More than thirty states have legalized medical or recreational cannabis since 2015 and small businesses are springing up in each one. Companies in this rapidly expanding industry are hiring for a broad range of areas including cultivation, product development, sales and marketing, accounting, logistics, manufacturing, and retail. That’s according to Liesl Bernard, chief executive of the California-based executive search and staffing firm CannabizTeam.“The job opportunities are really endless,” she said.
Bernard said it has been fascinating to see how far the cannabis industry has evolved in just the last two years. Back then, candidates were more likely to need some encouragement to make the seemingly risky career jump she said. “Today it has become the sexy industry to transition into.”
Some companies are turning to specialized executive search and staffing firms like Bernard’s to hire talent. “The cost of hiring the wrong employee is much higher than paying a recruiting fee,” said Bernard, “That usually also comes with a placement guarantee,” so if the person isn’t a good fit, the hiring firm will find another employee for the position.
While cannabis is not federally legal, and congress so far refuses to approve a bill that would allow marijuana businesses access to banks, state legalization and decriminalization is spreading. More than half of the American population lives in states where at least medical cannabis is legal. This year New Mexico and North Dakota are dipping their toes into the trend. Both decriminalized cannabis through their state legislatures.
Jobs in the industry can pay well. Glassdoor research showed an annual median salary for cannabis industry job openings of $58,511 which was almost 11% higher than the median salary for the rest of the country
Marijuana company founders are looking for employees who are innovative, flexible and have excellent communication skills said Bernard. “This industry is constantly changing so it is imperative to have the ability to adapt and adjust to those changes in a swift and nimble manner,” she said.
Beyond a candidate’s experience and education, the companies seek out prospects with a “can do” attitude. An employee may have excellent education and work experience from a large structured corporation, but may have a difficult time facing the challenges of a fast growing start-up, in a highly-regulated environment.
Experience in other industries can translate to the world of weed. People with experience in agriculture, food and beverage, production and distribution of consumer packaged goods, branding, legal compliance and finance are all sought after, said Bernard.