If someone told you there was an industry that was growing faster than almost any other business on the market today, would it spark your interest?
How about if you knew that revenue for this industry is projected to hit the $57 billion in the next decade?
It should come as no surprise that the industry we’re talking about is cannabis.
With legalization on the rise and thousands of people discovering the countless benefits cannabis has to offer, sales of this versatile herb are sweeping the nation. And if you’re a business savvy person or simply looking for a career change, the cannabis industry offers countless opportunities for making money and promoting a cause you believe in.
But like with any new project or business venture, information is key.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about breaking into the cannabis industry and what opportunities are available.
Whether you’ve been a cannabis user for years or have never even touched the stuff, you need to brush up on your knowledge.
Not only about cannabis and what it does for users, but also the market itself. Because marijuana is not yet legal in all 50 states, there are numerous laws, regulations, and protocol businesses must follow to remain compliant.
When it comes to compliance and the cannabis industry, a misstep could get you more than just a slap on the wrist. Once you’ve mastered the legal aspect of selling cannabis, you also need to understand how it’s grown and the many ways people consume it.
You can check out this article for more info on the process of growing cannabis.
Marijuana can be smoked, added to edible treats, used in lotions and oils, or taken in capsule form. Depending on what aspect of the cannabis industry you’re looking to enter, all of this information is useful.
Simply taking a crash course in the cannabis industry before trying your hand in it, isn’t enough. This isn’t a practical approach, especially in an industry that is virtually changing and expanding from day to day.
Don’t limit yourself or your possibilities by simply learning the basics and never looking back. There are countless technological advancements in the cultivation and distribution of cannabis happening every day.
And if you want to keep up with the fierce competition, you need to stay on top of these cutting-edge advancements. Staying informed circles back to legal compliance as well.
Here is a short breakdown of some of the best resources for staying up to date on CBD news, legal changes, and information.
- The Association of Cannabis Professionals (ACP)
- The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA)
Check your state for other organizations that offer workshops, legal updates, and other valuable information about the cannabis industry near you.
Understand the Basics
If you have no prior knowledge, experience, or exposure to the cannabis industry, you need to know the basics.
And this starts with knowing exactly what cannabis is and what it isn’t. So, what’s the difference between cannabis, CBD, marijuana, and hemp?
Here’s a quick breakdown.
- Cannabis/Marijuana – Cannabis is the actual plant from which marijuana comes but is often used to describe marijuana itself. These two terms, over time, have become interchangeable. The same can be said for “pot” and “weed”. All of these phrases are describing the same thing. Cannabis, like marijuana, contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the active ingredient that has mind-altering effects on users. Marijuana is currently legal for medicinal purposes in 30 of the 50 states. Its recreational use is legal in only 12 of the 50 states.
- CBD – CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of 120 compounds known as cannabinoids. Unlike cannabis or marijuana, CBD doesn’t contain THC, which means users don’t experience the same “high” but instead, feel a more calming, relaxed feeling. CBD is most popular in oils and is legal for use and consumption in all 50 states.
- Hemp – A variety of the cannabis sativa plant and often cultivated for industrial use. Hemp is most often used to make fibers and doesn’t offer the same psychoactive effects as marijuana. Hemp, unlike marijuana, doesn’t need a controlled atmosphere to grow.
Assess Your Skills
Simply having a desire to break into the cannabis industry isn’t enough. You need the skills to apply your passion.
Start by assessing your knowledge, experience, and skills outside of the CBD industry.
Do you have a background in web design? Maybe your role is to create a killer website that is functional and aesthetically appealing. Do you have a pulse on the cannabis buyer’s market? If so, maybe your role is to create a winning marketing campaign.
Are you a people person with a knack for closing deals? Then a sales position is calling your name. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be familiar with the cannabis industry on a whole but the good news is, you can always learn. And it’s recommended that you do.
Once you have a handle on your skill set, you can start exploring specific job possibilities.
Don’t Limit Your Possibilities
So what are your possibilities in terms of employment in the cannabis industry?
Truth be told, positions go much further than simply “grower” or “seller”.
Like any other flourishing business, a lot of behind the scenes work goes into the production and distribution of CBD for sale.
Here are just a few of the different categories and job titles you can adopt as a newcomer to the cannabis industry.
- Delivery driver
- Sales rep
- Real estate agent
- Tour guide
- Software developer
- IT management
As you can see, there are countless positions available within the cannabis industry. You can choose based on your skills, interest, and current knowledge.
The good news is, if you see an area you’d like to explore, you can do so. And the best way to gain experience is by arming yourself with knowledge and hands-on training.
This may require you to keep your day job as you gather information and perfect your craft. But the effort and time will be well worth it.
You’re a Professional – Own It
Even though the cannabis industry is unique in many ways, it’s still a business and needs to be treated as such.
That means fighting against the stereotype of what cannabis and marijuana users and sellers are.
Stoner. Pothead. Doper.
You don’t want to be associated with any of these names or the stigma that surrounds them. Otherwise, you’ll be hard pressed to find fellow business owners, cultivators, or customers who will take you seriously.
Adopt a professional wardrobe and overall appearance. Handle yourself in a professional manner while conducting business.
This means shaking hands firmly, answer emails and phone calls promptly, speaking clearly and with respect, and being reliable. These same standards carry through into your personal life.
No one is saying that you can’t partake in legal marijuana or CBD use, but you must do so responsibly and within reason. Numerous employees and business owners in the cannabis industry are also users.
What’s important to note is that if they are carrying themselves properly, you won’t know the difference between users and non-users.
Understand the Financial Challenges
Money makes the world go round and with the cannabis industries revenue skyrocketing, you need to understand the financial aspect of the business.
What makes selling CBD slightly more complicated than selling other products is that legal marijuana is a strictly cash-only business. That’s primarily because there are no banks or credit card companies that are willing to get involved in the business.
It’s one of the downfalls to dealing with a product that is still under scrutiny and illegal in several states. Being a cash-only business has its perks but also comes with complications including tax documents, payroll, and being more susceptible to robbery.
The lack of financial flexibility can be especially difficult for online cannabis merchants. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but this is definitely something to keep in mind.
Consider Your Competition and Learn to Network
Competition in the cannabis industry is fierce. Which means you need to know your competition well and stay up to date on what they’re doing, how they’re doing, and how you can improve your process.
But the phrase keep your friends close and your enemies closer applies here too.
You can learn a lot from your competition by examining their sales approach, marketing campaigns, website design, and what products they offer. That doesn’t mean poaching or stealing their ideas. This is immoral in all aspects of business.
But it does mean that you can evaluate their approaches, learn from them, and adopt similar ones for yourself.
Networking is another awesome way to cut down on costs and develop new and innovative ideas. Making professional and personal connections with other people in the field means you can collaborate and create a working relationship, which can benefit you both in the future.
As you can see, much more goes into the cannabis industry than just enjoying the recreational and medicinal benefits of the plant.
The inner workings of a cannabis business are similar to that of any other company. There are also multiple roles and possibilities for job security.
With a little research, experience, and knowledge, you can successfully break into the cannabis industry. And the time is now!