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These Are The Top 5 Most In-demand Skill Sets for the Legal Cannabis Industry

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Since 2017, the cannabis industry has seen an average of 27.5 percent growth each year. And, during 2020, even despite massive unemployment, the cannabis industry still added over 77,000 full-time jobs. In 2021, the cannabis industry added another 107,000 jobs, making the total number of cannabis jobs 428,059.

It’s often assumed the most in-demand cannabis jobs are budtenders and frontline workers… But cannabis is an entire industry of all types of jobs. Skill sets that are prominent and valued in other industries are skill sets that leading cannabis companies are keen to hire.

By moving into the market early and potentially taking a pay cut now to get there, you could see a major pay bump and promotion two to three years down the road.

Our team at FlowerHire works closely with cannabis companies of varying sizes from across the country – from the largest multi-state operators to mom-and-pop producers. As cannabis jobs come to more states, these are the five most in-demand skill sets for the cannabis industry in 2021:

Retail management

Cannabis dispensaries are where the product meets the consumer. This means there are a lot of brick-and-mortar retail locations that need to be managed.

Even if you have no experience working in cannabis, the retail management skill set is highly valued and in demand. And, if you have experience launching new concepts and experiential in-store brand activations, then you get extra bonus points. New brands are always coming into dispensaries and need help getting in front of their target market. As a retail manager, you’ll be helping these emerging brands.

Manufacturing facility/operations management

Cannabis is a highly regulated industry. If a cannabis manufacturing facility is not operating in compliance, companies face large fines and can even be shut down. So cannabis companies need experienced people overseeing facilities that manufacture highly regulated goods.

A background in manufacturing FDA-regulated products and products that are safe for human consumption is extremely desirable. And if you have experience successfully scaling operations as sales grow, without sacrificing product quality, then your odds of getting hired are higher.

Sales and marketing

Sales and Marketing are obviously valuable to a company no matter the industry… But what is really in-demand are professionals who have experience launching and managing sales and marketing for disruptive, upstart consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. 

People with those experiences tend to have skills that translate well to the fast-paced, hyper-competitive world of cannabis. They know how to build a loyal audience in a new market from scratch. And they’re not afraid to get creative – cannabis values innovative-thinkers.


Cannabis companies are finding accountants hard to come by. Traditionally, those with an accounting background tend to be more risk-averse – they’re more cautious about entering a less predictable industry, like cannabis. 

If you’re a CPA, know that cannabis companies tend to offer excellent compensation packages. Cannabis has strict banking laws, so skilled accountants who are quick-thinkers and pivot easily are valued. Additionally, vertically integrated cannabis companies have multiple entities in different states and are complex from an accounting perspective.

Cannabis-related training

If you’re serious about working in the cannabis industry, get yourself some cannabis-related education or training. If you have the desired skill set and cannabis-related training, you have an automatic leg up. 

A candidate that has taken time to learn the ins and outs of the industry:

  • Requires less training and a shorter onboarding period
  • More likely to build rapport with the potential employer
  • Shows a stronger commitment and desire to work in the cannabis industry
  • Is more likely ready to dive in headfirst into their new role

You can get a cannabis certification through places like METRC, Green Flower, or MJ Freeway + Zol Train. These types of programs have taken off and are paving the way for cannabis-related training.

Cannabis wants other skill sets too

These skill sets are prime examples of when cannabis companies are willing to pay top-dollar for the right talent. But if you don’t see your line of work listed here, don’t let it stop you. There are so many other skill sets in demand too. In the past year, FlowerHire has placed over 40 different job titles in cannabis.

Cannabis is a new industry, with many markets still in their infancy. Rapid promotion and growth are one of the most attractive things about working in cannabis. By moving into the market early and potentially taking a pay cut now to get there, you could see a major pay bump and promotion two to three years down the road. The industry is growing fast, and so are the people in it. We look forward to seeing you here!

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