4 jobs beyond budtenders and growers in the marijuana industry

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Want to work in the marijuana industry now that recreational weed is legal in Michigan?  Beyond budtenders and growers, the industry needs a wide range of workers in order to function, said Karson Humiston, the founder and CEO of Vangst, a career site for cannabis jobs. 

“If you’re a huge cultivation company employing 100 growers, you also need HR. You also need marketing, IT, security,” she said. “It’s a business like any other." 

If Michigan is anything like Colorado or Washington, Huminston said, the marijuana industry could create around 30,000 new jobs in the next few years.  

The job-posting site Indeed found that the number of cannabis-related jobs on its site tripled over the course of a year, according to a report from August. Searches on the site for the terms “cannabis” and “marijuana” more than quadrupled.

Katrina Ingram, chief operating officer for Cannabis at Work, a Canadian recruiting company for marijuana companies, said the industry is especially in need of people with a background in technology and science. 

“(Marijuana jobs are) more akin to running a laboratory or pharmaceutical company than growing plants in the basement," she said.  

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People who know and understand dispensaries will likely have a leg up the budding industry in Michigan, said Joshua Covert, a cannabis lawyer in Lansing. But that doesn't mean that there's not widespread opportunity, he said. 

"It’s not that often that such a large industry is born overnight," Covert said. "I think we need to be careful but really energetic about it and see this as an opportunity. Because it truly is.” Here are four marijuana-related jobs that Michiganders might one day hold: 

1. Marijuana writer

Jake Browne, the former weed critic at the Denver Post, made a living reviewing marijuana strains, giving recommendations for those that wouldn't give users the munchies and writing about marijuana job fairs. Today, he runs The Grow Off, the largest cannabis cultivation contest in the country. 

While he no longer works at the Post, Browne said there's a need for objective mainstream marijuana writing. Marijuana publications usually crop up after legalization, he said, but it's still challenging for people to make decisions about what strains to use without independent voices, he said. 

“(My work was) less of people saying, 'Hey I want your job' and more 'How do I save the life of someone I care a lot about (with medical marijuana)?;" he said. 

2. Bud and breakfast owner

Colorado Tourism conducted a survey in 2016 that found that about 12 million of its visitors that year participated in a marijuana-related activities.

So it's no wonder the state has has experienced a spike in marijuana-friendly boutique hotels and "bud and breakfasts" where reservations include "wake and bake" breakfasts served with a side of weed. Other marijuana tourism businesses — like "wine and weed" tours and "puff and paint" studios — could also pop up. 

The Adagio Bud and Breakfast.

 3. Security expert

In states where recreational marijuana is legal, some security companies specifically cater to dispensaries and their safety needs. 

Experts say the industry will need businesses to support its specific packaging and architectural needs, as well. Some companies focus entirely on making sure that dispensaries are compliant. 

4. Cannabis chef

A growing group of chefs in weed-friendly states are pairing cannabis strains with gourmet dishes, whipping up marijuana-infused lobster risotto and working cannabis cultivator to create medical cannabis edibles. 

According to a survey from A.T. Kearney, a strategy and management consulting firm, 41 percent of respondents said that they'd be more likely to try recreational cannabis through food products.

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