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In Spite of Struggles, Cannabis Jobs Market Still Getting Stronger

Cannabis Jobs Market Getting Stronger
Photo Dan Curtis for Cannabis Now


In Spite of Struggles, Cannabis Jobs Market Still Getting Stronger

A report shows popular positions and a trend towards seasonal work.

The cannabis industry is still struggling to recover from the sluggish sales, layoffs and all the other dark day mayhem that has presented itself over the past year or so due to the still vibrant underground market. But that doesn’t mean that these setbacks, some of which really turned the screws in recent months, have tortured the industry to the point of going stagnant. In fact, in spite of some companies being forced to terminate hundreds of positions to stay afloat, a recent report from Vangst shows that the cannabis-related job market continues grow. So for anyone still searching for gainful employment through the cultivation and sale of marijuana, keep those resumes polished because a flourishing new career might be around the corner.

Sure, there have been setbacks, and the cannabis industry might not be rocking it out at the god-sized proportions that it anticipated, but there is still enough momentum out there to keep food on the table for hundreds of thousands of workers. Believe it or not, the job market increased by nearly 80% since 2018. It’s a trend, which is now paying the rent for around 211,000 employees, that is expected to continue getting stronger over the next couple of years. And if the report holds any weight, that could bring 414,000 new jobs to the U.S. cannabis scene by 2021.

So, what kind of jobs are out there to be had? Well, the report shows that cultivation techs, bud trimmers, budtenders, brand ambassadors, directors of cultivation and delivery drivers are in high demand. But, much like other business sectors, the cannabis trade is also on the prowl for seasonal workers and freelancers to fill in the blanks. Vangst says these positions could make up 40% of the cannabis workforce within the next year. The takeaway here is that there isn’t any reason that motivated people of varying skill sets cannot find a place in the world of weed.

Still, some are afraid of it.

Job seekers are reluctant to get involved with the cannabis trade, the report shows. Although the federal government hasn’t swooped in to make life hard for the industry since it got underway, Vangst says many workers are simply opting to wait until the herb is federally legal to get in on the action. The reason for this standoffish attitude, at least concerning professional careers, like CPAs and attorneys, is due to concerns that any affiliation with the cannabis industry might cost them their license. This has made it tougher for cannabis firms to recruit leading talent.

The industry is also struggling to hang on to the workers it already has. The industry is dealing with a significant turnover rate for hourly positions in both the cultivation centers and retail shops. People are seeing that growing weed is real work, and that selling it isn’t all that different from any other retail sales position. So unless cannabis firms come to the table with competitive wages and benefits, many workers eventually hit the road in search of greener pastures.

But this only provides more opportunity for those folks serious about getting in on the ground floor of this new industry.

“While there is still some reluctance from the workforce to make the switch, there are plenty of forward thinkers ready to write history and shape the future of the industry,” the report reads.

Finding work in weed can be tough, though. Because it is such a new industry and one that is mostly built from the ground up each time a state legalizes for medicinal or recreational use, it can be challenging for folks to track down the proper resources to run a fruitful job search. Of course, a really motivated individual could make with the cold calling or scour the Internet listings in hopes of finding a position, but cannabis job fairs might be the best route to go for making real contacts. These events are usually hosted by a company (or even a few companies) desperate to immediately recruit good people. It gives companies the chance to meet with hundreds of applicants at a time while allowing the job seeker an efficient outlet for submitting their resume. 

Taking in the cannabis job fairs in your area could be worthwhile, too. Vangst shows that even at the lower end of the spectrum, unskilled laborers are earning between $12.40 to $26.75 per hour. Meanwhile, skilled and professional positions can bring salaries ranging from $35,000 to $152,000 annually. What’s more is a lot more of these companies are offering health insurance and retirement plans.

TELL US, have you considered working in the cannabis industry? What job would you like to do?

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