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The Most In-Demand Cannabis Careers by City

May 7, 2018
(Elysse Feigenblatt/Leafly)
In the next 10 years, cannabis is estimated to be a $57 billion industry. While there are currently only a quarter of a million Americans who hold part- or full-time jobs in the cannabis sector, employment opportunities will grow as the market continues to expand.

Last year, for instance, job postings increased by an astounding 445 percent within the cannabis industry. To give you a sense of the explosive change, the year-over-year cannabis jobs growth in 2016 was just 18 percent.


How Many Jobs Depend on Legal Cannabis in 2017? We Did the Math

Cannabis careers are outpacing healthcare and tech openings, so where are all of these jobs? The largest growth is in states that legalized in 2016 and have had time to build up to the latest hiring sprees, but there are a few budding markets, too. Here are the most in-demand cannabis positions in the country’s top 10 markets, as identified by ZipRecruiter.


Los Angeles, CA

The job: Cannabis Experience Expert

West Hollywood is accepting licenses for consumption clubs, and this neighborhood will be in need of experienced cannabis consumers who know how to run a restaurant and create an entertaining environment for enjoying cannabis. (Think night club promoter meets event coordinator.)

San Francisco, CA

The job: Compliance Expert

Since California’s adult-use market debuted on January 1st of this year, hundreds of cease-and-desist letters have been sent to illegal operators throughout the state. Compliance experts will be in charge of identifying which businesses are operating legally and which are not. The state is also in the process of reviewing nearly 8,000 felony and misdemeanor charges sentenced as recently as 1975. Any offenses that fall under the state’s new cannabis legalization laws will be removed from people’s records.


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Santa Barbara, CA

The job: Investors

Santa Barbara County has more cultivation licenses—737—than any other in the US. With all of those new greenhouses in the pipeline, there comes a need for another type of green. It’s a sure bet these businesses are seeking additional investors.

San Jose, CA

The job: Tech Entrepreneurs

San Jose is known for being the land of tech startups. Those startups’ new neighbors could use app developers’ know-how to create resource protocols, best practices, or point-of-sale software. As seen recently in Washington state, security and traceability are also growing concerns for the industry. There is no shortage of problems that need to be solved within the tech sector.


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Pacific Northwest

Portland, OR

The job: Accountant

Knowledge is power—and the difference between keeping your dispensary doors open or shuttered. Dispensaries in Portland are getting busted for tax evasion every year, and accountants who are familiar with IRS section 280E will thrive while others remain at the base of the learning curve.

Seattle, WA

The job: State Inspector

Washington will be hiring inspectors to evaluate compliance at cannabis companies. Earlier this year, the state announced businesses will need to pay an annual fee of $895 to produce cannabis-infused edibles. Money collected from these fees will be used to enforce the state’s sanitary processing requirements.


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West Region

Denver, CO

The job: Business Strategist

With more dispensaries than Starbucks in Denver, many cannabis business owners will need strategists to ensure their facilities remain appealing to customers. Marketers, event planners, and business development specialists will all be paramount to staying afloat in a sea of competition.

Las Vegas, NV

The job: Show Stoppers

As with any new industry—or one that is recovering from decades of misinformation and taboo—it’s important to educate the public and consumers. Is there a better way to do that than through entertainment? A cannabis museum called Cannabition is expected to launch in downtown Las Vegas this summer, taking on a valuable role for the industry.


How to turn a college degree into a cannabis industry career


Miami, FL

The job: Lobbyists and attorneys

Florida’s cannabis industry is on hold due to litigation. Miami needs local lobbyists and attorneys to work with regulators and advocate for the industry in the meantime.

Tallahassee, FL

The job: Patient Care Coordinator

Also known as budtenders, patient care coordinators help with the intake process at a dispensary. While the Florida cannabis industry seems to be bogged down with litigation right now, Tallahassee will be opening three locations to serve the metro’s patients. While that may not seem like many compared to other booming markets, this is the biggest opportunity for Tallahassee residents looking to break in to the cannabis space.

Sara Gullickson's Bio Image

Sara Gullickson

Sara Gullickson is a cannabis consultant who has helped launch medical cannabis dispensaries in more than a dozen U.S. states over the last eight years–sometimes in as little as six months. She is the founder and CEO of Dispensary Permits, one of the oldest medical cannabis consulting firms in the country, and COO of Strive Wellness.

View Sara Gullickson's articles

  • Jay Hansen

    Do the growers and horticulturists not count for anything?

    • NV Cannabis Packaging


  • NV Cannabis Packaging

    Wow…I’ll have to tell a few hundred friends their contributions here in Vegas don’t cut it! Lol! What the hell is show stoppers!? Do a little more research

    • Jay Hansen

      Remember where we are. The land of bourgeoisity.

  • Susan Pinto Johnstone

    I am a HR Director that would love to help the industry to shape and enhance the employees experience while improving the bottom line of employers. That would be my dream!

  • Paul Klink

    Where is Hawaii? We have an up and coming cannabis industry having been the first state to legalize medical use in 2000. Were always the forgotten step child in Paradise. Aloha Lives, Paul

    • Calireefer

      Pretty sure California legalized medical use in 1996, which would come before 2000.

  • calvet11

    Die Spammer!

  • calvet11

    Show stoppers !, really? What I would like is some down to earth pricing in Nevada we are not all drunk out of towners.

    • Talira K.

      Well said!!!shaglochyahooVivaNevada!!!

  • Joe Bailey

    We have been accountants in the industry for years. Not sure why they removed my comment letting people know this. Soooo, accountants are in crazy demand, but if I let someone know I am an accountant with the specific experience, I get my comment deleted? lol. BC Consulting , hit us up and we can actually help you if you are in need

    • HipJipC

      I’m pretty sure your comment got deleted because most advertising isn’t free and they don’t belong in comment sections.

  • Autumn Marshall

    Nothing in Arizona?

  • Joella Kandece Kent

    First thing I noticed was, wow they have something here in my town. Nope. Might move that pin for Miami. Because its not correct. So I didn’t even bother to read it. But I am fairly certain there are errors elsewhere in the map, and the article itself. I don’t have time to fact check you. I was interested in some true facts. Thanks bye.

  • Jack THC Herar

    So I am in the legal industry in FL but I don’t do anything yet related to lobbying or cannabis. Could really use some connections. Also willing to travel to WA state to live in Seattle and be a state inspector. An awesome job – unless you are prohibiting from consumption, that is.

  • horsemannv

    Why does Reno and other parts of Nevada not deserve some sort of research and comment? Consistently, whether one is looking for product availability or availability of jobs, Reno doesn’t get even a small nod. Las Vegas due to its population (read disposable income both local and tourist) always makes the list.