If five years ago you told people you were working—or wanted to work in—the booming cannabis industry, you probably would have been met with a lot of strange looks, questions about job stability, and questions such as “what cannabis industry?” Even 10 years ago, the idea of cannabis legalization was considered a pipe dream or a hot-button election topic to garner votes.
But here we sit in 2022, with the cannabis landscape much greener in both the literal and figurative senses. One of the most appealing aspects is the dozens of sectors to choose from, meaning your career in cannabis can be extremely personalized to your interests and skills. With sectors like farming, marketing, packaging, shipping, food and beverage production, tourism, and more, the cannabis industry has something for everyone.
Working in cannabis can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for many, but where do you even begin when joining this fast-moving, ever-changing landscape? We got some insight from Amanda Jamieson, Indiva’s Human Resource Specialist, on what hiring managers in the cannabis industry might be looking for.
“Overall, the cannabis industry doesn’t differ from any other industry when it comes to applying for jobs. You need to have relatable, recent, and relevant experience,” Jamieson said. “While I can’t speak for other LPs, Indiva does typically tend to look for candidates with CPG [Consumer Packaged Goods] experience.”
Jamieson added the best way to get the job you want is to emphasize the relevant expertise you may have in the area to which you’re applying. “If you’re looking for a job in marketing, don’t highlight all of your financial experience,” she said. “My tip is always to tailor your resume to the job posting and company.”
The application process may be similar to any other job, but questions about the experience of working in the cannabis industry come up frequently. Jamieson said in many cases it’s a fast-paced environment that changes quickly, which is no doubt because the industry itself was not legalized until 2018. Everyone is still navigating the ups and downs as cannabis continues to become part of everyday society and grows its customer base. But, even though it can be stressful, working in cannabis can be rewarding, especially when everyone you work with is reaching for the same goal.
“It is the most beautifully challenging industry I have ever had the pleasure of working in. I’ve been at Indiva for almost 3 years, and I still love my job. I learn something new every single day,” said Jamieson.
Another common question is whether you need to be a cannabis user in order to work in the industry.
“Absolutely not,” Jamieson stressed. “Don’t get me wrong, having some personal experience doesn’t hurt, having background knowledge about the product can help in many ways, but it is not necessary.”
The types of jobs available in the cannabis industry have also changed. We reached out to Jerome Hoyte, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of White Ash Group, a busy cannabis recruiting company based in Ontario.
“When we first started, there were companies still waiting for cultivation licenses,” Hoyte said. “So obviously [in that scenario] you’re looking for a lot of growers, trimmers, and everyone else on the agricultural side.”
Hoyte added that since the industry has progressed, he’s seeing more job postings in the cannabis retail sector and positions in ancillary companies, such as cannabis manufacturers, as opposed to cultivation. “You’re looking at people on the extraction side, and [candidates] coming from the beer and beverage side,” said Hoyte.
There’s also been an influx of sales positions now that cannabis companies have matured past their initial growth stages. “A lot of the major LPs have their sales licenses, so they’re building sales teams. There are a lot more roles on the sales and marketing side.”
Whether you are a packager, a chef, a salesperson, an expert in finance, or some other vocation that is not even listed here, chances are there is something available in the industry for you. So, if you feel that it’s time for a change in employment, come say “high” to cannabis.