There couldn’t be a better time in history than now to break into the cannabis industry. This nascent business has been running underground for decades and already has a potent consumer base. But now that it’s being legalized, this industry is flexing its muscles for the first time and they are proving very strong.
According to a 2018 report issued by the Colorado Department of Revenue, cannabis sales have already hit $1.51 billion dollars. In Colorado, taxes collected from cannabis go to improving public schools and $300 million has already been collected and distributed to 27 school districts. 2018 figures from California (legalized cannabis on January 1, 2018) aren’t in yet but projections have them at a staggering $5.1 billion.
But to see where we are now we must look back to where it began. In 1996, California became the first state to approve medical marijuana use. Two decades later, Washington and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis use. What this meant for workers was a landfall as positions such as managers, lawyers, marketing specialists, inventory managers, and wellness consultants, just to mention a handful. In fact, the senior marketing manager at LeafLink, a digital marketplace for cannabis products, says “If you are a person who is looking to define an industry and create things for the first time, cannabis is a great place to be right now." Because the cannabis industry is currently at its most developed in the Western US, that region has more jobs to offer.
The cannabis industry has four predominant sectors. They include:
Cultivation – where people grow and tend to the marijuana plants. They come with expertise in botany.
Cultivation Site Manager
Cultivation Site Worker
Water Filtration Systems
Extraction – chemists and lab techs must process the flowers and leaves. They mix out the oils required to make cannabis products (pills, ointments, edibles, etc).
Retail – the point-of-purchase that allows customers to buy the products they want.
Ancillary Commerce – this is where people such as web developers, recruiters, and marketers ply their trades so that the first three sectors can thrive. Even glass blowers are part of this mix as consumers demand more artful means of inhaling.
Cannabis Real Estate Agent
Cannabis Tour Guide
Throw into that mix everyone from investors to security and you can see a thriving business has already formed; meaning now is the best time ever to break in. Room for job growth is strong too; committing to one year in a position gives way to a lot of room for you to move upwards than spending that time in an unrelated industry. That’s because most businesses hire from within so now is a great time to get involved.
Incidentally, according to ValueWalk, the five highest-paying jobs in the industry right now are:
Dispensary Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Cannabis Extraction Technician
Grow Master/Botanical Specialist
Marijuana Edibles Chef
But cannabis isn’t just used as a recreational drug. CBD Oil is now being hailed by professionals in the medical industry as a substance that helps combat seizures, relieves pain, calms anxiety and helps with a variety of ailments, including autoimmune disorders. Prominent researchers at the NYU School of Medicine called CBD oil the most promising drug that has come out for neuropsychiatric diseases in the last 50 years.
Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a CBD-based drug for the first time ever. Moreover, ten different states have now legalized cannabis for adults and thirty-three states allow it for medical use. In 2019, it’s expected to also be approved in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, Minnesota, and Illinois.
CBD, for those who aren’t in the know, is found in cannabis plants but is not marijuana. It is cannabidiol; a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. Some people accidentally confuse it with THC, a compound known as a tetrahydrocannabinol is the one that gets people high. Because CBD is not psychotropic – like THC is – it won’t affect your mind in the same way. However, it can and does work as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and can bring relief from nausea, pain, and anxiety.
Indeed, CBD oil is being studied as a treatment for everything from Parkinson’s to cancer – and it’s also proving effective on animals too.
The cannabis business writ large is being compared to the Wild West, not because it’s unregulated but because it’s still small enough to embrace radical approaches to see what works. Arcview Market research industry analysts say the cannabis industry will create 400,000 new jobs by 2021.
Check out some major resources to help you decide how to get started. For example, you can use the Association of Cannabis Professionals as a tool; they have compliance workshops, cannabis law updates, tech updates, and experts on hand.
If you’re based in California then become acquainted with the California Cannabis Entrepreneur Association for meet-ups and mixers. It’s a great way to network.
You can also reach out to the National Cannabis Industry Association that promotes both national conferences and events. And NORML is a political organization so find your local chapter to help meet, greet, and rub shoulders with the cannabis industry players in your neck of the woods.
If you’re looking to break into the cannabis industry, Bell + Ivy is the place you should look to make those inroads and get you on the world’s radar through excellent PR and marketing. Whether it’s via big events, crafting your elevator pitch, or perfecting your PR, visit us right now so we can make it happen.