What Cannabis Employers Look For When Hiring

PW Team
Feature Image Credit
The Emerald Cup
women bud-tending in a shop with two test tubes full of cannabis nuggets


The cannabis industry is the fastest growing industry in the United States today, which means that jobs are up for grabs. The competition, however, can be quite fierce. From cultivators to retail professionals and even as far as cannatech, finding a job in cannabis isn’t as easy as showing up and landing the job. For legitimate and legal employers, there are a few important qualities that a candidate must demonstrate when seeking employment in the legitimized cannabis world.

1. Have a Dynamic Experience

This may come as a shock, but.. Wait for it, employers value experience (what a concept). Except when it comes to the cannabis industry, it is essential that job seekers speak and understand two distinct languages:

  • Underground marijuana culture
  • Traditional business or startup culture

What do we mean by underground culture? 

Things like in-house-grow experience, familiarity with dispensaries (partnerships, networking), street verbiage and a well-balanced knowledge of strains or cannabis chemistry. 

What do we mean by traditional business?

Business experience can come from anything. Past jobs not related to the cannabis industry can be even more valuable in their own way (i.e Corporate Sales, Management, agriculture, digital marketing).

It’s all about how you shape the value you can bring to the team. With a balanced mix of underground cannabis culture and real-world business intellect, candidates can expect to jump to the top of the consideration list. 

2. A Self-Starter Mindset

As new cannabis markets continue to appear, entrepreneurial spirit is becoming more valued in the cannabis industry. When seeking employment, demonstrate that you are someone who can think for themselves and be sure to illustrate your passion for making an impact.

The self-starter mindset could include ideas about menu specials designed for specific geographic areas, seasonality, and demographics. Some have offered ways to help build digital and online presences with social media, website design and marketing campaigns. Still others have generated networking opportunities for their business from their own personal experience.

Bottom Line: Be committed and make sure your potential employer knows that you will be able to find answers on your own time. Show your interest in growing with the business and your willingness to progress up the ranks.

3. Ability to Wear Different Hats

Professional versatility is an essential quality for job seekers in the cannabis business. Owners and managers are oftentimes impressed by employees who are able to wear a number of different hats within the workplace. 

If a candidate intends on standing out from the competition, he or she should be prepared to learn as much as they can -- willing to take on new responsibilities that will benefit the business. This can range from volunteering to help with organizational tasks, social media, boosting lead generation, or assisting with management operations and finding new ways to increase revenue.

Some people say it's best to specialize or pick a lane. Others are able to juggle multiple things at once. It's not that one is better than the other, but in the cannabis industry, it definitely helps if you can multi-task and role hop.

4. An Innovative Outlook

The cannabis industry is unique in that it takes a creative mind to adapt to the constantly evolving environment. Your resume and application will be reviewed alongside dozens or potentially even hundreds of others, so it’s important to demonstrate an ability to withstand the cannabis environment.

“Think outside the box!” 

Translate your skills and experience in new and innovative ways. Studying and understanding the desired position will help improve your out-of-the-box thinking skills. Think about things you can bring to the role that aren’t listed. Show that you can handle the job requirements and add even more value by your past experience, personality or skills.


The unpredictable nature of the cannabis industry requires businesses and employees to adapt to changes. So be ready to adapt.

Define new goals and go after them. Embrace challenges, get comfortable with discomfort and focus on successful outcomes. Think about the role you are applying for and imagine yourself succeeding there. 

If there is anything we missed here that will benefit job seekers in the cannabis industry, get in contact with us. We are here as a resource and want to help the cannabis industry grow and thrive. Work with us to grow our community.

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