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, etc. The industry needs entire finance teams. There is so much consolidation and M+A activity taking place right now and finance individuals with this experience as well as experience with publicly traded companies are in high demand. 


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 strategies that can set many of these products and companies apart. Brands create value for the entity. Brands historically are the larget driver of value creation. 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.

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 and testing is a huge factor in this process. Scientists are enlisted with the responsibility of testing products and creating products that are compliant with the current, and always changing, standards and parameters of the industry. Every government entity has standards for CBD and THC products and consumption and scientists are vital to maintaining that compliance.

External compliance testing also offers opportunities for scientists to carry out R+D. California requires all cannabis companies to allow third party laboratories to engage in routine compliance testing of all of their products.

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. 

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 [email protected] and attach your resume. We offer career coaching and advice for potential candidates in addition to building companies and teams for our clients.

Part II coming soon!

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