How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry

People sitting at a table having a meeting

The cannabis industry seems like the wild west a little bit, right?

Limitless possibility.
Endless opportunity.
Tons of money pouring in.

Well, that’s true. It’s very much like the wild west at times because the rules are forming in front of our very eyes every day.

We have New York and New Jersey moving toward recreational legalization; most of the west coast is now online with dispensaries open in Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada too; and there are a host of other states in the process of figuring out their policies on the plant.

Vox does a great job summarizing where legalization is at in the U.Swhile providing some context to the history of legalization. Look at all the green on this map!

U.S. Map of Cannabis Laws


The cannabis industry may seem like the wild west, and in one part it definitely is, but it’s maturing at a rapid pace and finding its footing. The industry is quickly learning to understand its identity with many amazing voices, who have incredible experiences, coming to the forefront to keep the industry pushing forward. Take a look at Amy Margolis and her new accelerator called The Initiative, which is an accelerator program, business bootcamp and funding resource for female founded cannabis businesses. Awesome!!

With all this in mind, let’s dive into navigating this industry and where your best opportunities lie. Really, it’s all about networking.

How can I get started in the cannabis industry?

Simple question right? Where do you start when you’re starting a job search, networking to find new clients or just trying to make new connections to get a foot into the door with all these cannabis companies? Well, there are lots of options for you, and, most of the time, they are right under your nose, but you just need to look for them. Let’s explore all the different options out there.




Vangst homepage

Look, if you want to find a job in the cannabis industry, Vangst is possibly the best recruiting firm out there for job candidates…and employers, for that matter. They have been around for several years and have great recruiters who know how to place the right candidate for the perfect job.

Vangst focuses on the cannabis industry and has connections everywhere. We would highly recommend anyone looking to find a job in the industry to start there. They can help you with your resume or help you tailor your job descriptions to find the best candidates. Their network is huge, and they’re a great place to see what kinds of jobs are out there and what companies are hiring for in the industry.




WomenGrow networking events state by state

We can’t say enough flattering things about WomenGrow. Their mission is to to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders. How do they do it? By creating one amazing community and program schedule for their members and attendees.

Their mission is to be the catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry, but they have many male attendees and members as well. They’re in over 35 cities, so they’re accessible as a nationwide event network.

Additionally, their events always have amazing energy because the people who attend are there to support the members in the cannabis community. Especially now, it’s important to support every professional, entrepreneur and business working in the industry because it’s a new industry at the whim of a lot of new regulation. Groups like WomenGrow are the foundation for that support. They provide one of the most positive atmospheres to create connection and community for the cannabis industry. We highly recommend you attend your local WomenGrow event in the near future!


The National Cannabis Industry Association aka NCIA


National Cannabis Industry Association Homepage

If you don’t know what The National Cannabis Industry Association or NCIA is, then you need to get out from under the rock and join the party! The NCIA is one of the largest trade groups for the cannabis industry. Their mission is to promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry. They lobby, they hustle and they make sure that the cannabis industry is represented professionally on the national stage.

They run events, trade shows and conferences all across the U.S.. Additionally, you will see them at almost every public hearing about cannabis. We’ve had experience with their events in California, and it’s hard to walk away from one of their events without meeting a boatload of new contacts.

Their website is full of resources for cannabis professionals and businesses. They have an eye on priority legislation in both the U.S. House and Senate, tons of resources on the state of cannabis policy around the country, tons of industry events and a blog that is updated quite regularly with great information about the cannabis industry.  Check them out and attend a local NCIA event if you can get to one!




CannaGather homepage

CannaGather has been a great place to network with other professionals in the industry for the past couple years. They’re based out of New York and New Jersey, but have members all across the country. They have become one of the premier groups to help people understand what’s happening with the cannabis industry in New York and New Jersey as the two states are heading toward recreational legalization.

Every event has a great lineup of speakers. Back in August, CannaGather NJ had Mayor Reed Gusciora of Trenton and members of his office speak about business licensing in Trenton. If you were attending CannaGather in New York City, then you would’ve listened to Danny Danko, the Senior Cultivation Editor of High Times, speak to a group of over 250 people. If you find yourself in the northeast, CannaGather is a great option for you to meet some people in the same industry as yourself.




Ellementa upcoming gatherings

Ellementa is a global women’s cannabis wellness network that has gatherings in 37 cities and counting. Ellementa’s website is full of information to help women find trusted resources and information as well as a supportive community to answer questions about integrating cannabis into their daily lives.

Ellementa runs gatherings all across the U.S. and Canada to take the conversation from their website into the real world. You can attend one of their events and meet artists, CEOs, professionals, enthusiasts, moms and everyone else under the stars. Our CEO, Denise Biderman, has attended their events in Los Angeles and they have been an incredible networking opportunity for her. Check them out!


The Maze


The Maze - Cannabis Community Calendar

The Maze is making sense out of all the different cannabis events out there for professionals. They decided to do a round-up of all the events happening in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Denver, Boston and Washington D.C. Sign up for their newsletter and you’ll get a weekly digest of all the events happening in those cities. It’s hard to find good round-ups of cannabis events on a weekly basis without searching every single event platform yourself. Just let The Maze do all searching for you while you focus on attending the events.


Direct Cannabis Network


Direct Cannabis Network Homepage

Adelia Carrillo set out to create something that didn’t exist when she first dove into the cannabis industry: B2B resources for people in the cannabis industry. There are lots of websites and magazines that cover the consumer side of things (think High Times or Dope Magazine). However, there was minimal information out there for the business owner or professional looking to learn more about working in the industry. Well, here comes Direct Cannabis Network to fill that void. Their website is full of incredible business news and information that can guide you as you build your career or business. Plus, it’s a great place to keep up with cannabis business news.


Mary’s List


Mary's List logo

Of course we can’t leave ourselves off of this list. We’re passionate about getting people where they need to go in the cannabis industry. We’re passionate about bringing medicine to more people. The more people we can help, the more medicine we get to the people who need it. It’s that simple.

Mary’s List is where you can get your project off the ground, hire the right professional for your business to take it to the next level or find the freelancing or consulting work that makes you truly excited to work every day.

A lot more of us are running our own businesses and doing work as independent contractors. If you need to find help on a project, you can post your project to Mary’s List and connect with professionals to help you get your project done. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your next business partner!

What can I expect from the cannabis industry?

It’s not all roses and beautiful buds in the industry. You’re going to hit some snags along the way. People may not respond to you. You might get frustrated that you can’t get a break. You might feel overwhelmed as to where to start.

So, try this: make a goal or two for yourself. Why are you entering the cannabis industry? Why does it matter to you? Networking, finding clients, finding a job, finding help for your business – it’s all a similar process that requires a goal.

We hear from people all the time who are interested in starting a career in the cannabis industry, but don’t know how to get started. Start with a goal for yourself. What do you want out of working in the cannabis industry? Now, work your way backwards all the way to your current situation. Figure out what needs to happen for you to reach that goal. Then, use all the resources we mentioned above to get there. As simple as that sounds, it will make a world of difference for you and clear up the clouds so you can see horizon a bit better for yourself.

This is one exciting industry to be a part of — that’s for sure. So tell us about you. Why do you want to work in the cannabis industry? What was your Aha Moment? How do you think your skills can make an impact? Let us know in the comments!


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4 Replies to “How to Get Into the Cannabis Industry”

  1. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting
    a new initiative in a community in the same niche.
    Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvellous job!

  2. Thanks for all these info. Back in 2015 I was working on a school project; I really wanted to open a MJ Dispensary here in NYC but I was stopped before I even started doing my research by my professor. She kept saying that this was too controversial and school wouldn’t allow it so idea was tossed out the window. Great industry and wouldn’t mind becoming part of it one day.
    Congrats on the price you guys just won!!

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