How to get a job in the marijuana industry right here in San Diego

The legal marijuana business is set to add some 80,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next few years. By 2021, the direct and indirect effect of recreational and medical cannabis, including jobs at businesses that service the pot industry, will create an estimated 400,000 jobs, according to industry analysts Arcview Market Research.

  • Although still a fringe industry, the cannabis sector has huge potential as a jobs creator in San Diego County.
  • However, actual cultivation of marijuana in San Diego is very small so far, as actual farms and dispensaries still carry an unfavorable stigma, and face strong public opposition.
  • For the foreseeable future, most of the new (and higher paying) jobs will not be in direct growing, but in support sectors such as software, logistics, retail and marketing.
  • For anyone curious about working in the world of weed, a new resource makes job hunting easier. A recruiting agency for legal cannabis firms has launched a website that aims to serve as a one-stop shop for employers and job seekers. The site,, allows hopefuls to apply to jobs and crate employee profiles, with a focus on marijuana-specific skills and software.



  • The Agricultural Technology (AgTech) sector consists of companies focused on providing technologies, equipment, and supplies to assist in the production and cultivation of the cannabis plant. As the cannabis industry evolves, competition is driving greater efficiencies in the cultivation of cannabis, requiring higher production yields and lower costs. This sector includes companies that provide automated growing systems, greenhouses, farming products, nutrients, hydroponics, fertilization systems, horticultural expertise, LED/lighting technologies, air filtration systems, and climate control and energy efficiency systems.


  • The Biotech sector consists of pharmaceutical companies focused on the research and development of new drugs and products utilizing cannabinoids, the active compounds within cannabis. The sector is currently the largest sector in the U.S and is expected to continue its growth as more companies, universities, and governments around the world expand their research of cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, cannabis medicinal products, and more.


  • The Consumption Devices sector consists of companies focused on developing and selling personal consumption devices for cannabis consumers. Vaporizing cannabis has become an increasingly popular method of consumption for many cannabis consumers, especially given the potential health benefits it may offer compared to traditional smoking. The market for consumption devices also includes companies focused on developing alternative cannabis delivery methods such as inhalers.


  • The Cultivation & Retail sector consists of companies that grow and sell cannabis flower and related products. Despite the uncertain legal environment in the United States, an increasing number of cultivators and retailers have decided to enter the OTC public markets. Companies in this sector are highly sensitive to local, state, and federal cannabis regulations.
  • On the cultivation side, someone who comes in as a plant trimmer or packager and works hard can hope for a promotion in six to 12 months. Why would someone want to move from, say, a conventional tomato farming job to one with a cannabis grower? While the entry-level jobs aren’t necessarily better, the pace at which the industry is growing means there is a much better chance of moving up quickly that a worker might have in an established industry.
  • On the Retail side… Do you have experience in hospitality, restaurants or high-end retail? Workers who’ve been in high-volume, customer-facing industries are in demand at marijuana dispensaries, the largest subsector in the cannabis field.


  • The Hemp Products sector consists of companies that produce and sell hemp products. Hemp is a variety of cannabis that is grown for the fiber and seeds.  The fiber and seeds are incredible valuable and is why hemp is often called a “cash crop”.  Hemp is a very hearty plant and grows very quickly in very diverse soil conditions.  Cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has been done by many civilizations for over 12,000 years. Hemp is one of the most versatile plants in the world, and is used to make thousands of products, including paper, textiles, clothing, biofuel, food, beverages, and CBD products for medical purposes. Canada & Colorado currently lead the way in the Hemp Production, but that could change here in San Diego with our new laws.


  • The Investing & Finance sector consists primarily of companies focused on investing in the cannabis industry. This includes holding companies which own and/or manage a portfolio of cannabis assets. This sector also contains financial service providers that offer capital and financing solutions for companies in the cannabis industry.


  • Companies in the Marijuana Products sector are focused on developing and selling marijuana-infused products. The growing popularity of cannabis has led to a wide and evolving range of new cannabis products including infused food products, drinks, oils, extracts, and lotions. This sector also includes companies focused on the extraction of cannabis compounds and their infusion into consumer products. As competition in the market grows, companies in the sector must continually develop their branding and consistency, while meeting the evolving local and state regulations regarding these products.


  • The Other Ancillary sector consists of companies that provide products and services related to the broader cannabis economy that do not fit within the other sectors. This sector includes companies focused on developing breathalyzers and testing kits for marijuana consumers and organizations. It also includes cannabis medical clinics, hospitality and tourism companies, cannabis vending machine manufacturers, and more.


  • The Real Estate sector consists of companies that develop, own, and/or lease commercial real estate properties to licensed cannabis operators. This includes investment companies and REITs focused on managing a portfolio of cannabis real estate assets. The high difficulty of identifying, acquiring, and managing commercial real estate for marijuana purposes has created an opportunity for real estate firms with specialized expertise in licensing and cannabis laws.


  • The Secondary Services sector consists of companies that provide consulting and other business services directly to marijuana cultivators and retailers. The complex and evolving cannabis business environment has led to strong demand for experts in areas such as licensing and cultivation. This sector includes companies that provide professional services such as branding, packaging, bottling, compliance, physical security, transportation, lab testing, distribution, and insurance.


  • The Tech & Media sector covers companies that provide technologies, software, and media for cannabis companies and consumers. New technologies are being developed to assess the challenges presented by the emerging cannabis industry, such as seed-to-sale systems which track cannabis cultivation until the point of sale. This sector includes companies that provide delivery services, enterprise software, e-commerce platforms, communication and mapping services, and trading platforms. It also includes companies that provide marijuana-related media including news, content, social networks, games, and entertainment.


  • Industry is rapidly professionalizing and specializing, with new groups focused on technology solutions for cannabis-based businesses, real-estate, and equipment manufacturing.
  • Although before you decide to make a wholesale career change, BEWARE…it’s still very early days.
  • The industry is fraught with risk and uncertainty, as government regulations struggle to catch up
  • While legal in the Stage of CA, cannabis is still illegal under Federal law, and regulations vary widely within San Diego County: local city governments in Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista and Solana Beach have kept, or are actively working to keep, cannabis illegal in those areas.
  • Of note: only the City of San Diego is actively working towards a path towards legalization, and La Mesa may go one further permit active cultivation.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one industry basket, but the cannabis industry is definitely an interesting place to be, and based on how the regulations come down, could also offer a strong career path.



Categories: Good Morning San Diego