How to Find a Job in the Cannabis Industry

Published on January 9, 2017 · Last updated August 24, 2022

Editor’s note: Check out Leafly’s 2019 version of our Legal Jobs Count, which provides a state-by-state breakdown of the 211,000 full-time jobs the legal cannabis industry has created in America. 

Read Leafly’s 2019 Legal Jobs Report

As Leafly recently reported, America’s legal cannabis economy now supports more than 122,000 full-time jobs in 29 states and Washington, D.C.

If you don’t have one, how do you get one?

I put the question to Karson Humiston, founder of Vangst Talent Network, the world’s largest staffing and recruiting agency focused specifically on the cannabis industry.

First steps: Educate yourself, then get out and meet people in the industry.

Her answer: Educate yourself, and get out there and meet people. Start today. “You want to be up to date on what’s happening in the industry,” Humiston said in a phone interview from her company’s Denver headquarters. “But it’s just as important to get out there and talk to people in the industry at networking events. Go to an NCIA [National Cannabis Industry Association] event. Attend a Women Grow meetup. Go to a conference or trade show. Put yourself out there as an explorer.”

To that end, Vangst is hosting a Career Summit on Thursday, Jan. 19, at Denver’s City Hall. (Leafly is a presenting partner.) More information about that here.

You can network your way into a job, sign up with a recruiter like Vangst, or start your own company. Think of Humiston herself as an example. Four years ago she was a college student in upstate New York. As an undergraduate, she founded and then sold her own student travel company. “Coming out of that business, I had a large network of students and recent grads looking for jobs,” she recalled. “So I started going to different trade shows. I went to a cannabis trade show in Colorado and asked companies there if they were interested in hiring recent graduates. I got a really positive response, so I moved to Denver and created Vangst.”


Best practices: Do your research, and start talking to people in the industry at career fairs and conferences. (Photo: Vangst Talent Network)

Two years later Humiston oversees a team of 16 full-time recruiters who specialize in different fields. “Some focus on sales positions, others have deep experience in the commercial horticulture field,” she said. Last year Vangt hosted three job fairs, opened a second office in Los Angeles, and helped fill more than 2,000 jobs in the cannabis field. 

Cannabis companies want 'top talent from a lot of different fields,' not just cannabis insiders, says Vangst Talent Network CEO Karson Humiston.

That initial focus on student hiring quickly expanded to experienced professionals and c-suite talent searches. Those searches often take them outside the cannabis industry. “Today we work with cannabis industry employers interested in recruiting from other industries,” Humiston said. “They’re interested in pharmaceutical sales representatives, or in horticulturalists from large commercial tulip operations. They want top talent from a lot of different industries.”

The old stigmas are fading, but it still has to be said: Personal experience with cannabis is almost never a factor in hiring or job performance. There are some positions, like budtending or product sourcing, that require intimate and expert knowledge of the product. But a company seeking a lawyer wants a top-level attorney, not a cannabis connoisseur with a law degree.

“The other thing that people tend to forget,” Humiston said, are all those jobs that don’t immediately come to mind when you think of the cannabis industry. “If you’re running a company with hundreds of employees, you need an experienced HR director,” she said. “I’m looking at the wall of positions on my office, and 40 percent of the positions are specific to the cannabis industry. The other 60 percent are jobs that also exist in every other industry: executive assistants, human resources specialists, retail operations directors, bookkeepers and staff accountants.”

And those opportunities change daily.

“This week we’ve got companies looking for candidates ranging from entry-level budtenders to a vice-president of sales,” Humiston said.

So what’s out there? What do these jobs pay? Do any come with benefits?

We skimmed the job boards—Vangst, Zipcrecruiter, Monster, 420Careersover the past month and culled a few positions, below, that will give you a sense of all the Help Wanted signs currently posted. The cannabis industry is booming, and it’s not limited to Colorado, Washington, and California. We found good jobs in Ohio, Massachusetts, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Jobs include budtender, chemist, retail sales manager, attorney, master grower, farmhand, delivery driver, lighting designer, state enforcement officer, and, yes, professional joint roller. Wherever cannabis is legal, jobs are available.

(Haven Daley/AP)

Experienced? Budtenders and growers need to know the product. But many other job applicants don’t. (Haven Daley/AP)

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Master Grower
$80,000 to $90,000 salary
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
This permanent requires relocation to the Youngstown, Ohio, area. We are seeking a master grower for a 20,000 square foot, state of the art medical marijuana cultivation facility in Northeastern Ohio. The ideal candidate will hold a master’s degree in horticulture or agriculture, and have significant experience managing a commercial marijuana production facility.

California: Retail Manager
$50,000 salary
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
Our client is a fast-growing San-Francisco-based medical cannabis brand with two existing licensed dispensaries in operation and several others planned in the Bay Area and across California. The company is seeking an accomplished, service-centric and detail-oriented general manager to lead its retail outlets.

Oregon: Fertilizer & Soil Sales, Marketing
$40,000 to $60,000 salary
Benefits: TBD
West Coast Horticulture is a fertilizer and soil product manufacturer serving the legal cannabis market. We have a full line of organic as well as conventional fertilizer and soil products. We’re looking for a motivated, talented person to head up our sales and marketing needs. You’ll be responsible for researching large commercial grow projects, visiting stores, identifyingand calling new potential stores, plan and attend trade shows and events, and handle social media.

Massachusetts: Business Analyst
Compensation: Depends on Experience
Benefits: Medical, Dental
PalliaTech, Inc. is a fully-funded, multi-state, medical marijuana biotech firm poised for explosive growth. The company, based in Wakefield, Mass., is seeking a business analyst to join its rapidly growing team. The analyst will be responsible for supporting the CEO, COO, and CFO of a growing company operating in a complex, highly regulated industry. The analyst will be responsible for preparing industry and business analyses, staying apprised and communicating on industry news and events and other analyses that support PalliaTech’s ability to make informed decisions in the context of the current and future cannabis markets.

Colorado: Lighting Systems Designer
Compensation: Depends on Experience
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
Urban-Gro provides product solutions for the commercial cannabis cultivator. We provide commercial grade LED and HPS grow light systems, integrated pest management, automated fertilization / irrigation solutions, and a complete line of water treatment solutions. With over 30 employees, Urban-Gro provides lighting and cultivation technology products to the legal cannabis industry across the United States. We are looking for the right individual to fill the role of lighting systems designer. 

'Applicants need reliable transportation (4 wheel drive), as we are on top of a mountain constantly covered in snow.'

Washington State: Farming Associate
Compensation: Hourly rate, TBD
Benefits: TBD
Manna Production is looking for a full time entry level farming associate. We are a small Tier One I-502 pot farm located in Wenatchee, Wash. We are looking for an energetic, self-driven, ambitious person. Experience is not necessary, but preferred. Applicants need reliable transportation (preferred 4 wheel drive), as we are on top of a mountain constantly covered in snow.

Arizona: Dispensary Manager
$20,000 to $40,000 salary
Benefits: TBD
Botanica is a purveyor of premium cannabis based in Tucson, Ariz. We are trying to revolutionize the way dispensaries are portrayed, and want to make the process appealing both to customers who have never considered using medical marijuana, as well as cannabis connoisseurs. The dispensary manager provides direct staff supervision and oversight of the dispensary’s day-to-day operations. Strong business and logic skills are a must, as a large component of the job is data analysis. This is a full-time position, with weekend work required. Schedules are comprised of four 11-12 hour days, with three days off each week.

California: Laboratory Chemist
Compensation: TBD
Benefits: TBD
BAS Research Center is California’s first licensed medical cannabis manufacturing and research group, dedicated to developing breakthrough pharmaceutical grade marijuana products. BAS provides a variety of services to clients, including extraction and contract processing, private label manufacturing, packaging, and labeling. We’re seeking a full time laboratory chemist who will conduct analytic tests on-site in a new state-of-the-art laboratory; provide QA and QC functions to evaluate product quality and to meet or exceed any state requirements for testing; and develop analytical techniques and new methods.

Pennsylvania: Operations Manager
Compensation: TBD
Benefits: TBD
PharmaCannis is seeking a full time medical cannabis operations manager with strong management and production experience, preferably in the pharmaceutical, food, beverage, or cannabis industries to start up and manage our Philadelphia operations. This facility will cultivate cannabis and produce high quality medical cannabis products that patients can utilize via a number of different administration methods. The Operations Manager will lead and drive all aspects of the company’s cannabis processing facility. 

'Position: Professional Joint Roller. $20-40k/year.'

Colorado: Professional Joint Roller
Compensation: $20,000 to $40,000 salary
Benefits: Store discounts, profit sharing, sick days, health insurance
Now accepting resumes for full time packaging technician, budtender, and joint roller. We are looking for someone responsible, motivated, kind and quick. You must have an employment badge, reliable transportation and you must get along well with others. Your work day will include pre-weigh, packaging and joint rolling.

Oregon: Analytical Chemist / Production Manager
$80,000 to $100,000 salary
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
We are seeking an analytical chemist to manage and operate a testing and production faculty for marijuana derived extracts, tincture, and other associated products in Oregon. Duties include management of the extraction facility and its staff to P& L level; responsibility for the preparation and execution of extraction and processing of product in accordance with the state and local standards; ensuring consistency and efficacy of product through quality control testing and procedures. Must have BS or greater in analytical chemistry; Oregon residency for the last two years; at least four years of analytical chemistry experience.

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Massachusetts: Cultivation Products Regional Sales Manager
Compensation: TBD
Benefits: TBD
Urban-Gro cultivation products provide solutions for the commercial cannabis cultivator. We provide commercial grade LED and HPS grow light systems, integrated pest management, automated fertilization / irrigation systems, and a complete line of water treatment solutions. With over 30 employees, Urban-Gro provides lighting and cultivation technology products to the legal cannabis industry across the United States. We are hiring a sales manager for our Eastern Region. This position can be based in New England or the Tri-State Area.

California: Brand Ambassador
$16 per hour
Benefits: None at this time
Hours: 20-30 hours per week, may include evenings and weekends.
KIVA Confections is an Oakland-based leading producer of artisanal, cannabis infused chocolate confectionary products in the United States and is one of the most recognized and preferred brands in the burgeoning medical marijuana and adult use cannabis industry.  We are looking for a brand ambassador to join our company for an in-market promotional activation and sales role. This position is primarily responsible for engaging with and informing consumers, while leaving them with a favorable impression of the KIVA brand and product portfolio. If you enjoy consumer products and are familiar with the newly emerging and legal cannabis industry, can educate consumers on our family of products, then we want to speak with you!

Washington State: Liquor & Cannabis Enforcement Officer
$ 50,000 to $60,000 salary
Benefits: State employee benefit package
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board’s Enforcement and Education division is accepting applications for LCB Enforcement Officer 1’s (LEO1) In-Training. These positions begin as entry level LCB Enforcement Officer 1 and must successfully complete the 720 hour Basic Law Enforcement training and the Field Training Officer program.  Upon completion of the programs, LEO1’s will be promoted to the LCB Enforcement Officer 2 (LEO2) level. LCB Enforcement Officers inspect premises, investigate complaints, and conduct compliance checks. At times they may take administrative and criminal action against licensees, employees, and the public who violate state liquor, tobacco and cannabis laws. Based in Olympia, Wash. 

California: Software Developer
$ 85,000 salary
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
We are a software department in a Culver City, Calif., business management company that just happens to specialize in cannabis. Our primary responsibility day in and day out is to write great software. Primary responsibilities include: Developing new front-end and back-end functionality using Python, Javascript, HTML, and/or CSS.

Massachusetts: Director of Retail Operations
$ 70,000 salary, plus commission
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
We are a Boston-based “patient-first” non-profit healthcare organization, dedicated to providing the highest-quality medical cannabis products and services in a safe, secure and professionally managed environment. We’re recruiting a director of retail operations to join our team and provide the leadership, oversight, management and vision necessary for their organization to reach and surpass our goals. The retail operations director will maintain control of diverse business operations including cultivation, production and retail.

Michigan: Associate Cannabis Attorney
Compensation: Depends on Experience
Benefits: TBD
Pollicella & Associates, and Cannabis Attorneys of Michigan are actively seeking exceptional individuals for the following position: Associate Attorney with 1–3 years’ experience in business transactions, real estate, and/or regulatory law for our Livingston County office. This is an opportunity to excel with the top canna-business law firm in Michigan.

California: Food Production Facility Manager
$60,000 to $100,000 salary
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Life, Dental
Come join our quickly growing team of over 40 employees in Oakland, Calif. We’re looking for a senior production manager to lead the large kitchen staff in our high volume cannabis edibles facility. Must have at least 5 years of experience in high volume wholesale bakery/kitchen management and/or in a wholesale food production facility management. You will be in charge of 20+ employees. Basic knowledge of cannabis edibles a plus.

Oregon: Sales / Marketing / Social Media Manager
$20,000 to $40,000 salary
Benefits: TBD
We are a medical and recreational grow facility in search of a sales and marketing professional with experience in the cannabis industry. We offer a very aggressive compensation package as well as bonus. Social media, i.e, FB, Twitter, Instagram, etc is a plus as well as website management.

California: Delivery Driver
$200 daily ($52,000 / year)
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
Oakland, Calif., edibles company seeks a full time long-distance delivery driver. You will maintain a tight schedule while making multiple stops around the state, reconciling invoice amounts and counting payments.

Trim Sourcer: Must have 'expert knowledge of levels of cannabis quality (A, B, C, and crap).'

Oregon: Cannabis Trim Sourcer
Compensation: Depends on Experience
Benefits: Vision, Medical, Dental
We are looking for a passionate and professional individual to fill the role of Expert Cannabis Trim Sourcer. This individual will be sourcing cannabis trim throughout Oregon in large quantities for our rapidly expanding Portland-based company with a state of the art extraction facility. This individual must be extremely well connected in the cannabis community with expert knowledge of levels of cannabis quality (A, B, C, and crap). Must be able to negotiate, interpret test results, be motivated, trustworthy, have strong social skills, and be a team player.

California: Budtender
$ 15.00 to $ 18.00 per hour
Benefits: TBD
We are a leading medical marijuana dispensary in San Jose, Calif., seeking exceptional customer-service representatives for full-time positions. The ideal candidate will be sharp, upbeat, disciplined, honest, detail-oriented and have a strong work ethic. He or she must have genuine customer-service skills and be able to communicate effectively and strictly follow company procedures. Your duties will vary and may include welcoming members; processing and verifying new-member applications; educating and counseling members about the various types of products offered; processing payments and documenting transactions; setting up and closing shifts; trimming flowers; and light cleaning / maintenance. College experience and knowledge of POS software preferred but not required. Background checks with the San Jose Police Department are a condition of employment. 

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Bruce Barcott
Bruce Barcott
Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.
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