Want to work in weed? These job skills might translate

work in weed

Legalizing cannabis benefits people and the economy, and infusing jobs into the market is a big one. Cannabis provided almost 420,000 full-time U.S. jobs in 2023, which will only grow as additional states come online. As the space grows, jobs need to expand along with it, beckoning in more people who want to work in weed.

There are lots of reasons to join the cannabis workforce, from personal love for the plant to an interest in a nascent market. Whatever the reason, there’s space for talent in the industry.

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Delivery Logistics

Cannabis delivery isn’t available in every state, but those living in cities with weed delivery may consider switching to the space. Routing, establishing an order of operations, driving routes, and more are needed to keep a delivery running smoothly. Not everyone is built to drive all day, and routing complicated package drops is a skill. Those that have these superpowers are the bread and butter of these operations. Those with the ideal set of skills may find success at weed delivery.

General Contractors

Those with building experience may find a place in the cannabis cultivation space. Growing cannabis inside requires a specialized space that can sometimes be converted from a commercial space. However, many license holders build a space to fit regulations and plant needs.

General contractors with experience in cannabis cultivation will stand out in new markets, and those who want experience may have an opportunity to get some. A great space provides a solid foundation for growing amazing bud and talented contractors are needed to build one.

Graphic Design

Product packaging, sales materials, and promotional posters in retail stores are all better with a graphic designer. Remarkable design can help a brand or store stand out in an ever-growing sector. Graphic designers may prefer to freelance or run their own agency rather than look for a full-time gig at a dispensary or brand, though those unicorn jobs may exist.

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Weed is an agriculture-based industry, which means that cultivating amazing plants will remain at its heart. For employers, that translates into seeking those with experience in horticulture and agriculture. Cannabis cultivations are bountiful in size, methods, and location–there’s something for everyone. Find employers that use methods or grow at a scale in your experience for the most success.

Those with skills in flower, fruit, or vegetable cultivation may find their skills translate but don’t get cocky. Growing cannabis is specialized. Those working with its life cycle for the first time should listen to the master grower, soaking up every little secret about the plant.

Interior Design & Architecture

Retail establishments have outgrown reproducing the Apple store. Now, dispensaries are pushing the envelope. Interior designers and architects can make a space into functional art. That is what the cannabis industry needs to level up.

Design firms and architects who step into the cannabis space will have room to innovate, elevating the customer experience in the process.


One complaint in many markets is that once you find a product that works, it disappears from shelves forever. This can’t be helped for limited strain drops or collabs, but it shouldn’t happen due to retailer error.

Merchandisers ensure that product is stocked, backstock is ready or incoming, and inventory numbers match sales–that last bit is especially important in the highly regulated cannabis space. Workers with merchandising experience could bring high value to a cannabis dispensary that is getting off their feet or needing to get their act together.

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Cannabis retail is evolving past big walls of mylar bags hanging on pegs below a big screen TV depicting the menu. This retail culture isn’t going anywhere, but simultaneously, cannabis dispensaries are elevating the customer experience with luxurious interior design and intuitive shopping. That is where skilled merchandisers come in: the weed world is finally ready.

Web design and development

Brands, dispensaries, and ancillary cannabis companies need a great web design (among many other things) to stand out in 2024. Skilled developers keen on the upcoming design trends are valuable, and those with e-commerce experience are invaluable. Many brands are expanding into new states with hemp-THC products, opening up a new e-commerce market that was previously unavailable. This skill will go far in weed right now.


This is the ultimate versatile skill. Sales abilities translate into almost every industry, but mastering cannabis does take special knowledge. Those with sales experience, whether outside sales or retail, will find a home in the weed space.

Obviously, budtending makes sense for those with retail on the resume. However, everyone who wants to sell weed will benefit from at least a short stint behind the retail counter. There are tons of ways to use sales in cannabis, like outside sales for POS systems, acquiring wholesale accounts for brands, and more.

Hard mode: these skills may not translate…yet

Certain skills translate into the weed world, but others might not. These cannabis jobs aren’t recommended for the faint of heart.


Cannabis marketing is not the same animal as the traditional industry. From social media shutdowns and shadow banning to limited access to promoted ads and features–marketing in weed is challenging, to say the least. Those who come in to market the plant should be informed of these unique challenges compared to other CPG brands or retail establishments. Even publications and tech companies that don’t sell or even touch weed are often barred from traditional digital marketing tools. Marketing skills would be useful to any cannabis company, but the learning curve can be steep.

Human Resources

There’s no denying that many cannabis companies need a human resources department, but few have them. That’s because it’s a nascent space with very little overhead due to high taxation and regulatory costs (for starters). Those looking to jump over from corporate or traditional HR roles should prepare to be nimble. Offering HR consulting, or services may be more lucrative than seeking one full-time position at a company. However, as bigger players enter the space, this will change.

Forging a newer industry that’s slowly making its way into every state is often fun and exciting. That’s balanced with some bad parts of working in weed, like marketing woes and lack of HR in many operations. That said, there are lots of excellent roles to fill in the industry that require skills found in traditional operations. These specific jobs would translate into weed well, and there’s surely more. All you have to do is look.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.