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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Marketing >  EVERCANNABIS

Finding job options in cannabis

Working behind the counter as a budtender in a retail store is a good starting position in the cannabis industry. (Terry Bain / EVERCANNABIS)
Working behind the counter as a budtender in a retail store is a good starting position in the cannabis industry. (Terry Bain / EVERCANNABIS)
By Terry Bain EVERCANNABIS Correspondent

One of the greatest benefits of any new product or industry is new jobs, and the cannabis cohort has proven to be an especially revved-up engine of job creation.

If you’re out of work or seeking something new, you may have even asked, “How do I get myself a cannabis gig?”

Well, first of all, you must be 21 years old.

As with any industry, there are a variety of ways in, and since the business is booming, there are multitudes of producers, retailers and affiliate businesses clamoring for their cut of the green.

The easiest way to start to grab your own share is to know someone who’s already in it. This may not seem like a helpful tip, but honestly there are enough people currently working in cannabis that you probably already know someone with a canna-connection. Consider sending out a social media query to see if they have a lead. Even if that person can’t hire you directly, they may direct you to someone who can.

The second-best avenue for entry is your own knowledge or experience and being ready to start at the bottom if needed, such as a trimmer or budtender position. Neither of these jobs are slam-dunk “you’re hired” positions for even the biggest cannabis aficionado, but there is a growing demand for both, and each presents an opportunity to learn the ins and outs of two very distinct aspects of the business.

A lot of people in the industry start out as trimmers because there is a high demand. This doesn’t mean that good trimming doesn’t take practice or expertise; it just means that you don’t need to be a pro going in.

Trimmers are like the manicurists of the cannabis world. Attention to detail and knowledge of the plant are required. Trimmers must manicure/prune the plants without damaging the valuable buds, increasing the “bag appeal” of the product and maximizing its value.

As a trimmer you will be exposed to many aspects of the growing business, and attention to detail combined with a good work ethic and interpersonal skills can lead to other opportunities.

But maybe you’re more interested in sales or have retail/customer service experience. As a budtender, you are the face of the cannabis industry to customers who may or may not know what they want. You’ll help them pick the perfect strain, the most appropriate edible, or the best delivery method for their needs.

Because of the broad knowledge expected, additional training is likely to be necessary. It’s possible to get that training on the job, but there are also a number of online training programs to give you the foundation and get yourself noticed by a shop manager or owner.

There are currently three training programs approved to offer Consultant Certification Training in Washington, two of which offer training online.

Also, if you’re interested in the medical aspects of marijuana, you’ll need a Medical Marijuana Consultant Certificate to fill this role at licensed stores that work with medical patients. This is a longer class.

Once you get beyond entry level, there are many other positions you can try out: Dispensary Manager, Master Grower, Extractor, Laboratory Worker, Driver, Assistant Grower, Administrator, Marketing/Sales/brand Ambassador, Buyer, Security – even Writer or Social Media Manager.

Or, if you have the cash, vision, and motivation you can try Entrepreneur. There are literally hundreds of people going into the cannabis business. If you have the desire to learn and the “next great idea,” you might just take the plunge yourself.

Terry Bain is a writer and teacher from Spokane. He is the author of “You Are a Dog and We Are the Cat.” Find him on Twitter at @TerryBain.

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