Tips & Tricks

The Top 10 Jobs in the Cannabis Industry πŸ’Ό

Our list of the top 10 jobs to help you break into cannabis biz

Episode Description


As of 2022, more than 400 thousand cannabis industry jobs were created in the United States alone (that's 33% from the prior year.)

That number hit over 151 thousand cannabis industry jobs in Canada, with the market size growing by 83% over five years.


What are jobs in the cannabis industry?


There are thousands of unique jobs in the cannabis industry; however high level - they typically fall under two categories.

  • Plant-touching: Jobs where people work directly with products like retail products or cultivation.
  • Auxiliary: Non-plant-touching jobs that support the industry like software, marketing or consultants.


Here are the Top 10 Cannabis Jobs:

  1. Budtender - customer-facing, interacting with potential buyers to make sales. Budtenders need to teach newcomers about the different cannabis varieties. They are the guides for both newbies and veterans regarding marijuana understanding. Knowledge of compliance, products, essential technologies and operating procedures is necessary
  2. Dispensary managers - Β handle the day-to-day operations of running a cannabis store. When looking at entry-level jobs, this isn't on the list, and some provinces even require cannabis retail managers to acquire a special license before managing a store. This is a career centric job - and the position one might earn after being a lead budtender.
  3. Dispensary owner - Many people interested in the cannabis industry aim to get one of the elusive cannabis dispensary owner jobs. Owners are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a dispensary by hiring the right managers and growing the business. How much a dispensary owner makes can vary heavily. Still, owners typically make a salary starting at $250 thousand but can earn up to $1 million annually if they are strong business people.
  4. Inventory manager - Cannabis inventory manager jobs do what you would expect: manage inventory. However, many cannabis inventory managers also enforce policy and support operational work. Inventory managers are incredibly important as they determine how much stock is necessary to keep a business running.
  5. Cannabis cultivator - Β Cannabis cultivator jobs, or growers, are experts at managing the growing, harvesting, and planting of cannabis plants. This role is paramount as it helps supply the initial product. Cannabis cultivators are typically entry-level; however, these positions also offer growth opportunities.
  6. ‍Accounting jobs Cannabis accounting, bookkeepers, general accountants, and accounts payable specialists are all examples of opportunities to work within the accounting space in cannabis. An accountant must have a bachelor's degree and an accounting certification (CPA). More advanced accountants require more education and experience to help them grow.
  7. Security services are in high demand because there is a lot of value in cannabis products. Security specialists can include those who specialize in installing security systems to those who patrol and defend budtenders against more unruly customers. Either way, experience in the business is a must.
  8. Cannatech Job - Jobs in cannabis technology or "cannatech" help build, sell, manage and support cannabis software companies. Dispensaries and cultivation spaces alike need a lot of cannabis technology to succeed - including dispensary POS systems, website-based software, business management software, and people management solutions. Now that we mention it - KayaPush cannabis software is hiring! KayaPush offers payroll, hr, time tracking, and scheduling software specifically for cannabis dispensaries. There is a lot of growth opportunity for members of the cannabis industry.
  9. Sales and marketing There is a lot to sell in the world of cannabis, and due to regulations, it takes a special kind of sales or marketing person to succeed in the industry. Marketing teams need to understand the customer's needs and the federal regulations that limit them from making unwarranted medical claims. Sales representatives might work on behalf of independent growers to sell their products to dispensaries. Not all dispensary store owners also own the farms that produce the product.
  10. Cannabis consultant - assist dispensary owners with understanding how to set up, launch, or succeed in the cannabis space. Consultants are experts in their field because of their business or cannabis-specific experience. These experts are among the highest paid in the cannabis field.


Find a cannabis job you love at Kaya Push. Check out our careers page at:

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Episode Transcript

‍Tom Mulhern: I always like to start our little bonus episodes with a question. So if you could have a dream job, if you could break into any sort of industry and we're talking anything here, like I know what mine is, but you could have any dream job in any industry.

What would it be?


Maria McGliggott: It's a really hard question. Dream job. Does being a billionaire count as a job. Okay, perfect. So I will be working every day from my yacht, sleeping in, just sailing the world, doing nothing. That's my dream job.


Tom Mulhern: That's your dream job. There's no backstory of how you made that billion dollars. You just, you've just got that billion dollars.


Maria McGliggott: I just got it.


Tom Mulhern: Well, My dream job, if I could break into any industry, would be, that typical rockstar, like to be a rockstar and be able to play shows like, have bands like Radiohead open for me, that would be my dream job. And there's a lot of hard work that goes into that and talent that maybe I don't have, we're just dreaming here. You've got a yacht. I've got Radiohead opening for me, in Wimbley Stadium. So we've got our dream jobs and there's probably a lot of work that we would've had to do to get to that point.

But for some people, their dream job would be working in the industry that we work in, working in cannabis.


Maria McGliggott: I know sometimes it feels like a dream job for me because it's just one of those things that you never expect to end up in an industry like this. And once you do and you see how fun it is and the community around it, it's just surreal sometimes.


Tom Mulhern: Well, and talking to people, it's such a new young industry. There's so many people that just landed here unexpectedly. They just happened into cannabis and now they love it. This is what they want to do for the rest of their lives.


Maria McGliggott: I think that's one of my favorite parts about the industry is there's so many people that are in it and they, their story of how they got into it is always so random and they just fell into this and then now they love it.


Tom Mulhern: Now there's a lot of jobs out there. As of 2022, more than 400,000 cannabis industry jobs were created in the United States alone, so that's up 33% from last year. And in Canada where I am , there's over 151,000 cannabis industry jobs in Canada. That's growing by 83% over the past five years.

So there's a lot of jobs out there in the cannabis industry. It's huge. It's growing like crazy.


Maria McGliggott: Yeah, and there's, there's thousands of unique jobs within the industry too. And they fall under two categories. So there's the plant touching jobs, which is where people work directly with the products, whether that's in retail or actually growing the cannabis.

And then there's auxiliary, which is non plant touching jobs, which will be something like what we do, where we support the industry through software and marketing.


Tom Mulhern: So today in our podcast, we want to go over the top 10 jobs. We're gonna do the top five plant touching roles and the top five auxiliary jobs, and just give, people an idea of what's out there in the industry.

Tom Mulhern: So let's start with those plant touching roles. So the first one that comes to mind when you think of working in the cannabis industry.

First one that comes to my mind is a bud tender. So the bud tenderers that person standing behind the counter. They are the face of every dispensary. And really, they're the ones that, have to know about products and the technology that is running, the point of sale system. And they're the experts at all aspects of the business, and they're front and center.

So first job you can be as a bud tender, selling product and being that front facing person in a dispensary.


Maria McGliggott: So of course we've got the Bud Tenderer, but then we have to have someone who's gonna manage the Bud Tenderers. So that's your dispensary manager. So a dispensary manager is gonna handle all the day to day operations of running the dispensary. And when you're looking at entry level jobs, this isn't necessarily on the list. And some provinces actually even require the cannabis retail managers to have special licenses before managing the store.

So this is more of a career centric position.


Tom Mulhern: There's a lot of probably bud tenders that go from being bud tenderers into managers, I would imagine. So it's like a career stepping stone. And then on that trajectory, there's a dispensary owner, and we've talked about dispensary owners in the past. They're the ones that take the responsibility of owning a dispensary.

And there's a lot of risk involved, but there's also a lot of payoff dispensary owners can make quite a bit of money for owning a dispensary in Canada, in the US. And most people when they're thinking of entrepreneurial things they can do or whatever they think of. Starting a dispensary, so that is one, one entry in there.

But you think of all the dispensary that are out there, some of them are, single ownership, and some of them are franchises, and so there's only so many dispensary owners out there. So if that's, if you're an entrepreneur, you love starting businesses you've always got an idea and a dream, then maybe a dispensary owner is the job for you.


Maria McGliggott: Owners typically make a salary starting from 250,000 up to 1 million annually, so it's not a bad position to be in. For our next role, we have the inventory manager. So of course inventory is going to be very important in the cannabis industry because that's what you're selling cannabis.

So the inventory manager is pretty much just does what you expect. They're going to manage all of the inventory, but what you might not expect is that cannabis inventory managers, they actually enforce policy as well and then support all of the operational work. So they're really important to determine how much shock you need and to make sure that you have enough in the store, and that's where that conversation with your bud tenderers will really come in handy because you wanna be letting the inventory manager know what products are selling and what isn't.


Tom Mulhern: And then the last position in the plant touching jobs is cultivation. And now we're gonna focus just on a cultivator. But there's so many roles within that actual cultivation of the plant.

There's so many jobs that are in that cultivation sphere. And it's paramount because really that cultivation is what gets the product onto the shelves that those bud tenderers and dispensary owners and managers and inventory control managers are managing. We won't spend too much time here, but being in the cultivation area, you're plant touching.

You're right there with the plant. There's such a science to it. So if you loved watching Bill Nye as a kid, maybe that might be the right role for you being in there and being in a grow facility and really tending to the plants.


Maria McGliggott: There's actually some universities in Canada now that offer cannabis cultivation as courses, which is really interesting.


Tom Mulhern: Oh, that's cool. That's such a good area to get into into that growing that product. And with the plant touching, there's so many other areas, and actually we have a blog about this on the Kaya Push website if you wanna see some other great jobs that you can look into.

But now there's maybe some people that are like really interested in cannabis, but don't necessarily wanna work in a dispensary or in a cultivation facility.

So for them, we have ancillary cannabis industry jobs to consider. So these are jobs that don't necessarily work with the plant, but are working to further the industry. And there's a lot of jobs that are in this sphere, and this is where Maria and I work in the auxiliary jobs, the ones that aren't necessarily plant touching.

So the first job on the list is accounting. Now we've had a ton of conversations with different cannabis specific accountants. Including Christine from Cultivate Consulting and Naomi Granger from NACAT Pros, and there's so much confusion in the accounting space with cannabis because there's so much legislation and you gotta have more than just a CPA.

You need to have that specialized training in working with cannabis because there is so many unique little quirks to the job. If you're an accountant and you want to get into the industry, this is a great way to do it because there's such a need for this experience in the industry.


Maria McGliggott: Especially in the cannabis industry where you wanna make sure that you are not doing anything wrong, anything to get caught because they are looking out for you.

And another job that people might not necessarily think about is security services. And now that you're thinking about it, it might sound obvious because it's almost like a jewelry store in a way.

Your product is your entire business, and you definitely don't want someone breaking in and stealing what you have. So security is gonna be very important and it's really in high demand because there's a lot of value in cannabis products. So security specialists can include those who specialize in installing maybe security systems.

And it can be anyone who's patrolling and actually defending your store, whether that's during service or after.


Tom Mulhern: And we had a great conversation on the podcast with Haley Glover from Sapphire Risk, and she shared like not only like the security considerations for cannabis dispensary owners, but also in her company Sapphire Risk. There's so many specialists that work to help dispensaries before they even open.

So if you're a security minded person, you're always thinking about you know how to. Protect your investments or whatever it is. This might be a good area to get into.

Now talking about technology and that sort of stuff, I'm gonna teach you a new word. Cannatech that's kind of the buzzword for any sort of jobs in cannabis technology.

And Maria, this is like the coolest job to have, wouldn't you agree?


Maria McGliggott: Definitely agree.


Tom Mulhern: Definitely cuz that's what we work in Kaya Push is a cannabis software for people management and that's where we work. There's point of sale systems, there's website designers, maybe you're a website designer or someone that is in that field that you want to help develop apps or our buds over at Bud Sense, they developed, signage and experience in that software technology.

And so, if you're a software geek and you have an interest in cannabis, this might be a great industry to get into because it's a growing industry and it's an industry that is all about community.


Maria McGliggott: That leads us into our next job, which also has to do with us, Tom, and that's sales and marketing. So there's a lot to sell in the world of cannabis, and due to all the regulations, it takes a special kind of sales or marketing person to succeed in the industry.

I know for me, I do our ads at work and they are constantly getting flagged or deleted, and as Tom, our TikToks are always getting taken down, so it definitely helps to have someone who knows what they're doing and it'll just make the process a lot smoother.

Sales and marketing can also be a job that deals directly with cannabis or just something adjacent. So for us, we market for a cannabis software, but you also might be someone that's going to do marketing or sales specifically for a dispensary, and you're actually advertising cannabis.


Tom Mulhern: And that brings us to our last job, and this is more of a job area, but being a cannabis consultant, cannabis consultant helps dispensary owners set up and launch and grow their business. Consultants are experts in their field of business and specifically for cannabis experience, and we work with a lot of different consultants out there.

And I think the thing to remember when you're thinking about these, maybe not plant touching jobs, is that you may have skills that you say I can't go work with the plant. Like I don't have those skills. I'm just in marketing, or I'm just in sales, or I'm just, We need those skills in the cannabis industry to build, the trajectory it's on. We need those really talented, the highest talented people working in our industry just to make it better and better. And you know what, you're, you may not be a rock star or a billionaire. On your yacht, but working in the cannabis industry is so fun.

I love my job and I love coming to work and meeting people across the country, across the world, really who are passionate about this plant.


Maria McGliggott: That's my favorite thing about the cannabis industry is it really just feels like a community.

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