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So, You Want to Find a Job in The Cannabis Industry?

June 06, 2017 | WES ABNEY

Get work. Living the dream is easier than you think, but there is a process.

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WHAT KIND OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE?

The beautiful thing about the Cannabis industry is that in a seed-to-sale system there are a ton of jobs and opportunities to find employment, and no two areas are exactly the same. While certain facilities or operations might have specialized jobs outside of this list, these are the common types of jobs that one can expect to look for in the weed world.

Budtender: This is the person who helps connect a consumer to their Cannabis. Much like a bartender is expected to mix good cocktails, a budtender is expected to be knowledgeable about Cannabis, passionate, helpful and a people person.

Security: Security can be as simple as checking IDs at the door of a dispensary to providing security for a garden or a third party that provides security services for cash drops, etc.

Buyer: Retail stores often have a manager in-charge of purchasing the products that end up on the shelf, this is a hugely important job and one that.

Trimming: Just like it sounds, trimming fresh bud before it goes to market. This can be direct for a garden, or through a third party trimming company.

Packaging: Once pot is trimmed it must be packaged, in a time consuming and labor intensive process that needs a lot of hands.

Garden help/management: This work can be as simple as watering plants and doing things that seem almost trivial, like cleaning and helping a facility run smoothly. But this is the start to becoming a proficient gardener. If you have no garden experience, a willingness to get dirty and work hard is a must. If you have experience, be prepared to learn someone’s system, and always be humble — theres a lot of work to be done on the garden end, and learning that skill can turn into a career.

Everything else: There are ancillary companies popping up to handle all areas of pot, from security to trimming to general labor to companies like this magazine. If none of the above sound interesting to you, reach out to something else that touches the industry. You could work at a glass shop, learn to blow glass, learn transportation of Cannabis, or even volunteer to help a patient organization.


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The instructions are simple, but we’ll outline them here: Register your name and password, and you’re entered in the system. This will issue you a cover page document that affirms you have filed with the state. 

Next, you take a handler’s card course and test. I took the HandleAlaska.com test by Kim Cole, and found it to be the most educational and focused one of the five or so that are available. Plan on spending an afternoon clicking through the powerpoint course, learning all the rules and regulations that are extremely important for anyone in the industry, and then take the test! If you pass, it’s on to the final step.

The Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office (AMCO) has physical locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks, and applications can also be mailed in. 

The easiest way is to go in person, in Anchorage and Fairbanks the office is open Wednesday’s from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. This is the only time you can be issued a Marijuana Handler’s Card. Show up between those hours with your cover letter, a copy of your Marijuana Handler Permit Education Course Certificate, and a check/money order (no cash) for $50, and put on your biggest smile for their cameras! Within minutes you will have your own MJ Handler’s Card, and be ready to start on your new dream job in the pot industry!


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Getting Your Marijuana Handler’s Card 

You’ve decided to get a job in the weed industry! Now you need just one more thing before you can get started. We are all thinking we’ve been “handling” pot for a long time. Think of this like a food handler’s card, but with a little more studying required to learn the rules of the industry. A Marijuana Handler’s Card is required to work in any state licensed Cannabis facility, producing, processing or retailing.


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WHAT ABOUT BECOMING A MASTER GARDENER?

No. I’m sorry guys, but this goes out to basically everyone in Alaska and really the world. Do you know how many times we have met the world’s best grower? Too many to count. The only true “Master Grower” is one with a college degree in horticulture and years of experience growing Cannabis, and those are few and far between. If you want to work in a garden and have experience in your own, use that experience to show your level of skill and comfort with the plant, and be humble about your abilities. We all have something to learn in the garden, and in an ever-evolving industry, the ability to continually learn is the most valuable thing a grower can bring to the garden.

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