In many service professions, it is common just to hire whoever looks good, has good customer service skills, or has a little bit of experience in a similar job. These are the jobs that we often, sometimes unfairly, refer to as “unskilled labor.” However, in the world of legal cannabis, it is becoming common practice for dispensaries to want to hire budtenders who have plenty of knowledge of medicine or business practice, and who are ambitious and really want to rise in the industry. This is undoubtedly a product of this growing industry and the potential it has to launch all kinds of trade jobs into full scale careers.
A recent job fair in Chicago put on by Hemp Staff saw many aspiring budtenders lining up who were not your typical cannabis job seekers. Many came from the medical profession, or showed up because they are up-and-coming entrepreneurs and want to learn the ropes from the bottom up.
"There's a ton of interest," Rosie Yagielo, who serves as vice president of Hemp Staff, told the Chicago Tribune. She stated that the goal of the company with events like this is to give all the interested people a "fighting chance to get into a new industry." Yagielo also gives out a quiz at the end of each session, on which potential employees must receive at least 75% on in order to be considered for a position with the companies seeking applicants. Her goal is to make sure that each of the people selected are ready for interviews and familiar with the products that will be sold.
"We'll only employ people that have pharmacist-in-charge experience, so someone who has run a pharmacy," explained Joseph Friedman, who currently runs a dispensary in Lake County and was at the fair looking for potential new workers. His goal is to start a business model that operates on the same level as existing licensed pharmacies.
One of these aspiring applicants was John Reininger, who is currently employed in a hospital oncology department. He would like to learn about the medical marijuana industry in order to be able to suggest a "more natural drug” for the patients he sees every day.
"We think (medical marijuana) is a great concept," added a nurse who attended the program looking for potential employment training who wished to remain anonymous. "Even as nurses we approach medicine holistically."
"You'll find a lot of people won't be able to make the jump from knowing a lot about marijuana in their personal lives to making a career out of it," stated Chris Walsh, the current managing editor of Marijuana Business Media, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. "What you find with these businesses is that they are like any other businesses," he said. "They start operating and people forget about them. They work their way into the fabric of the community."
There are resources online and in most major cities where cannabis is legal or medical in order to find out about new and exciting opportunities in the marijuana industry. You can try our list of jobs at 420careers.com, or check Craigslist or your local listing of available opportunities in order to see which places are looking for help. All of these opportunities will be different in terms of pay, the job being suggested, and qualifications, but as a general rule of thumb, dispensaries are looking for people without a criminal record, and with a passion for the plant, and a background in pharmacy or medical work and customer service.
As the industry continues to grow, more and more opportunities in the cannabis world will present themselves. If you have the right skillset and background, you just may be able to take advantage of one of some of these and make medical or recreational marijuana your new career.