In the first two months after legalization, Colorado made $3.4 million in new tax revenues, with initial projections estimating another $184 million over 18 months. As more states legalize cannabis, we could be looking at a $10 billion industry by 2018. “Over 10,000 marijuana-industry jobs have been created in Colorado alone,” says Dan Kingston, founder of 420Careers.com, a cannabis job board that posts five to 10 new job listings a week.
Want in? Follow these tips to score the perfect job for you in the marijuana industry:
1. Determine your Interests
There are many ways to enter the industry, and hundreds of different jobs — but what appeals to you? Do you love to grow? Have an aptitude for business or a flair for sales? Knowledge and a passion to learn everything you can about your field are important. Employers are always impressed by an interview when you know about their work culture and how they operate.
2. Know your Skills
It’s useful to envision just how you can succeed. For example, there are plenty of people who grow really good weed, but maybe you can grow really good weed and code software. Examine what you do best and then offer up your unique skill set.
3. Invest your Time
If you don’t know much about the industry or don’t have a unique skill to set you apart from the competition, try joining an organization that supports the cannabis movement. Volunteering your time shows a deep level of commitment that makes you attractive to employers. And while volunteering, you’ll be networking: You’ll meet industry leaders, up-and-coming entrepreneurs—and potential employers.
4. Invest your Money
If you have the means and don’t want to miss out on lucrative ground-floor opportunities, look into investing in things like real estate for cannabusinesses, or cannabis-extract or agricultural equipment. Attend industry trade shows and, if you see potential in a cannabusiness, offer to become partners for a percentage or stake in the company. If you’re an accredited, large-scale investor check out venture-capital groups like the High Times Growth Fund which pairs potential investors with existing businesses,or an investment network like the ArcView Group which hosts Shark Tank–like pitch sessions where they hear from potential entrepreneurs and then connects them with investors.
Buyers beware: Pot stocks are high-risk investments and extremely vola- tile—so think again if you’re trying to get rich quick. htgrowthfund.com; arcviewgroup.com
5. Get a Higher Education
If you’re really green and want to start out in the industry, then go to school. High-school graduates should look into universities that have a college of agriculture and life sciences, like Purdue, Texas A&M, or Iowa State. If you want to be closer to the heart of things, the University of Humboldt in California has an excellent botany program.
However, those colleges won’t teach you how to grow marijuana or run a cannabusiness. For that, you’ll have to attend institutions of higher learning. Every month, Oaksterdam University in Oakland, CA, offers basic and advanced indoor horticulture seminars, which include four days of intensive instruction, and 26 hours of grow training from expert teach- ers. They also hold seminars across the country. 420 College offers weekend seminars on how to open a dispensary, as well as workshops on cultivation training, across the US. And at the Cannabis University of Colorado, students can attend the All-in-One-Day class for $250, which covers everything from growing your own meds to understanding Colorado state law. oaksterdamuniversity.com; 420college.org; cannabisuniversitycolorado.com