6 cannabis careers that could be your next big break

people in cannabis careers in field

The cannabis industry continues to expand. 38 states now have some type of legal marijuana, with more coming online every year. And careers in the space have exploded. There are now more cannabis industry workers in America than dentists, according to the Leafly jobs report.

With over 428,000 full-time equivalent jobs, many people wonder how they can start working in weed. From high-paying corporate positions to entry-level gigs, there’s a cannabis career for pretty much anyone.

For those seeking a job in the newly minted marijuana market, these six positions are in sky-high demand.

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Cultivation facility team lead

It takes a lot of work to grow good cannabis. Between watering and feeding plants, harvesting and bucking, and trimming cured buds, there are several steps from seed to sale.

Many cultivation facilities rely on automation for some of the tasks at hand. But a crew of people is still needed to ensure things run smoothly. From keeping rooms sanitary to monitoring environmental controls, there’s plenty to do. Working at a grow is hard work, and running a crew can be even more difficult. 

Cultivation managers are crucial. They keep tabs on standard operating procedures and ensure plants are healthy. If not for the team lead, the facility may face low yields and subpar product.

Extraction technician

Another space that requires precision and efficiency is the extraction laboratory. Concentrated cannabis is used in edibles, tinctures, vape carts, and other products, meaning it’s always in high demand.

Extraction technicians operate special equipment designed to separate the active ingredients in cannabis from the plant. This may include hydrocarbon processes like butane hash oil or water-based extraction such as live rosin. With the never-ending need for cannabis oil, these jobs are a big part of the supply chain.

Community educator

The cannabis learning curve is steep. For the average American, figuring out what products exist and what to pick is a mind-boggling experience. The mere idea of going into a dispensary can be overwhelming. All this creates a real need for compassionate and empathetic educators.

Patient consultants, community educators, and plant experts help connect the dots for the canna-curious. They may provide classes or one-on-one meetings that create a safe space for people to learn. Some brands are even opting to create their own in-house specially trained teams that visit places like senior living communities (coupons in hand).

These stewards of the plant reach people on their level, opening doors and sharing knowledge.

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Retail manager

Dispensaries are the cornerstone of the cannabis industry. good retail experiences create customer loyalty—and repeat purchases. Given that Americans spend more money on cannabis than chocolate, the competition for those coveted dollars is fierce.

A retail manager is responsible for curating the perfect environment for sales. They also have the important (yet less exciting) responsibility of compliance. Legal dispensaries are highly regulated, and one misstep could put a license in jeopardy. The retail manager ensures every base is covered while simultaneously setting the standard for a positive and profitable customer experience.

Account executive

Whether a cannabis brand or a service provider, there needs to be someone in charge of growing and maintaining client rosters. Salespeople and account executives promote business development and customer retention, often resulting in a commission. The job can be high-pressure but lead to sweet rewards.

Account executives must be creative, nimble, and motivated. As mentioned above, competition in cannabis can be stiff. But when successful, a good salesperson can help the company grow and thrive.

Demand generation lead

In order for account executives to have clients, the demand for their product or service has to come from somewhere. This is where demand generation comes in. 

A form of marketing, demand generation creates a customer journey funnel that relies on data to encourage conversion. This may include pay-per-click ads, e-commerce, search engine optimization, or targeted email campaigns. 

According to a recent survey, 30 percent of consumers think “every cannabis brand is pretty much the same.” Demand generation leaders can help shift the narrative to help the company stand out and land a sale.

As federal marijuana legalization inches closer, the number of cannabis jobs is likely to increase. Newcomers should remember it doesn’t take industry experience to succeed in the space. Instead, consider your skillset and what sector it best serves. You could be in the green sooner than you think.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter