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How To Get A Job In The Booming Legal Marijuana Business

Denver Relief marijuana dispensary tour
Denver Relief marijuana dispensary tour

Walter Hickey / BI

Over the past several months, we've written a lot about the Colorado marijuana business.

We talked about the economic price crash that almost destroyed the industry before it had a chance, we've seen how the science of marijuana is exploding with opportunities in Colorado, and we've looked at the fascinating marijuana production cycle and how, precisely, legalization is going.

But -- until today -- we have not answered the no-holds-barred number one question about the Colorado marijuana industry readers have contacted us about.

"How," they'll ask, "do I get a job in the Colorado marijuana market?"

Well, there are three major ways to do it, based on more than a dozen interviews Business Insider had with entrepreneurs and activists

marijuana israel
marijuana israel

Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

1. Have a specific, in-demand skill.

This is probably the easiest way to do this. Marijuana requires some unique skills that not everybody has. Key to this industry, clearly, is the ability to grow marijuana.

"But," you might say, "I've never grown marijuana." That might actually be a good thing, provided you have the right qualifications.

Colorado marijuana businesses are scooping up grads from top agricultural schools. In fact, many of the newest, state-of-the-art hydroponic grow facilities are designed off of industrial indoor tomato farms.

If anyone has extensive nursery experience or is exiting a top Ag School with a background in indoor farming -- it doesn't matter if that farming is tomatoes or Cannabis indica -- there's demand for your skills in Colorado. Or, even better, in the states about to dive into a medical structure, like Connecticut or Massachusetts, where the competition has yet to grow.

Can't grow for crap? Neither can I. There's still a ton of ways to parlay your talents towards marijuana, as long as you look in the ancillary businesses that provide support services to marijuana businesses.

The marijuana industry requires a lot of back up -- programmers, attorneys, security system installation specialists, designers, chemists, biologists and other scientists, lab technicians, and much more -- so look for fantastic businesses such as Canna Security America or CannLabs that operate in the niche element.

But what if you don't have any skills, but still want to get in on the ground floor?

california marijuana
california marijuana


California dispensaries have been the subject of federal raids

2. Volunteer for marijuana advocacy groups.

Any employer wants to be able to trust their employees. But let's say you own a business that, technically speaking, is federally illegal. You're going to need some next-level kind of trust with your employees.

According to business owners we spoke to in Colorado, one of the best ways for cannabis businesses to identify capable, successful people who are passionate about marijuana for the right reasons is by looking at who is working in advocacy.

Indeed, the list of cannabis business leaders and top advocates in Colorado is full of people who volunteered their time on the Amendment 64 campaign to legalize marijuana.

Just because you enjoy smoking marijuana doesn't mean you have what it takes to work in the business. If you really want to get in at the ground floor of the business marijuana -- be it in Colorado or any other state working on medicalization or legalization -- the best way, according to the people hiring in Colorado, is to start investing your time and energy in the cause.

It goes back to the central way that people get jobs in any other business: networking.

But what if you want in immediately? Well, for a select few, there is a more direct route.

3. Have a whole bunch of money and buy a slice of a marijuana business.

Right now is about the time that some business owners and license holders may be interested in cashing out of their dispensary and growery businesses, provided investors are willing to pay top dollar.

We spoke to Kayvan Khalatbari and Ean Seeb of Denver Relief Consulting, a group that advises marijuana businesses. From an earlier article about the economics of marijuana, here's how to buy in:

“If there's somebody just looking to get in here in Colorado,” said Khalatbari, “you need to buy a new system, that's just plain and simple. And, you know, those are from, let's say $50,000 for a slice, to $2 to $10 million to buy out an entire company, just because it's the company that goes along with that license.”

So if you've got some extra cash laying around abd you want to fulfill your lifelong dream of owning a marijuana business, you can always just buy in.

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