5 Useful Tactics for Breaking into the Cannabis Industry

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Proven Approaches to Jumpstart Your Budding Career


Are you eager to launch your cannabis industry career but feeling overwhelmed by the plethora of opportunities? The cannabis industry is booming, with a projected worth of $50 billion by 2026, making it an exciting field to explore. In this article, we dig into what it takes to break into the sector, empowering you to make an informed decision about your future and providing considerations to advance your journey. 

Understanding the Cannabis Industry Demands

To embark on a successful path, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals. This industry has seen rapid growth in recent years and is growing at a steadily explosive rate. Diverse roles are available, spanning cultivation, extraction, retail, and marketing. Each of these roles demands distinct qualifications and experiences, underscoring the importance of thorough research before pursuing any opportunities. 

Let’s explore five useful tactics for breaking into the cannabis industry while setting yourself up for a successful, grounded career. 

Tip #1 – Know Your Local Cannabis Laws & Regulations

An indispensable first step is to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations governing cannabis in your state and neighboring regions. Cannabis legality varies globally, making it crucial to be well-informed before seeking employment. Delve into the different types of licenses available, as each type necessitates unique qualifications and prerequisites.

You can discover more about these regulations through researching your unique state laws. 

Tip #2 – Harness the Power of Networking

Finding cannabis industry careers often involves unconventional networking methods. Engage with cannabis communities on social media platforms, connect with professionals on LinkedIn, and be prepared with an engaging elevator pitch. Seek out specialized job boards and consider joining cannabis-focused professional organizations, such as Illinois Women in Cannabis (pictured above), to broaden your opportunities.  

Put yourself out there at cannabis events & experiences, discoverable through newsletters from organizations like EventHi. Try to make time to attend new dispensary openings and brand launch events in your area. Make appearance at ticketed consumption events with business cards in-hand to meet and learn from influential players in the space.  

Industry conferences such as MJUnpacked, MJBizCon, Hall of Flowers, orBenzinga are ideal to gain a higher level of understanding of the sector and maximize your reach, however they can be pricey. These large-scale events feature brands from all areas within the industry, important speaker sessions, valuable lectures, and curated micro-events that provide an intimate setting to make real connections.  

Tip #3 – Showcase Your Expertise Online

When pursuing a career in the cannabis industry, highlight your expertise and achievements prominently. Employers often appreciate candidates with a foundation in relevant areas like agriculture, horticulture, and business. It’s crucial to showcase your accomplishments online, with a particular focus on platforms like LinkedIn, where the cannabis community can engage in open conversations without the constraints of censorship found on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

If you possess specialized skills such as marketing or finance proficiency, make sure to prominently feature them on your resume. Additionally, emphasize transferable skills such as customer service, project management, event planning, accounting, supply chain logistics, negotiations, and public speaking, showcasing your versatility in dynamic sectors.

Establishing a strong online presence will not only make you more visible to potential employers but also demonstrate your commitment and engagement within the thriving cannabis industry.

Tip #4 – Think Outside the Plant

Transferrable skills serve as a powerful catalyst, propelling individuals from diverse backgrounds into thriving roles within this burgeoning sector. By recognizing the industry’s need for a broad range of expertise, one can strategically navigate entry points, with ancillary businesses emerging as lucrative gateways.

From HVAC systems to interior design, journalism to finance, and law, the cannabis sector mirrors other operations in its demand for diverse resources. The key lies in leveraging your existing skills and expertise to seamlessly transition into this ever-evolving industry. Opportunities abound for professionals ranging from data engineering to events and marketing, highlighting the industry’s multifaceted nature.

Consider the following scenarios as evidence of the industry’s openness to a spectrum of skills:

  1. Supply Chain: A candidate with a background in supply chain operations becomes a coveted asset, seamlessly integrating into any cannabis organization requiring sourcing processes. 
  2. Construction: Professionals with a background in construction find a natural fit within vertically integrated companies or retail brands looking to enhance or expand their facilities.
  3. Facilities Management: Individuals skilled in facilities management are ideal candidates for ancillary packaging plants that play a pivotal role in producing containers for cannabis products. 

By recognizing the applicability of transferable skills, individuals can position themselves as indispensable contributors to the cannabis industry

Tip #5 – Embrace Adaptability

The cannabis industry is characterized by continuous evolution. It’s chock-full of frequent regulatory changes and retail, brand and operational shifts. Emphasize planning, prioritization, and agility over perfection. In an imperfect industry, striving for perfection will hinder progress and inevitably lead to burnout!

“It’s about rechanneling a strength of yours rather than aiming for a lower goal.” Your aim is to take “some of the pressure off yourself,” says Alice Boyes, a former clinical psychologist and author of The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit.

Embarking on a cannabis industry career may seem daunting, but with a strategic approach and consistency, you can attain success. Conduct thorough research, expand your network, and prominently showcase your qualifications and experiences to enhance your prospects. By adopting the right mindset and staying true to yourself, you can make your mark in this industry sooner than you imagine. 

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