’ on the job is not an option; unless, of course, you plan on being a taster and sampling products.

To work in the world of marijuana, you’ll need to be dedicated, keen to learn, and, if you plan on working in a dispensary, great with customers. Sound good? Here are five ways that you can boost your chances of landing that dream job.

#1. Stay up to Speed with Cannabis Research

Cannabis research is moving at lightning pace. This is because after decades of prohibition, scientists are finally getting the chance to study the herb in detail. Now that we know the phytocannabinoids in cannabis function in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), researchers are starting to narrow down which conditions cannabis has therapeutic benefits for. And 21st century cannabis science is also showing the effects of specific components of marijuana, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD).

In short, there’s a lot to learn, and demonstrating a keen interest in the plant itself, and also its history, will stand you in good stead with any potential employer. Keeping abreast with what’s happening and the constantly changing facts about cannabis means you’ll be bringing value to the company you work for.

#2. Browse Online for Jobs

If asking around at dispensaries hasn’t yielded anything, then scour the internet for work instead. LinkedIn is superb for networking, and there are plenty of job boards where cannabis-related jobs are listed. This is also great if you’re open to moving to a new location, as a quick search will throw up vacancies all around the country.

#3. Adopt a Professional Approach

While you may enjoy partaking in cannabis in your spare time, you don’t want to present yourself as a stereotypical stoner at a job interview. Even though it may show that you’re enthusiastic about the industry, stoners have also picked up a bad – albeit sometimes unfair – reputation for lacking motivation and being unreliable. These aren’t the attributes you want a prospective new boss to pick up on.

When applying for a cannabis-related role, treat it like any other and act professional. Display a good knowledge of cannabis, and talk about why a business would benefit from bringing you on board, rather than about all the experience you have getting baked. Ensure that your CV is free of spelling errors and has meticulous grammar, and steer clear of using any cannabis slang. Don’t pretend that you know everything about weed, even if you think you do, and always come across as humble and keen to learn. Getting familiar with the increasingly popular non-intoxicating CBD oil will also strengthen your credentials.

#4. Establish How You Can Best Use Your Skills

We get it, you really want to work with marijuana. But there’s no point applying for a job as a cultivator if you have never grown the plant before. It’s essential to identify the general skills that you have before you even think about applying for a job.

For example, if you’re great with words, advancing your skills and seeking a job as a cannabis copywriter could be your route into the industry. Or if you’re a pro at customer service, applying for jobs as a budtender may be your way forward.

Don’t be too worried if you haven’t got any experience working with cannabis. As the scene is still in its relative infancy, most people applying for roles will be in the same boat. It’s more important that you have high-quality, transferable skills.

#5. Persevere

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and if your ideal job doesn’t magic itself up in front of you straight away, don’t be disheartened. The industry may be booming, but you shouldn’t think of it as a way of getting rich quick. If you really want to be successful in this area, find out how you can bring the most value and persist. Those who maintain their honesty and integrity will not only get where they’re headed, but they’ll enjoy the process and final destination, too.

Final Thoughts

Working in cannabis sure is great fun, but it’s hard work, as well. Providing you take an enthusiastic and serious approach, you’ll come across as credible and appealing to possible employers.


CBD in Dispensaries

In the past, dispensaries were only a place where you would visit to browse through a variety of cannabis products. From ounces of weed to edibles, THC dominated the industry. Those who either needed the product recreationally or medically would visit these shops to meet their needs. Then, CBD came into the picture.

This substance has managed to revolutionize the hemp industry and you’d be hard pressed to find a dispensary that didn’t have some type of selection of CBD products. To get a better grasp about why CBD is so important or how it has managed to impact the market and create a valuable niche for itself, continue reading the article below.

What is CBD?

The reason why you find CBD in so many dispensaries is due to the similar nature that it shares with THC. THC and CBD are both chemical compounds called cannabinoids, which are naturally found within the cannabis plant. Both of these substances enter the body and act upon receptors to produce a variety of different effects. However, unlike THC, CBD doesn’t provide the psychoactive effects that THC does but is said to provide many of the same benefits. This has allowed more people interested in the hemp industry that were not too fond of the psychoactive high produced by THC but still wanted to benefit from the effects. With CBD, they may be able to.

CBD Benefits

There are a ton of benefits associated with CBD. From its relaxing properties that are said to help with issues such as insomnia and disorders like anxiety to its anti-inflammatory. It even has analgesic properties that make it perfect for those with autoimmune diseases, CBD is said to treat a large number of health issues, making it a versatile substance that meets the needs of many consumers.

When discussing its benefits for the cannabis industry, CBD has managed to improve the overall reach of the market, making it more profitable and helpful for consumers of all legal ages and types. What once was simply a market that catered to a certain population quickly became a market that could meet the needs of anyone and everyone who wants to participate in it.

CBD Market

The CBD market on its own is extremely profitable. This can be attributed to the most recent surge in popularity of the substance in 2017 and 2018 that helped it to spread from doctors’ offices and cannabis shops to a variety of different industries such as makeup and food. In fact, the CBD market is so profitable and popular that it is estimated the market will reach a $22 billion market capitalization by 2022.


When it comes to the types of products that can be found on this market, the options are endless. Consumers have the ability to purchase topical creams, lotions, and salves, edibles such as gummy bears or drinks, vape juices or dab isolates, CBD tincture oils that can be taken sublingually, and even pills that make the consumption process that much easier.

Overall, the CBD market is thriving and isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. Your budtender will be able to help you more with what you need exactly.

CBD for Pets

Humans aren’t the only consumers benefitting from this market. Although research on the subject is scarce, CBD is slowly moving to the animal industry as well. From delicious organic treats that make it easy for the animal to consume to tincture oils that can be easily added to food or water for quick and simple consumption. The CBD pet market is one that is quickly growing and expanding as well and you can expect the number of offers to grow as we research how it interacts with different species.

CBD in Dispensaries

As we stated earlier, CBD has carved out its place in many dispensaries and it would be difficult to find a dispensary that didn’t sell at least one kind of CBD product.

In most dispensaries, CBD products such as disposable vape pens, CBD vape fluids, and CBD edibles are very easy to find and are the perfect introductory products for those who are new to the CBD industry.

If you are in a much larger dispensary that contains a larger selection of products, you may be able to purchase other products such as CBD isolate in its dab or powder form, CBD flowers, which are essentially like marijuana buds but are actually hemp flowers that contain high concentrations of CBD, and tincture oils.

The availability of these substances in dispensaries makes it very easy for curious users to purchase the product and give it a try.

Even the labels are unique to CBD. There are a ton of companies popping up so there are new containers and packaging labels that are constantly needed.

In Conclusion

In the whole hemp and cannabis industry, the discovery and introduction of CBD is arguably one of the most important developments. Through CBD, the cannabis and hemp industries were both able to expand to a greater market of people and make the whole use of hemp-based products less taboo.

For those who were potential THC users but didn’t want to deal with the “high” that marijuana gives them, CBD allowed them to access a product that would meet their needs and made it possible to actually benefit from the effects of hemp in a way that worked best for them.

Overall, CBD is a profitable and helpful industry that has changed the hemp industry as a whole. We can expect to see further improvements and profitability as the market continues to grow and change in the near future.


How to Work in the Cannabusiness at Any Education Level

The cannabis industry offers fertile territory to explore the relationship between education level and job placement. Recent legalization efforts have been won in the face of active stigma and by their very nature subvert traditional American business trends. As young, college educated job candidates apply for the same jobs as former black-market cannabis growers, just how much does a college degree matter in the cannabusiness? With a spike in revenue from 2015 to 2016 resulting in $6.7 billion for the North American market, everyone is looking to get in on the green.

Cannabis Dispensaries: All About Experience

Legal cannabis dispensaries are a microcosm of the industry as a whole. Like other retail-driven businesses, there is a clear hierarchy established between the entry-level, management and ownership factions of the business. While each position interacts with others, individual salaries and responsibilities reflect a hard line in the sand between job descriptions.


Budtenders, recognized as the attentive cannabis specialists found behind dispensary counters, are considered entry level employees; you wouldn’t guess based on how active a role they take in the business. Budtenders do much more than facilitate checkout — these savvy employees are chock full of wisdom to help you find the right kind of product to fit your tolerance level and desires as a consumer.

What are Employers Looking for?

Knowing just how important it is to comply perfectly with new industry regulations, dispensary hiring managers consider job applicants they believe they can trust. Search any generalized marijuana jobs website, or a more niche one, and you will see employers looking for experienced budtenders who have previously worked hands-on with cannabis. This is an effort on behalf of businesses to hire those with proven stock in the industry.

The other essential trait of a budtender is proficiency in customer service. As such, a lack of cannabusiness experience can be made up for by having worked as a barista or bartender. With these criteria in mind, having a degree is rarely, if ever, required to work as a budtender. While having a degree won’t be a detriment to your application, it may not have as much allure as it would in other industries. Hourly wages for budtenders are commensurate with other entry level pursuits, averaging around $13.

Dispensary Management

If budtenders have a lot of responsibilities, the same can be said and then some for those who work as a dispensary manager. These individuals not only oversee daily store operations, but are tasked with hiring and training employees, among a host of other responsibilities. Similarly to budtenders, managers are selected based on their potential to be a leader in a team environment, rather on their academic credentials.

With that said, the cannabis industry is providing a home for motivated candidates looking to apply their studies to the world of weed. While you don’t have to be a cannabis consumer to manage a dispensary, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone behind the counter that isn’t a steadfast supporter of the skunky stuff.

Salaries for dispensary managers are more competitive than budtenders, reaching hourly wages of $25.

Dispensary Ownership

The cannabis industry is a ripe one for entrepreneurs. NerdWallet recently compiled their 5 Best Industries for Starting a Business in 2017. The data were formed based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, among other market research surveys. Ultimately, marijuana was placed second on the list for its incredible potential as a novel industry with plenty of room for growth.

There aren’t any hard and fast education requirements to own a dispensary. Largely, the entrepreneurs experiencing the most success running legal pot shops come from diverse backgrounds. The only real qualifications to open a business is to achieve a license and have enough capital to comply with the many regulations associated with getting a dispensary up and running.

Experience Up Front

Even with a license and the government go-ahead, it’s an arduous process to navigate through the convoluted legislature, in order to open the store doors. Most dispensary owners either come from cannabis industry backgrounds, or have owned other businesses and can sidestep some of the hurdles that might catch newcomers. As much as this industry allows for virtually anyone to pursue their piece of the pie, it is becoming extremely competitive.

Applying for Jobs in Dispensaries

For most people interested in working in dispensaries, the goal will be to apply, interview and accept a job as an entry level worker or manager. As somewhat of an “embed” in Portland, Oregon’s legal cannabusiness, I weekly observe the trends in job postings by dispensaries throughout the metropolitan area. My findings (though anecdotal) have shown what appears to be a larger trend in this exciting industry that competition, even for jobs with low wages, is staggering. Following over a dozen budtender/dispensary receptionist jobs on for a week, I found that each post received over 100 applications within 72 hours. Every time.

The hourly wages for these jobs ranged between $10-15 (including tips). Since employers have dozens of options when it comes to candidates, they now have the privilege of interviewing and hiring only the most qualified individuals for their company. This is why having a Bachelor Degree, for instance is less of a focus than knowing your way around a nug.

As public and private education prices continue to soar, the cannabusiness offers opportunities for driven, intelligent individuals to find fulfilling work, without incurring unnecessary debt.

Other Cannabusiness Sectors: Is a Degree Necessary?

On the contrary, when it comes to more advanced positions in this industry, such as leading a legal grow operation or working as a cannabis extraction technician, advanced degrees may be necessary. Not all leadership positions demand that candidates have a university education, however, there are certain skills that a college education can lend itself to developing.

The cannabis industry is expected to grow an additional 33.5% over the next five years.

What is fascinating about the legal business is that it is growing and changing at this very moment. The future of comprehensive legalization countrywide is unclear, but the current climate of state operations suggest greener pastures for a wide range of candidates with different levels of education.

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