The cannabis industry is experiencing annual growth rates exceeding 30%! And many states are not even open for business yet. A number of Americans looking for a new career might ask themselves “Perhaps I should work in the cannabis industry?”


Here are a few tips to get started in cannabis:


1  Know Your Market. What state are you in? In America in 2020, cannabis is all about what state you live in. Do you need a badge? Is your state medical only or “full on rec” (recreational)? If it’s not legal yet in your state, it might be close. Many states are deciding in two months. Learn the legal language on what will be legal when.


2  Start Growing. In some states, like Colorado, it’s legal to grow a certain number of plants yourself for personal use. Do it. Learn what’s involved. Even if you don’t want to work in a grow facility – and they’re not grow houses any more, they’re full blown facilities – you’ll have a greater appreciation for the plant. And those who do grow will have a greater appreciation for you. Even if you want to be the accountant. Especially if you want to be the accountant.


3  Start Making Friends In The Industry. You know the old saying, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. LinkedIn is particularly kind to cannabis. Start building relationships.


4  Use Cannabis. Smoke it. Try sativas, try indicas, learn about terpenes. Eat and drink cannabis too, because now you can. Rub a CBD topical on your skin. Understand the consumer experience.


5  Ancillary Or Plant Touching? This is one you may not know the answer to yet. Ancillary businesses, like insurance, payment processing, and yes, conferences, make money by being part of the industry without actually touching the plant. This is key in one regard – taxes. If you start a grow operation or a retail dispensary, expect to pay the IRS $70,000 out of every $100,000 you bring in. Don’t believe me? Read up on IRS 280E.


Indeed, a cottage industry is arising that helps grows and dispensaries carve out part of their operations as not plant touching – bookkeeping for example – and then carving out the tax savings too, reclassifying to a more typical 15% or so. Do the math.


6  Work It If You’ve Got It. Let me blunt. America appears to be genuinely trying to do something about the systemic racism in this country. Finally.


So if you’re a person of color, research social equity programs. Highlight your ethnicity, especially if the place you’re applying has a board that’s all white (it still happens way too much). Women of color in particular, I guarantee you, somewhere in this industry, there’s a white guy who needs to hire you in more ways than one.


7  Join An Industry Org – And Work It. Great organizations like NCIA and NACB advocate for and represent the industry to elected officials, the media, and others. They can’t do it alone. They need both our time and our money to be effective advocates for our movement. Sign up, pay your annual dues, but don’t stop there. Join a committee, go to events, participate! 90% of life is just showing up!


Also, your resume will pop if it includes the NCIA logo on there.


8  Visit A Co-Working Space.  In Colorado, the Denver market is served by Cultivated Synergy. Co-working spaces do events regularly to bring people into their space. Go to some!


If you start your own company or organization, rent a co-working space. In addition to all the perks of a co-working space like sharing scissors and printer/copiers, Cultivated is focused on the cannabis industry. All co-working spaces offer value – find one in your industry, and you get the added value of meeting people across your industry.

9  Attend Industry Events.  The Cannabis Public Policy Conference on September 23-24 has a virtual option that’s only $29 for two full days of content. The trade show floor is free. There are dozens of events like this every year in cannabis.

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