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Working in the cannabis industry: what jobs are there?

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The European cannabis industry is growing and creating jobs in almost all countries, due to the regulation of medical cannabis. With the expected legalization of adult use in several European countries, the cannabis industry is expected to create hundreds of thousands of jobs and be worth up to $57.000 billion over the next 5 years. This is a great time to find a career in what is likely to be the fastest growing industry Europe has ever seen. As in any business area, if you manage to enter the market early, you will be able to gain experience and grow with the sector.

So the question is: what jobs are there in the cannabis industry? Well, the cannabis industry has a full range of jobs just like any other industry, from beginners to highly skilled professionals, from low tech to high tech and from plant 'touchers' to plant 'non-players'.

Let's look at the different job categories and types of work you can expect to find in this sector. In future articles, we'll look at ways to prepare for and apply for these jobs.

The broadest way to divide cannabis jobs is 'touching plants' versus 'not touching plants'. Simply put, 'plant touching' is any job where plants are physically touched. This is what many people envision when they think of cannabis jobs. But, in fact, there are also many works that do not involve plants.

While we have certain jobs listed in a variety of areas, there are many intersections. For example, all areas need quality control and middle managers (depending on the size of the operation).

Also remember that everyone starts with little or no experience and must acquire it somewhere. Therefore, many companies are willing to provide on-the-job training and help enthusiastic and committed employees gain the knowledge and experience they need to progress.

1 – TOUCH THE PLANTS

Cultivation at CannPrisma facilities in Portugal. Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

'Plant touching' jobs are mainly in the areas of cultivation, processing/manufacturing and sales (dispensaries).

Cultivation:

Most growing facilities are high-tech operations, growing in a warehouse or greenhouse. All aspects of growing plants are monitored and adjusted, including lighting, airflow, temperature, humidity, nutrient levels and pH, among others.

director of cultivation: The grow manager is responsible for the grow facility, managing all aspects including compliance, staffing, logistics, etc. Ensures the entire facility is running smoothly, within budget and following all regulations and laws. This role requires extensive experience in cannabis management and the cannabis industry.

master grower: The master grower is responsible for the actual plants, making sure they are healthy, managing pests and all the complex inputs in the growing process. It must be able to solve all aspects of growth at any time to keep plants healthy and alive. This requires extensive experience in cannabis cultivation. Higher education in agriculture or related fields is an advantage.

trimmer: This can be the starting position in the grow setup, although the operation also requires trimmers (or trimmers) experienced. You trimmers are guided by master grower about caring for the plants, harvesting and drying the cannabis, cleaning the growing areas, moving and adjusting equipment and all other tasks as directed by the master grower.

Quality control at CannPrisma facilities in Portugal. Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

Processing/Manufacturing:

Cannabis must be dried, trimmed and packaged. If extracts and/or edibles are also being produced then there is extensive additional processing to be done.

Extract Processor: This is the process of turning cannabis flowers into oils or other forms of extract. This role requires extensive experience as a laboratory technician and is extremely detailed.

food chef: The chef is the cook of cannabis products. This can be a fun and creative role, but it requires experience.

Quality Control (or QP – Qualified Person): The QC person is involved in the cultivation, processing, and dispensary settings. In processing and extraction, quality control is perhaps more complicated and important as the raw material is being transformed into a different material and there is a risk of introducing impurities. This requires additional experience and training.

packers: This can be an entry level position and is often done by trimmers in smaller operations. In large operations, however, there will be packers separate from the trimmers.

Um budtender at a US dispensary. Photo: DR

Dispensaries:
The dispensary is the sales facility in the cannabis industry.

dispensary manager: This person is responsible for the sales location and ensures that all laws and regulations are followed. He is also responsible for finance, personnel management and customer service. This person usually has extensive experience in commerce and cannabis and has often worked in entry-level positions or transferred from sales management in other industries.

Budtender: This is the frontline dispensary salesperson. It may be basic and have some on-the-job training, but professionals with some cannabis knowledge and experience are usually needed.

Cashier: This is generally an entry-level position, but some previous cashier experience is desirable.

2 – WITHOUT TOUCHING THE PLANTS

Non-plant contact jobs exist in all areas of the cannabis industry, both in facilities where cannabis is present, and in offices and other businesses that provide services to the industry. In the same facilities (growing, processing/manufacturing, dispensaries) where there are employees who touch the plants, there are also employees who do not touch the plants.

Administrative staff: Secretaries and other office support staff are needed to keep the business and facilities running smoothly.

Security at Medicane facilities in Campo Maior, Portugal. Photo: Laura Ramos | cannareporter

Security: Given the high value of cannabis and the large amounts of money involved, safety is a primary concern. Some training is required, but this can be an entry-level position, all the way up to an experienced, highly qualified position.

Cleaning staff: All facilities must be kept clean. These are typically beginners but require experienced managers.

Maintenance: Cultivation and extraction/processing/manufacturing facilities are complex and require daily maintenance, regular repairs and upgrades. These can range from entry level to requiring extensive experience.

Human Resources: generally, these positions require experience and training, but may be in another sector, not necessarily within cannabis.

Web designers and graphics: like all trade companies today, design services are required. Training and experience are necessary, but experience in the cannabis industry is not necessarily required. These positions usually require experience, but experience may come from another industry. There are often also some entry-level positions available with specific on-the-job training.

Information Technologies (IT): Cannabis is a highly technical industry and IT is needed in every aspect/facility. These positions can range from entry-level, with some education and experience, to requiring extensive experience and specific training, higher education and certifications.

Transporting cannabis in the US. Photo: DR

Logistics: Cannabis is highly regulated, from the transport of seeds and clones at the beginning of the process to the transport of finished products (flowers, extracts, edibles, etc). This requires coordinated and strictly controlled logistics. The position requires experience, but can also take on-the-job training.

Accounting: Someone needs to make sure bills, invoices, taxes and staff are paid and that incoming money is tracked and allocated properly. This requires training and experience. However, the experience does not have to be specifically in the cannabis industry.

Legal Area: Given the complex laws and regulations that vary from country to country, legal advice is crucial to running a cannabis business. Typical labor and corporate laws are also required. This is a highly educated and trained position, but it doesn't have to come from the cannabis industry.

Managers and Executives: The larger the company, the larger the team and the more managers needed to oversee operations and people. Often managers and executives come from other industries. The key is to have a good track record and experience.

As you can see, there are all kinds of jobs at different levels of experience, training and education. As the sector is growing rapidly, it is not possible to fill all positions with people already experienced in cannabis. As a candidate looking for a position in the industry, assess your previous experience, skills and passions and see how you can apply them to jobs that interest you in the cannabis industry.

Good luck and have fun!
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Bjoern „Andy“ Mannsfeld, MD, was born in Cologne, Germany and moved with his family to the US as a child. He was privileged to visit Germany regularly while growing up, maintaining ties with family and friends in his home country. After receiving a Masters in Biomedical Science, Andy earned a medical degree and moved to Colorado where he practiced medicine for many years before entering medical consulting services. During that time, he was involved with several startups, including in genetics and medical software. After living in Vietnam for 4 years, he moved to Berlin, Germany and in 2020 became directly involved in the cannabis industry. Through friendships in Vietnam and Germany, Andy founded EUCannaJobs in 2020 to respond to the need of the European cannabis, CBD and hemp industries for a comprehensive jobs platform.

 

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[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]

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