Jobs the Marijuana Industry Is Creating

Job benefits and pay in this industry are like other traditional industries. One legal or regulatory violation can lead to an immediate company shutdown. In May 2023, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority immediately shut down a marijuana producer. That business had 200 untagged cannabis plants and five trash bags of untraceable harvested marijuana.

Cannabis jobs in the United States are increasing as the legalization of marijuana grows at the state level. The cannabis job creation boom is expected to continue for some time.

If you are starting a job search in the legal cannabis industry, it is helpful to know the types of cannabis jobs that exist.

Jobs in the cannabis market can focus on production, retail sales, or management roles. Depending on the job, you may focus on medical marijuana or recreational marijuana. Job applicants must undergo background checks. You may not be able to work in the cannabis space if you had felonies within the past five years. Violent felonies or crimes involving Schedule I or Schedule II drugs will make you unable to work with cannabis.

Types of Cannabis Jobs

In 2023, the Vangst Job Report found that there are 417,493 full-time cannabis industry jobs. The Vangst report, in partnership with Whitney Economics and Leafly, found the cannabis industry gained jobs during the pandemic.

The best career advice for someone seeking a cannabis industry job is to learn about state laws and regulations. The marijuana industry is fast growing. Every day brings new jobs.

The list below includes cannabis industry jobs in states where adult-use marijuana or medical marijuana is legal. Every job or role in a cannabis business requires a strict background check. You must also be 21 years old to work in a cannabis business. Some marijuana jobs are entry-level or part-time. Most want you to have a strong understanding of cannabis products, medical cannabis, and the legal marijuana industry.

Types of cannabis jobs include:

  • Grower/master grower/cannabis cultivator/cannabis processor
  • Director of Cultivation/Director of Extraction
  • Cannabis producer or manufacturer
  • Cannabis packager
  • Marijuana plant or product transportation/home delivery driver
  • Retail employee/cannabis dispensary representative/"budtender"/cannabis sales
  • Brand ambassador
  • Edibles chef
  • Extraction technician
  • Marijuana dispensary store manager
  • Customer service
  • Lab technician/scientist/research team/cannabis compliance manager
  • Marijuana plant engineer
  • Director of operations/cannabis operations associate
  • Business manager
  • Dispensary manager or dispensary owner

Salary and job growth prospects for these roles tend to vary. A job at a new cannabis startup may have a lower salary than the same job at an established small business.

Secondary Jobs in the Cannabis Industry

Besides direct employment in a marijuana business, jobs are also available for:

  • Attorneys
  • Media and marketing firms
  • Market research firms
  • Accountants
  • Consultants
  • Outside sales representatives
  • Tracking software developers
  • Website developers
  • Security and law enforcement

The agriculture industry also has cannabis-related jobs. These jobs include equipment creation and rentals, pesticides, and fertilizer products.

Legal Aspects of Working for the Marijuana Industry

There are also many other concerns to consider. For example, cannabis businesses must have proper licenses renewed on time for drivers. Proper training for retail employees is also essential. The business must also display and sell products in the correct amounts and packaging.

State or federal laws can offer incentives to businesses. If these laws create a backlash from the public, governments will backtrack. This leads to hasty withdrawals of the benefits cannabis entrepreneurs relied upon. The marijuana industry can also have negative impacts on legal immigrant workers. Citizenship is sometimes denied because their jobs are in the marijuana industry.

Federal Law Regulates Operations in the Cannabis Industry

Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Thus, there are always concerns connected to any job in the cannabis industry. Most state marijuana businesses require full disclosure of the illegal nature of their business to their employees. They also make employees sign documentation acknowledging that they understand this illegality. Employees should know that by signing disclosures, they admit to breaking federal law. Before signing any document, employees should seek clarification from an outside-the-company business attorney.

Cannabis Business Restrictions that Affect Employees

These are a few federally regulated areas specific to marijuana businesses. These types of issues could affect business owners, employees, or job seekers in the industry.

Tax Issues

Entrepreneurs often do not get tax breaks because of IRS Section 280E, which requires payments of large federal tax amounts. This rule intends to break up illegal drug cartels. It also happens to apply to legal cannabis businesses. Learn more about other tax issues that may apply.

Payroll Issues

Banks once balked at opening accounts or giving loans to marijuana industry businesses. Thanks to the SAFE Banking Act, this has begun to change. Marijuana businesses no longer have to operate as cash-only organizations. This means there is less risk of robbery. Another benefit is that it lessens income-related issues, such as late payments to employees.

Advertising and Regulations

Marketing and media roles also have strict rules for advertising and sample programs. For example, it is illegal to advertise weed on Facebook or Instagram, or anywhere there are minors.

Disability Access

You may want to consider making your dispensary disability and accessibility friendly. Many cannabis customers use marijuana for medical conditions and may need these accommodations. Whether selling medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, there are complex regulations to learn.

Workers' Compensation for Injuries

There are risks on the job like any other. The federal Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works to investigate on-site accidents. OSHA also monitors on-the-job hazards related to the cannabis industry. If you get hurt on the job, you should find a workers' compensation attorney for a free case evaluation. This will ensure your injury in the cannabis industry receives fair compensation.

Federal Employment Protection

The federal government offers employees protection from discrimination through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Since the marijuana industry is illegal at the federal level, these protections may not be available.

Always Keep It Legal

Cannabis industry employees still need to obey employment policies. This includes drug testing, drug, and no-smoking policies. Laws against harassment and discrimination still apply as well. There are regulations to follow for refusing or denying customers products or services.

Even if the industry gives off a relaxed, pro-smoking vibe, cannabis businesses are still businesses. Many need to go the extra mile to stay compliant and avoid legal scandals. Hiring managers take job openings seriously, and applicants should too.

If You Have Concerns About a Job Offer, Ask About Your Legal Options

Prospective employees need to protect themselves from cannabis companies that do not follow regulations. The federal government closely watches this industry. Any slip-ups in business standards can cost employees much more than their jobs. They may be liable for criminal charges if not careful.

Before entering the cannabis industry, you may want to consider speaking with a cannabis law attorney. This can help you understand unique compliance laws. It is good to know where to turn if you feel a business action is illegal. An attorney can help review your employment contract, handle injuries on the job, and protect you from mistakes made by businesses.

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DIY Forms for Cannabis Business

Restrictive federal laws and ever-changing state laws make the marijuana industry a dynamic environment for cannabis business owners. Before you open a cannabis business, make sure it is legal in your state, and follow your state laws. Once you decide on an LLC, S-corp, or C-corp business, you can register your business entity online using DIY business formation forms.

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