By the end of 2023, annual US cannabis sales are estimated to pass $31.8 billion. Despite some economic downturn and a few setbacks for states seeking to legalize cannabis, the industry continues to persist.
In 2022, 3 new states voted to legalize adult and recreational use, bringing the total to 21 states plus Washington DC. Mississippi became the 37th state to legalize access to medical marijuana, while more than half a dozen other states passed new protections for cannabis consumers and businesses.
At least four more states are expected to attempt to legalize adult recreational use in 2023, a sign that the industry is certainly still on the up and up. More than 400,000 people are employed by the US cannabis industry, with numbers and demand increasing daily. Now is still the time to join this exciting, fast-moving world, especially with more opportunities available than ever before.
Considering the obvious lack of legitimate cannabis careers just a few years ago, the industry today is almost miraculous. Hemp Temps has placed more than 16,500 people, helping to staff some of the best and most innovative cultivation facilities, dispensaries, labs, and edibles kitchens in the country. If you’ve been waiting to start your career in cannabis, don’t wait any longer—make 2023 your year to join this exciting young industry!
Human Resources Careers in Cannabis
Despite being well-established in most respects, cannabis is still considered an emerging industry. With hundreds of thousands of people working professionally in the cannabis industry, there is an obvious need for human resources professionals to enter the conversation. Although human resources might look a little different in the cannabis industry, Hemp Temps is excited to be at the forefront of filling and advising for these positions.
The most common cannabis job title you’ll come across is “Trimmer.” As an entry-level position, trimmers often do not have previous experience in the industry, so this is a great place to start.
A trimmer’s job description is simple, but somewhat tedious: remove buds from stems and trim buds to remove large leaves. Removing excess material is both for aesthetics and to remove sugar leaves and other unusable plant material. To reduce waste, trimmers must be fast, precise, and detail-oriented.
Harvesting—or cultivation—is another entry level position accessible to industry newcomers, but this job requires you to be a little more technically exacting and physical. Harvesters and cultivators assist growers by caring for and harvesting growing cannabis crops, unlike trimmers who only focus on the already dried plants.
Cultivators/harvesters may spend extended periods of time outside, and they should not be intimidated by dirt. It’s not uncommon for trimmers to move forward to become harvesters or cultivators, though it’s not necessary to start as a trimmer to get a harvesting position.
Plant & Cultivation Maintenance
Cannabis cultivators rely on a wide range of tools and advanced technologies to create the perfect growing conditions for their plants. Cultivation maintenance professionals help to keep these systems running smoothly, and are generally experienced in either cultivation and/or technology maintenance.
Cannabis Extractors & Technicians
An extractor technician operates the equipment used to extract concentrated THC oils from cannabis buds. Maintaining equipment, ordering materials, and keeping the extraction area clean, organized, and ready for use are some of the duties of technicians. It is also crucial that technicians understand laboratory safety and procedures, so many companies prefer applicants with a science background.
In the cannabis industry, master extractors are the highest-paid professionals. To extract cannabinoids from a cannabis plant successfully, master extractors may need years of training and experience. Besides overseeing and managing the extractor process, master extractors have the responsibility of training, enforcing safety standards, and overseeing technicians. Due to the technical nature of this position, master extractors typically have a Master’s or PhD in a related field, along with years of technician experience.
Cooking or baking is a great way to get into cannabis, and edibles chefs are in high demand. To ensure their products are delicious, safe, and effective, edibles chefs must have a high level of skill in cooking and maintain strict control over precisely dosed cannabis-derived ingredients. Chefs who are meticulous find success in this job, where precision is key.
To ensure safety and precision, edibles chefs may need to be certified in culinary cannabis and edibles. During these programs, students learn about plant anatomy, math and measurements, terpenes, the endocannabinoid system, safety, and more.
Product Packing & Gramming
As part of preventing contamination and maintaining cannabis safety regulations, cannabis companies must adhere to strict packaging rules. Before being shipped out to dispensaries across the country, every product is individually packaged, often by hand.
A product packer is an entry-level employee who packages recently finished products for sale in close cooperation with trimmers or edible chefs. As part of packaging, an employee may also perform “gramming” work, which involves carefully weighing and portioning the product. The duties of a product packer are relatively simple, requiring little or no prior experience.
Cannabis careers typically take place behind the scenes, growing, preparing, analyzing, and selling marijuana. In contrast to many of these positions, budtenders make most of their time talking face-to-face with customers about cannabis and their needs. It may seem easy to describe what budtenders do: they talk to people and know a lot about weed. But don’t be fooled by this job description—you’ll need a lot of knowledge to land this job.
Educating their customers about cannabis and cannabis products is a huge part of what budtenders do. You’ll not only need to know all the products on sale but also be able to explain them to people with varying levels of cannabis knowledge.
Retail or team management experience might qualify you for a position as a dispensary manager. Every aspect of running a dispensary is overseen by dispensary managers. Dispensary managers perform a variety of tasks each day, depending on where they work and how their dispensaries are operated. However, some of the most common tasks they perform include:
- Keeping the dispensary’s property clean and safe at all times
- Taking action on state or municipal inspectors’ comments, criticisms, or instructions
- Managing product inventory, including sales goals, pricing, and management of product orders.
- Recruitment, hiring, and training of new employees
- Scheduling employees
- Interacting with customers/patients
An ideal dispensary manager will have previous experience in the cannabis industry, excellent customer service skills, enjoy working with people, and be highly reliable. It is imperative that you can handle stress in a confident, graceful manner since you are essentially the leader of the group. Anyone who works in a dispensary can tell you how the attitude of the manager can make or break the team’s success.
Cultivation Consultation Careers
Managing a cannabis business can be challenging, especially when municipal, state, and federal laws often conflict. A cannabis consultant can help cannabis companies navigate these many factors. Some cannabis consultants come from legal and financial backgrounds, while others have extensive cannabis industry knowledge.
Consultants for cannabis businesses help their clients find and approve locations, obtain necessary licenses, and ensure safety regulations are followed. A cannabis consultant should also be able to help businesses stay in compliance with local laws, and be familiar with state-monitored inventory systems like METRC, BioTrack, and others. Expertise and experience are essential for cannabis consultants, and they should be able to handle a variety of roles and responsibilities for different cannabis businesses.
How To Start a Career in Cannabis
Don’t wait to start your search for the perfect job with Hemp Temps if a career in cannabis sounds right for you. Our goal at Hemp Temps is to match our applicants with exciting career opportunities like the ones listed above. You can apply for cannabis jobs with Hemp Temps whether you have experience or are looking for your first cannabis job. We can’t wait to work with you!