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Dear Mama: How do I Get a Weed Job


Dear Mama,

I’ve been thinking a lot about getting a weed job, but I have no idea where to start or what I’d even be good at in the cannabis industry. It sounds like it would be the coolest job, but how do you GET the job? I’d love to spend my days surrounded by pot, so do you have any tips or tricks for getting into the weed biz?

Thanks! 9-5er

Dear 9-5er

Glamor!  Excitement!  Fame! Being stoned all the time!! Sounds like a great gig.

One thing to keep in mind when talking about joining the cannabis industry is that it is an INDUSTRY.  It’s a job. Its work. You are getting paid to provide something, such as a service or a product in exchange for payment.  The idea that growing cannabis or selling cannabis is anything else will set you up for disappointment. Bartenders in a nightclub are not allowed to be drunk at work.  Cannabis employees can not be impaired either, so any dream of showing up to work stoned isn’t based in the realities of the industry.

There are lots of great career paths within the world of cannabis.  I think that eventually there will be even more opportunities as legalities are better clarified and it crosses over into more mainstream jobs.  

If you aren’t already an advocate for cannabis, thats where I always recommend that people start.  Learn about the plant, the law, the history of cannabis plant and especially prohibition. Volunteering is the number one way to get involved while looking into jobs in the cannabis world.  So many of the skills you already have could translate into cannabis skills.

Customer service jobs you may have had – like being a server at a restaurant or working in retail –  are good skills for a bud-tender. Your job is guiding patients through the purchasing process, helping them choose what may be the most beneficial for them.  Knowing as much as you can about how cannabis works will help you be a great bud-tender. Forming relationships with returning customer is key to the success of a dispensary, and makes you one of the most valuable members of the team.  You are why the patient comes back time and time again.

People skills aren’t your superpower?  Maybe growing or trimming is more your thing.  This isn’t the easiest of spaces to get a foot in the door but a willingness to accept any position in an organization can be helpful if you have no previous experience.  Trimming is usually entry level and can be a trainable skill so that might be your foot in the door. It is a job that is in a very controlled environment and most positions will require a minimum amount of weight trimmed during your shift.  Like a quota. I loved trimming, but it was my own plant, so there was no quota or time requirements. Time is money, so expect to be observed and timed.

You could make relationships in that position which can open a door to assisting in the grow operations.  Willingness to try any of the different jobs may open more doors as you prove yourself within the organization.  They may have packaging or various mail jobs that rotate with the trimming team. Be open, be eager, be helpful and that will get you noticed and open those doors.

Don’t expect that you’ll walk into a grow operation and your skill and expertise will be sought out or valued.  Most grows are set up by the master grower in charge, and their expertise is how every room and process is based.  Your job is to learn and observe the experiences of the master grower. I can’t tell you how many arrogant individuals have ruined any opportunities by assuming they know more than the person who offered them a job.  Trust me when I say if you were the one with all the knowledge you’d already have a large grow of your own. Your twenty plant set up is not equivalent to a ten room set up, and the stress of growing someone else’s money is not relative.  Keep your ears and your mind open and learn. Don’t be an arrogant know-it-all. Nobody likes a know-it-all.

Growing cannabis is back breaking, farm work.  You’re watering, planting, replanting, and harvesting. Moving huge bags, buckets and piles of dirt, water and plants. Then you’re doing it all over again.  Then again. This is all on camera. All the time. The industry watches the inventory closely, so any thoughts of picking little extra here and there for yourself, forget them.  You won’t do anything that someone isn’t watching on camera. Even in the trimming rooms, often the uniform is a pocketless jumpsuit to prevent any buds disappearing out of the trim area.  This room is also on camera at all times.

These are the the entry level types of cannabis jobs but there are also tons of other options.  You could turn any passion into a cannabis job. I was a social worker and I used those skills to assist me with counseling patients.  I joined the industry before there even was an industry in Arizona, so I had the luxury to try all the areas and find what I enjoyed. I was a volunteer during a lot of those early times, so there was a need for people willing to do everything.  It’s a lot easier to insert yourself when no one is really an expert yet. Now that the industry has been around here for a while, there are more folks like myself who started at the beginning and filled the paid positions as they became open. Now they’ve moved up and openings for you are created.  I have worked in almost every area that was an option in the early days. Think about what you enjoy doing and see if your interests match a need. Social media and advertising or event planning are also new and interesting options.

Be open, be honest about your willingness to venture into the cannabis world and possibly having to start over in entry level positions or even volunteer opportunities.  Prepare yourself by reading and learning about the industry and the plant. Stay up to date on the information and prohibition efforts as they happen. If this is something you are passionate about then I have no doubt you’ll make it happen!  

Best of luck to you!

Be sure you read up on all The Cannabis Cactus issues for our best info too!

Love, Mama

For more letters to Mama, click here.

Laura Mastropietro

Laura Mastropietro, former cannabis co-op grower and patient advocate, consultant, Edible Chef for two edible lines, featured in ‘Cannabis Saved my Life’ by Elizabeth Limbach, currently curates a learning hub called PotofWellness.com, stays active in the cannabis community while running a restaurant and commercial bakery in beautiful Sedona Arizona. Wife, Mother, Grandmother, with a full beautiful life and toss in a life altering disease, cannabis is the magic that helps her keep it all going. Have a cannabis question? Send it to Dear Mama at potofwellness@gmail.com

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