September 24, 2019 | Trisha Patel |

There are so many outlets you can align your career’s trajectory towards the cannabis industry. You may be thinking that in order to get into the industry you have to start from the agricultural or “growing” side of the business but that’s far from the truth. As more states adopt legalization, both medically and recreationally, more companies will blossom and companies that are already in this space will need to expand their reach. These companies are still businesses and some functions are universal.

The cannabis industry is an emerging and growing industry and with this growth comes opportunity. The opportunities are robust and the current workforce should definitely be looking to cannabis and evaluating if they are the type of person that could thrive in this environment.

The industry is generating thousands of jobs and there are no signs of slowing down. In fact, “legal cannabis is currently the greatest job-creation machine in America” according to Leafly’s data team in partnership with Whitney Economics, 211,000 cannabis jobs are available in the U.S. and “more than 64,000 of those jobs were added in 2018…  The cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017. It gained another 44% in 2018. We expect at least another 20% growth in jobs in 2019. That would represent a 110% growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.”

Now, we know that cannabis-centric job boards exist, but job boards aren’t the first place you go to in order to plan your jump into the industry. Thats where you go once you already know how you’re getting there. 

There are tons of jobs supporting the operations and infrastructures of businesses in the industry and it’s tough to know which path to go down. To break down the possibilities, Vern Davis, Partner + SVP of Business Development, shares the 10 pathways he believes can take you into the cannabis industry.

    • There are a full array of possibilities for talent that is prolific in all things finance. Companies need strong finance talent at all stages in their growth and development and this is particularly true in the cannabis industry because of the lack of solid infrastructure. Because the federal government is still not complicit in a way that stabilizes the cannabis industry, the finance teams at these organizations have to be diligent and strategic. It also really helps to have relationships and connections to money.
    • The industry needs talent to help companies on their path to private equity. It needs CFO’s, analysts, controllers, financial planners, pna, etcs.
    • The operational opportunities are in cultivation, manufacturing, and project managing. The industry needs ERP experts, supply chain managers, quality control managers, and everything in between.
    • Because the legal cannabis industry is new, so are the companies and the products. Branding and marketing is one of the only things that can set many of these products and companies apart. The industry needs innovative and revolutionary marketers and branding experts to help them build notoriety and market share. 
    • This is extremely important in regards to device creation. These vaporizers and other smoking devices have become highly technical and require engineering teams to mechanize these products to be safe and functionally excellent.
  5. R + D
    • Research and development is the foundation for all of the decisions these companies make as they move forward with their product or service. Again, this is a new industry and knowledge is hard to come by so information gathering and testing is vital. This is how products get designs and developed. 
    • There is so much nuance and planning involved in generating and executing a sales and distribution strategy that is sustainable at the highest level of profitability. The regulations and always-changing legal obstacles associated with this industry increase the level of difficulty in this aspect. 
  7. LEGAL
    • This is one of the most crucial departments for companies right now. You can do everything right and if your company isn’t complicit with a law or restriction in any way, it is all a waste. The laws change rapidly and are so extremely different from state to state so the legal teams and legal advisory councils that work in this industry are beyond vital. 
    • This one seems obvious, but it could be one of the most important aspects of the industry because without proficient farming and agriculture the product that this industry is fully centered around and reliant upon doesn’t exist. Then the industry doesn’t exist. There is an exorbitant amount of science and expertise that goes into growing and farming the best products and strains. Potency is just one aspect of these plants. 
    • The cannabis industry has a major opportunity to partner with big consulting firms in order to grow their companies. These companies will need consultants whose knowledge of the space and network channels is bountiful.
    • This is one area that is often overlooked but is only becoming more and more important. This industry is volatile and risky. It’s important to cover your … you know.

And you know what, now that I’m on a roll, let me give you 3 bonus industries that you may not have thought could break you into this industry...


  • Almost every company needs a space for retail, service providing, or manufacturing. Because federal regulation hasn’t caught up to the industry yet, the geographic area these spaces operate in could all have different rules. It’s important to be aligned with real estate professionals who understand that there are additional elements that factor into the search for property and space. 


  • This industry, at its core, revolves around an experience. The experience of purchasing a product or service, the experience of using the product or partaking in the service, the experience of feeling its effects, and everything in the middle. Excellence and differentiation of experience is fully rooted in the hospitality world.


  • Consumable cannabis products and edibles have to taste good when people buy them off the shelf, but there is so much more. Now there are cannabis bars, restaurants, pop up dinners, etc. the prevalence of THC or CBD does not lower a consumer’s expectation of flavor so the culinary industry is fully necessary in the cannabis space. Mixologists, nutritionists, chefs, confectioners, and food scientists with extensive knowledge of effects, dosage terpenes, flavor and psychoactive profiles are all necessary in this industry.  

What other outlets into the cannabis space do you see available now to the workforce? Let us know! If you know this is the industry for you and need guidance for breaking into the space, reach out to us at hello@protisglobal.com and attach your resume. We offer career coaching and advice for potential candidates in addition to building companies and teams for our clients.

Source of Industry Growth Data.

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