Biden Admin warns applicants about investing in cannabis stocks

Biden Admin warns applicants about investing in cannabis stocks

Biden admin cannabis stocks

Smoking weed may no longer be the only potential impediment to getting a job with security clearance in the Biden administration. Investing in cannabis companies could now trip up applicants, too.

The Biden administration has expanded its employee conduct guidelines to potentially deny security clearance to individuals who have invested in companies that are involved in the marijuana business, according to an internal executive branch presentation shared with POLITICO.

“Eligibility may be negatively impacted if an individual knowingly and directly invests in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers,” according to the document. “Decisions to willfully invest in such activity could reflect questionable judgment and an unwillingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations.”

The recently updated guidance is the latest illustration of the federal government trying to grapple with its cannabis-related HR policies as the product has become an accepted legal business, medication and recreational substance in states across the country. All told, 37 states, the District of Columbia and some territories have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use.

The White House has adopted a more forgiving posture than its predecessors. Early on in his tenure, President Joe Biden issued a memo that stated prior marijuana use would not automatically disqualify applicants — the most lenient policy of any administration since before President Ronald Reagan.

But he hasn’t been altogether forgiving. Last year, the White House did fire some employees and rescinded employment offers due to prior marijuana use in the early days of the administration. According to the internal presentation, the White House has not changed its position, despite calls from House Democrats to do so.

US cannabis jobs surpass 321,000 full-time jobs

US cannabis jobs surpass 321,000 full-time jobs

cannabis jobs surpass 300,000 in the US

How many jobs are there in America’s legal marijuana industry?

The 2021 Leafly Jobs Report, issued earlier today, found 321,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2021. That total includes both plant-touching and ancillary jobs—everyone from budtenders to bean-counters.

To put that in perspective: In the United States there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers. There are more legal cannabis workers than EMTs and paramedics. There are more than twice as many legal cannabis workers as dentists.

cannabis jobs exceed 300,000 in the US

The annual Leafly Jobs Report, produced in partnership with Whitney Economics, is the nation’s cornerstone cannabis employment study.

Federal prohibition prevents the US Department of Labor from counting state-legal marijuana jobs. Since 2017, Leafly’s news and data teams have filled that gap with a yearly analysis of employment in the legal cannabis sector.

Whitney Economics, a leading consulting firm that specializes in cannabis economics, policy, and business consulting, has partnered with Leafly on the project since 2019.

Twice the job growth as 2019

Cannabis job growth in 2020 represents a doubling of the previous year’s US job growth. In 2019, the cannabis industry added 33,700 new US jobs for a total of 243,700.

Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States in 2020. That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II.

Cannabis now an $18.3 billion industry in the United States

In 2020, Americans purchased $18.3 billion worth of cannabis products, a 71% increase over 2019.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March, many in the cannabis industry worried about a potential industry-wide shutdown. Instead, governors in most states declared cannabis an essential product. Dispensaries and retail stores responded by offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery as COVID-safe options for their customers.

Customers responded by stocking up for months of stay-at-home advisories and social distancing. After a brief dip in late-March revenue, most stores saw a significant bump in April—and then the bump became a plateau.

Cannabis Dispensary Jobs: Tips for success

Cannabis Dispensary Jobs: Tips for success

Cannabis dispensary jobs are more available today than ever before.

The cannabis industry isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Several states have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use just this year, and it’s only May. With legalization comes a brand new industry, with a completely different infrastructure, and a unique product at its core.

One of the most popular and essential jobs of any cannabis industry is that of the cannabis dispensary budtender. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, think of the name literally. Tenders of bud, or cannabis products.

Cannabis Dispensary Jobs

This article is going to focus on the budtender dispensary jobs specifically, but there are other dispensary jobs outside of budtending.

You can also become a grower for a dispensary and manage a dispensary, among other opportunities. Remember that if you are in a medical marijuana state, you will need some type of certification and medical licensing prior to applying for dispensary jobs to even be considered in most cases.

When it comes to budtending specifically, we have some tips for being prepared for the job, and doing the job better once you’re hired.

Budtender Tips

The first thing to know about budtending dispensary jobs, is that being a recreational budtender and medical budtender are two different things. As a recreational budtender, you can think of yourself as a sommelier of cannabis. As a medical budtender, you are helping patients with potentially serious health conditions find the right medicine for them.

It can be hard to take this difference seriously as in most cases, other than different regulatory requirements, medical and recreational cannabis is identical. However, while there is still a separation between the two, there is also a difference in experience required.

Know Your Cannabis

To save us all from more redundancies, apply the following advice to a more extreme extent for medical cannabis dispensary jobs. The most important being to know your shit.

Any inexperienced wine drinker will find it more difficult to tell the difference between a red wine from Northern California, and a red wine from Georgia. But an experienced wine drinker or sommelier can notice the intricate differences in smells, flavors and even effects that different wines have.

Cannabis is no different. Even more so, compared to wine, cannabis has been more genetically modified and tampered with by humans than wine ever has, despite wine’s higher popularity throughout history. This means there’s a good chance that the dispensary you’re applying to could have more than a dozen different cannabis strains on their shelves, if not more, all with unique profiles.

Know Your Terpenes and Cannabinoids

A table of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and their effects. Photo by Pot Guide.

The smells, flavors and effects of each cannabis strain are different, and knowing these differences will help you get the best product in the customer’s hand. Now, we all know what they say about assuming, but it’s pretty safe to assume that if you’re applying to work at a cannabis dispensary, you probably consume cannabis yourself.

What I’m saying is, you have experience consuming cannabis to the point you think you can suggest to other people the best strains for them. But it’s another level of dedication to consistently pay attention to the cannabis you are consuming and noting its terpene profile, and how it affects you. To be an effective budtender, you need a similar understanding of the cannabis you are selling.

When it comes to cannabinoids, you will have some customers that just want the highest THC content possible. More experienced consumers may want something with more CBD, or even CBG and CBN among other cannabinoids. Depending on your state, there might be labels already on the cannabis that tells you its cannabinoid content, but in a lot of cases there won’t be. If this labelling isn’t a requirement in your market, you most likely don’t need to worry about it as much.

Go Above and Beyond for Your Customers

As mentioned above, a lot of new cannabis consumers will come into a cannabis dispensary and look for whatever strain has the highest THC content because it’s the only cannabinoid they know. For most of our lives we have been led to believe that THC is everything, but as an experienced budtender and cannabis connoisseur, you know that’s not the case.

Think about that one time you had a waiter at a restaurant that just blew you away. They were polite, knew the menu like the back of their hand, and helped your whole table decide on what to order just by having a conversation. That waiter helped guide you to your own decision, with some suggestions (based on his assumed experience) to get you there. Budtending is no different.

You should never just be standing there waiting for the customer decide on what they want, especially if you can tell they aren’t sure. Ask if they like specific smells, flavors and effects. Through your knowledge, guide your customers to an educated decision, that you can both feel confident in.

Not only does this make the customer more likely to come back to the dispensary, it makes you more likely to excel in your position. With experience, knowledge and commitment, you can excel in a budtending job at any cannabis dispensary. After some time working in a dispensary, you could eventually decide that you want to transition into the grow.

We’ll dive into getting those dispensary grow jobs in the next article.

Cannabis Jobs: 6 Employment Tips

Cannabis Jobs: 6 Employment Tips

Finding cannabis jobs is one thing. Applying to cannabis jobs is another.

The cannabis industry is hiring. It isn’t broadly advertised or promoted on the online job board like other more common jobs, however, which can make finding them difficult.

In addition to the difficulty in finding jobs, applying for certain jobs in the industry will have mandatory requirements from obtaining a license to paying a fee in order to qualify. As someone who went through the process of finding a job that resulted in me moving from Pennsylvania to Colorado, I have some tips for finding jobs easier and making your application stand a better chance of getting that second look.

Finding Cannabis Jobs

1. Look local first

Over 30 states in the US have legalized medical or recreational cannabis. This means that over 30 states are most likely hiring, and one of them could be yours! You can check out this handy map to see if your state has a medical or recreational market you could look into.

cannabis jobs are available in these states

Photo courtesy of Governing.com

If your state is highlighted on that map, there’s a chance someone nearby is hiring. Look for local dispensaries or distributors and give them a call. Most dispensaries in younger legal states will be mom and pop shops or smaller scale, and thus not putting out lengthy ads on the job boards.

I recommend finding some local businesses you like, and giving them a call. It makes it much easier to find out if they are hiring. Also if they are hiring, you’re already talking to them! Phone calls make it much easier to relate your skills without sending a resume and waiting for an email reply.

2. Look at the hubs

The cannabis industry, recreational especially, is still in its infancy in the US. This means a lot of states that recently legalized medical or recreational cannabis may still be setting up their industry, and thus not hiring in large numbers. Instead, look to the places that have had legal cannabis for a while.

Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have all developed their markets to a point of stability, for the most part. Although Oregon is certainly not in need of any more growers, there is other opportunity to be found in processing, distribution or retail.

While technically still very young and new, California is very likely looking for qualified candidates right now. California has been operating in a grey market since the medical industry exploded, with private market sales creating entire businesses and supply chain. These businesses were for the most part able to transition into the legal industry, and now they’re hiring.

Look up the most popular cannabis jobs in the state you choose or simply google “cannabis jobs california” to see what the job boards have to offer.

3. Think about what you can do

When it comes to applying for cannabis jobs, it helps to think in terms of not what you want to do, but what you can do. It might not sound like the stereotypical “follow your dreams” advice, but with limited jobs and a lot of applicants, you can’t be too picky when looking for cannabis jobs.

All of my experience was in public relations, social media and content, but I was looking at and applying to growing jobs, budtending jobs and even trimming jobs. This doesn’t mean throw out your dream of being the next big cannabis marketer, because those jobs are there too. They are just much harder to find, and it can be disheartening seeing all the lower level jobs and not the ones you really want.

4. Know the requirements

California has no mandatory requirements for entering the recreational cannabis industry as an employee. Nevada, however, requires you to study, take an exam, and pay a fee in order to obtain a license to work in the Nevada cannabis industry.

The last thing you want is to go through an application process only to find out you don’t meet the one essential criteria for the job. I wrote a guide that goes through all of the requirements for the most prevalent states with cannabis jobs. Look it over to make sure the state you’re applying in doesnt’t have a hidden requirement you might have overlooked.

5. Apply, apply, apply

It’s boring, and it can be time consuming, but it’s essential. If you are looking outside of the cannabis space for jobs as a fallback option, you most likely have two separate resumes that you will be sending to potential employers. One “clean” resumé that covers your professional skills (or whatever), and the other you send to the cannabis jobs.

This resumé will have your grow experience, cannabis knowledge and other skills that would most likely instantly disqualify you from any other job. And like I said, apply to everything. You can always so no to a job offer, but not if there’s no job offer in the first place. This is where you might have to swallow some pride and apply to jobs you would never actually take.

Think of these applications as practice. Learn what kind of questions cannabis jobs employers might ask in interviews and what they are looking for in an applicant. This helps you to prepare for the jobs you really want, and you’ll be ready to answer the questions the employer has for you when you get that interview.

6. Don’t give up

I was in the final stages of the application process for a job doing social media for a children’s museum in Baltimore. I would have gotten that job too, had I stuck around. My point is, there will always be a “safe” option to fall back on. Too many people take that option.

If that’s you, the cannabis industry isn’t for you anyway. There is risk in working in this industry, and a lot less job security than your everyday office job. With that said, you have the opportunity to get involved in a new and growing industry that the majority of people are too afraid to enter in the first place. You already have an advantage.

It took me over six months of applying to cannabis jobs and “safe” jobs before I was offered a job in Colorado, and even when I was offered the job, I still was hesitant. Our society puts a strong emphasis on pursuing the safe option. Breaking that instinct can be hard. But all I can say now that I’ve been in Colorado for almost a year is that it is worth it.

If you have been looking at cannabis jobs here and there, thinking about how cool it would be to actually get one of those jobs, it’s time to start applying. You might be thinking you’re not in the right state to find a job, or you missed the “window” to get in on the ground level. Those excuses passed through my mind multiple times too. Ignore them and keep applying.

The worst thing that can happen is you’ll be one of the few that can say they at least tried.

Hear my story of how I made the transition from Pennsylvania to Colorado in this week’s episode of The Real Dirt! I talk about the problems with finding cannabis jobs right now, how I got mine, and how you can too.

Getting Cannabis Industry Jobs: Industry Employment Guide

Getting Cannabis Industry Jobs: Industry Employment Guide

There’s a lot of cannabis industry jobs out there. They’re just hard to find.

There are now more than 30 states that have legalized cannabis for medicinal or recreational use, and the jobs are there if you are willing to look. Due to its stigmatized nature and lack of advertising, finding cannabis industry jobs can be tough, especially in states that have just recently opened their markets.

States like Massachusetts and Michigan are both projected to be highly successful markets. But whereas Michigan just legalized with plans in place for a recreational marketplace within one year, Massachusetts has been legal for two years and has yet to open a dispensary, although that looks to be changing soon.

Cannabis Industry Jobs by State

Every state has set up their legal cannabis markets differently, whether medicinal or recreational. Colorado has one of the most effective and respected programs, and it is highly regulated. California on the other hand has much less restrictions on working in the industry, but a more difficult process of starting a cannabis business in the state.

The more you know about each state’s laws, the easier it will be to decide where you want to work, and what you want to do. Some states are only giving out licenses for growing and extracting, while others have given them all out, and now just need budtenders. Some states require you be a state resident to work in the industry in that state. Other states have no such requirement.

Another way to learn about getting into the industry from the outside is to hear the story of someone who did just that…me!

This Week on The Real Dirt

If you didn’t notice by the author line at the top, I’m Travis, and I’m the guest on this week’s episode of The Real Dirt.

I have been writing for The Real Dirt for over a year, and have been writing about cannabis for roughly 5 years. What started as a fantasy of working in the legal industry developed over time into me picking up and leaving Pennsylvania to move to Colorado to work full time for The Real Dirt and Cultivate Colorado.

It wasn’t easy for me to find a job in the industry, especially from the east coast. It will be hard for you too, but it’s not impossible. You don’t need to pick up and leave with no job security and hope you find something. You just have to look. Hard.

It took me at least 6 months of doing unrelated jobs on the side and looking for cannabis-related jobs before I actually found The Real Dirt. So don’t give up.

My story isn’t anything special. I saw an opportunity and went for it against odds, and succeeded. Now I’m writing this trying to help you get past the point I was stuck at too! If you want to hear more about me and how I ended up 2,500 miles away from all my family, listen to my episode of The Real Dirt!

Plus, I wrote a nice Industry Employment Guide that goes into detail about the fastest growing cannabis industries in the country, and all of the requirements for working in them. Please check that out, download it, print it, frame it, burn it, whatever you want. But it will help you understand the basics of these state’s respective industries should you decide to start looking for a job.

I hope you get something out of this episode and the industry guide, and as always you can ask me any questions at Travis@therealdirt.com, or talk to me on Instagram! I run both Cultivate Colorado’s and The Real Dirt’s Instagram accounts, and I LOVE TALKING WITH FANS!


Read the Full Real Dirt Industry Employment Guide Here!

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Spotify