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Why is getting into the MMJ industry so difficult?

January 27, 2016

Medical Marijuana Jobs

As a recruiter, we must get this question at least ten times a day. We’re talking about folks looking for Medical Marijuana employment in states that have new medical marijuana programs with dispensaries and cultivation centers that have recently opened or been licensed. These are people that have no experience in the industry, of course, because it’s so new. Everyone wants to get into the marijuana industry as it’s one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. So why IS it so hard to get jobs in marijuana industry if it’s such an upcoming industry? First you must know where is medical marijuana legal and where you want to work. Inexperienced people in legal states have competition because there are still quite a few unemployed medical marijuana dispensary workers out there competing for the same job that they are. In newly opened medicinal states, such as Illinois and Maryland, medical marijuana programs are not truly up and running at full capacity until the program is at least a couple years old. Some of the states we are talking about don’t even have all of their shops open yet. Some of those states have such a low patient count that when you divide it up per shop, there isn’t a need for more than one dispensary technician and one manager yet - but that will change as the programs mature. First thing we recommend to start your journey to get a medical marijuana job - be sure you have a quality resume to present to the business owners, when you do apply. When I say quality, I also mean professional. If your email address is “cute” or “funny” it should not be used for job search. Personalize your objectives and cover notes to include the position you are seeking and the name of the medical marijuana establishment you are applying to. People love to see their name and by including the business name, you should get their eye quickly. If you really want to work in the marijuana industry; you are going to have to be patient and persistent. Use one of the many resources out there that utilize your zip code as a launching pad for a dispensary search within the distance radius you are willing to travel. Once you get that list together, start submitting your resume. Even if you don’t see a position posted, adjust your cover note to reflect the fact that you know there isn’t a posted position but that you would like to be considered for the next round of hiring. The more you personalize your documents, the higher chance you have of getting noticed. If you don’t have experience and really want to get in, then take some industry training. HempStaff actually has classes to teach you how to work in a dispensary (click here) and there are cultivation classes out there for those that are more comfortable in a greenhouse type environment. Business owners are excited when they see candidates that go out of their way to take and pay for medical marijuana training on their own. It definitely shows your eagerness to work in the marijuana industry and that can get your resume moved to the top of the pile. And finally, network - and when we say network, we don’t just mean like a few posts on social media. No, this time you will have to get off the couch, go to a NORML meeting or better yet, join your local chapter. Usually, there are patient advocate groups around, a quick Google search should help with that. Marijuana Seminars, also known as “Canna” conferences, are all over now so if you are in an area that is hosting one, get a day pass and get in there to meet the local business owners - you’ll find dispensary and cultivation ownership groups at many of them. If you can’t find a “network” to volunteer with that’s the perfect place, medical marijuana advocate and support groups always attend the large conferences and they always have volunteers running their booth. Talk to them and find out how you can get on their schedule and help them. The more visible you are, the more people notice. That volunteer work all goes on your resume too – and looks fantastic! This is a very competitive industry because everyone wants to get in. Past experience and training will come into play when decision makers are viewing your resume for these medical marijuana jobs, so be sure to be professional and let your passion for the plant and for the industry shine through. It takes most entry level people four to six months of active searching to obtain that first job, for many it takes even more, but with patience and persistence you will be part of the marijuana industry before you know it! For more information on Hempstaff's upcoming training schedule, go to our Medical Marijuana Dispensary Training Page. The Medical Marijuana Industry is just like any other industry - the more you learn, the more you will earn! #learntoearn

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