As the cannabis industry continues to grow and evolve, so do the job opportunities available to professionals in the field.
The Garden State is known to many for its tech firms, pharmaceutical and energy giants, shipping ports, world-class hospitals, and medical practices. Now, the state is positioning itself as a hub of innovation in the cannabis industry. Opportunities in science & engineering are everywhere in the cannabis industry if you look in the right places.
With New Jersey’s proximity to some of the biggest cities nearby, access to transportation, tourism, world-class restaurants, shows, and communications firms, it’s no wonder that the state is attracting some of the top brands and talents to create a state of the art model on the East Coast as a hub for cutting edge cannabis innovation.
The cannabis industry is not just about dispensaries and retail weed. Cannabis crosses various fields, such as research and development, operations and management, technology, innovation, cultivation, processing, manufacturing, compliance, plant and agricultural science, and a variety of engineering fields.
Hudson Community, Rider University, Stockton University, Rowan University, Raritan Valley Community College, Bergen Community College, and Rutgers – New Brunswick have now established programs to help meet the opportunities opening up in the new industry.
When Getting Started, Remember This Is A New Industry For Most People, Especially Here in New Jersey
Some things to consider to find success. Remember to find what suits you best.
- Be flexible: Be open to starting in an entry-level legal weed job and working your way up. The legal cannabis job industry is still relatively new, and there may not be a lot of high-level positions available right away.
- Stay updated: Keep yourself updated with the latest trends, tech, and research in the field. Be able to offer valuable insights to your future employers.
- Network: Join professional organizations and attend industry events to connect with professionals already working in the cannabis industry. Use these networks to learn about job opportunities.
There are several ways to work in the legal weed industry.
Some popular options include:
- Budtender: A customer service rep who works in a dispensary and helps customers choose the right products for their needs.
- Cultivator: Responsible for growing and harvesting cannabis plants.
- Extractor: Uses solvents or other methods to extract the desired compounds from the cannabis plant.
- Edibles Maker: Create weed-infused food and drink products.
- Dispensary owner: Responsible for running a retail location where customers can buy cannabis products.
- Quality Control / Compliance: Ensuring that the cannabis products meet legal and safety standards.
- Marketing/ Sales: Promoting and selling legal weed products to dispensaries and customers.
The cannabis industry is a rapidly evolving field with endless cutting-edge opportunities. New Jersey is finding itself at a hub of innovation.
There are several steps that one can take to begin a scientific or engineering-based professional career in the legal weed industry:
- Research the laws and regulations in your area: Since cannabis is still illegal under federal law in the United States, it is important to understand the laws and regs in your area to ensure that you are in compliance before seeking a career in the recreational and medical cannabis industry. You can advise other companies after you are an expert in policy.
- Get lab experience: Consider gaining lab experience through internships, volunteering, or working in a related industry. If you want to work in cannabis cultivation, you could get experience working on a farm or in a greenhouse. This will help you to develop the necessary skills to work in a testing lab.
- Get an advanced degree: Consider getting an advanced degree in a relevant field, such as a Master’s or Ph.D. program. This will give you a deeper understanding of the science behind cannabis. You will likely focus on specializing in a specific area of legal weed research.
- Consider getting certified: Organizations such as the American Society of Agronomy or American Chemical Society provide certifications for cannabis professionals.
As the legal weed industry continues to develop, so does the job demand for innovative professionals in various fields, such as cannabis cultivation, plant science, and engineering. Demand for experts in the production process and medical cannabis research will continue to increase as well.
Jobs In The Cannabis Industry That Utilize Biological Or Chemical Sciences
- Plant Biologist: Studies the biology of cannabis plants, including genetics, growth, and development.
- Chemist: Analyzes the chemical compounds found in the weed plants and develops methods for extracting and purifying these compounds.
- Microbiologist: Studies the microorganisms found in cannabis plants and the growing environment. Ensure that the plants are free from harmful pathogens.
- Biomedical researcher: Use their knowledge of biology and chemistry to study the effects of cannabis compounds on the body, including potential therapeutic uses.
- Bio-engineer: Applies engineering principles to biological systems, such as developing new methods for growing and processing cannabis plants.
- Geneticist: Work with cannabis plants to study the genetic makeup of the plants. Also looking for ways to improve the plants yield and quality.
Jobs In The Cannabis Industry That Require Engineering Degrees
- Cultivation Engineer: Designs and maintains the state-of-the-art systems used for growing weed plants, such as irrigation, lighting, and temperature control systems.
- Extraction Engineer: Designs and maintains the equipment used for extracting desired compounds from the plant, such as solvents and CO2 extraction systems.
- Laboratory Engineer: Designs and maintains the equipment and systems used in cannabis testing laboratories.
- Facility Engineer: Designs and maintains the infrastructure of growing and production processing facilities, such as HVAC systems, electrical systems, and plumbing.
- Mechanical Engineer: Design, develop and test mechanical and thermal devices, including tools, engines, and machines.
- Electrical Engineer: Design, develop and test electrical systems, such as lighting and control systems, in cannabis growing and processing facilities.
- Quality Control / Compliance Engineer: Responsible for ensuring that the cannabis products meet legal and safety standards.
Getting Higher With NJ Cannabis
New Jersey now has several higher education offerings. These include majors, minors, and certificate programs in medical cannabis studies. NJ hospitals such as Robert Wood Johnson, Jersey Shore Medical, and Meridian Healthcare are centrally located. Cannabis industry professionals can start their journey with a solid education and training.