UPDATE: Thanks so much for all of your questions! I will monitor this until 4:45, but will be signing off after. Please feel free to contact HempStaff at [email protected] or by visiting our website!

In 2014, my wife and I founded HempStaff to serve the needs of cannabis dispensary owners looking for educated employees. Since then, we've instructed more than 4,000 students in 18 states about how to work in a dispensary and the intricacies of working in the cannabis industry.

Questions about working in cannabis? The industry in general? Ask me anything!


Our website!

Comments: 101 • Responses: 28  • Date: 

hackitfast15 karma

What kinds of research is currently being done into how cannabis works on the endocannabinoid and other encompassing systems in regards to THC / CBD, and how much do we currently know about it?

HempStaffLLC14 karma

Unfortunately, research in the US has been stifled by the current administration and namely Jeff Sessions. Israel is a leader in endocannabinoid research and has been since they discovered this unknown system in our body. Canada is also ramping up research. Currently we only know the very basics, but learn much more every year. THC was only first found 54 years ago... so the knowledge of cannabis and it's 100+ cannabinoids are still in it's infancy.

Ignitethedark13 karma

Do you think legalization will happen federally? What are your thoughts on how to achieve this?

HempStaffLLC28 karma

Yes, I do think it will happen eventually. What I expect to happen, once a majority of states in the US have adult use recreational cannabis, the federal government will remove it from scheduling. This will allow each state, county and city to decide if it is allowed - similar to what happens with alcohol, there will still be some dry cities, counties and maybe even states ... but the states that are legal will no longer have to worry about any repercussions from the federal government.

ehzstreet8 karma

Is there a paying job out there for a quality control person in this industry? Whether its tested the fun way, or the sciencey way, it would be pretty badass to tell people you work quality control in the cannabis industry.

HempStaffLLC11 karma

Yes, however it is not done the 'fun' way. Many states have licensed testing labs, this is where the labels with the % THC and % CBD, etc come from. There are some people that test products the 'fun' way and write about it on their website or blogs as well, but those are not really jobs in the industry as they have to buy all their products to test.

WellHighHello7 karma

What made you want to get into the cannabis industry?

HempStaffLLC6 karma

I personally have been a cannabis advocate since I was in college back in the mid-90s, and have been a member of NORML since 2001. When the possibility of cannabis coming to my state, Florida, in 2014 happened - I started to research it more and was amazed at the stories and medical progress that was coming out of states like Colorado. This reignited my passion and HempStaff was born!

heavierthanair0 karma

My city (Orlando) has quite a few dispensaries, yet all of your nearby classes are in Tampa. Any plans to expand in Florida?

HempStaffLLC3 karma

Yes, we have held classes in Orlando several times - with our last one in Feb. At this point, we only have a class every 6 months or so in Florida until the job market picks up. We will be back in Orlando in 2019, and Fort Lauderdale in December 2018.

XxlastoneupxX7 karma

Have you ever been told you look like julian from trailer park boys?

HempStaffLLC2 karma

I have not.

Champugattasai6 karma

Your website states that when you attend a paid class, you could attend another class at no cost. I plan to attend the paid class in Columbus on 19th May and can I then attend the class in Cleveland on 29th July at no cost? Thank you

HempStaffLLC3 karma

Yes, that is correct. In class our trainers will give you the instructions on how to request a complimentary ticket to future classes.

NoFreeBrunch6 karma

As a CS major at Appalachian State in North Carolina, do you know of any networking opportunities around here, or career paths I could take to get into the industry? As a strong cannabis advocate it would be a dream of mine.

HempStaffLLC2 karma

We would recommend starting with your local NORML chapter, as they are nationwide. They will then be able to recommend any other events in your specific area.

Phlox_carolina5 karma

What kind of money do bud tenders make?

HempStaffLLC6 karma

Depends on the state, anywhere from $11 to $15 per hour as a starting wage for someone with no previous experience.

humdrumkyra5 karma

Which states have a real shot at legalizing recreational weed?

HempStaffLLC12 karma

Currently the following state have recreational laws in place: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington DC, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts you can not purchase it yet. I think the next states will be Rhode Island, Connecticut and Illinois - I think they all do it either in 2018 or 2019. Another one I think is on the horizon for 2020 in New York as well.

MaesterMagoo7 karma

Not NJ whose governor really needs it to happen for the budget to work out?

HempStaffLLC8 karma

That is a very good point - that completely slipped my mind. YES - New Jersey should have a legal marijuana law in place by end of 2018 as well - so put them in the list with Rhode Island, Connecticut and Illinois.

XxlastoneupxX3 karma

More on topic, in your opinion how far do you think illinois is from passing recreational use?

HempStaffLLC4 karma

In my opinion I would expect it to happen in early 2019. Talks have really been heating up around it lately, however anything that involves government action like this is hard to predict. Keep in mind it takes about 2 years to open a program, so I would not expect the first recreational dispensary to open until 2021.


I'm all about the industry and have ::cough:: experience with the product. I make about 50K a year in a different industry. Is there employment in this field that can realistically create this sort of income?

HempStaffLLC4 karma

Not right away unfortunately. You can make $50K after 2-3 years experience and if you are promoted to a manager. What we recommend for people in your position is to think about starting as a part time job in the cannabis industry. After a few years of working, you will be at the point where a manager job in the cannabis industry is possible with the experience you have.

DoctorBadger1013 karma

I worked for a prominent dispensary in Montana that no longer operates, and since then I have been trying to get into the industry again. It’s nigh impossible unless I know people running a dispensary! Very nepotistic and cliquey. I have done some advocacy work and a little bit of prison outreach kinda stuff but nothing has ever amounted to a position working with the real knowledge I have. It just seems I gotta be running in the right circles, which at this point is a probably impossible proposition to set up for myself. What options would someone like myself have? I have friends who are working towards being able to hire people, but that’s so far away it’s not an option I can maintain. They have friends who are more well established, but again, cliques and such prevent entry. Seems there’s nothing I can do except wait on some invisible lottery to pay out.

HempStaffLLC2 karma

A state like Montana that has so few dispenaries will be very hard to get into unless you know someone - as many job openings are never even made public. At this point we would suggest you look into relocating, that would be your best option. Find a job working in another industry in a state that is upcoming and about to open many new dispensaries like CA, NV, MD, PA or OH. Unfortunately, if you want to stay in Montana, it sound like you are doing everything you can until the program gets bigger.

thenagainmaybenot2 karma

What is your opinion on calls for the release of people who were incarcerated for possession of cannabis before it was legal in the area of their arrest?

HempStaffLLC2 karma

In my personal opinion I think once a law is changed, everyone incarcerated from breaking this old law should be released.

groofop2 karma

Do you require drug testing for your employees to pee clean on THC? Awesome company by the way, I'm from Denver so I have a lot of exposure just being around hempologists.

HempStaffLLC1 karma

Thanks for the compliment! We do not require it, however, as recruiters, we hire for our clients. So, in the end, it is the client's decision if they drug test or not. Most, we have found do not test, however some states, like MD, require drug testing, and if you do not have a medical marijuana card you can not test positive for THC.

showmehomie2 karma

What degrees/skills would you say are most in demand at the moment in this industry? Also, what are the most lucrative positions? I am a recent graduate from university and i think my degree would align well with the industry, but im not sure

HempStaffLLC8 karma

Generally what we have seen is the following: Horticulture Degree is good Cultivation Jobs, Botany Degree is good for Extraction Jobs, and a Pharmacy Degree is good for Dispensary Jobs. However, we have seen people with all types of degrees apply themselves when working the cannabis industry. The above is the just the most requested college degrees for those areas. The most lucrative are your Top levels of each, which usually means around 5 years of experience in that field. A Master Cultivator makes between $85-150K per year. A Master Extractor from $70-120K. A Dispensary Manager from $40-85K.

surfgavin3 karma

What makes you say botany for extraction? I’m in Colorado looking to get to a upper cultivation position, so I haven’t specifically talked to any extractors, but of all the cultivators I’ve talked with it seems to be pretty even across the board that if you are looking to get into extraction some kind of chemistry degree would be best. Personally the chemistry degree idea seems more sound to me, but I’d like to know why you say botany.

HempStaffLLC3 karma

Chemistry is certainly good as well, but before you deal with compounds you are dealing with extracting these compounds from a plant. So after you have the compounds isolated chemistry would certainly come into play, however to get those compounds isolated into compounds and to come up with new ways to to isolate the lesser cannabinoids an understanding of botany and the structure of plants at the molecular level is very useful. Like the recent change from butane to CO2 for example.

boatsbeaton1 karma

I'm assuming your business has some amount of cannibas that you are growing for educational purposes:

  • Are you ever worried that the Feds may say decide to be d-bags and shut you down and/or arrest you?
  • Other than legality itself, what's the biggest challenge in the industry?
  • What's your favorite non-medicinal/recreational use for the plant?

HempStaffLLC2 karma

We do not grow any medical marijuana for education purposes. Our training is done with a slideshow and a training manual. You do not really need to handle cannabis or cannabis products to learn how to read a label for cannabinoid and terpene percentages to recommend the proper product to the patient. The biggest challenge in this industry is the constant state of change - as in any new industry, things can change drastically over a few months and be completely different over the course of years. I have seen dispensaries go from looking like head shops 5 years ago to pharmacies now. The favorite use I have seen - I would say juicing - we have seen many benefits by juicing the plant, like many would do for wheatgrass - and we are just starting to learn all the benefits this has.

BeerInMyButt1 karma

My cousin lives here in Boulder, and she loves smoking and "talking shop" with other people about weed. She's interested in working in a dispensary, but she's been hesitant to get into the industry. I think it's because of the stigma she perceives, largely from the older crowd (her parents being the most influential members).

How do you think I can help her remove that mental hurdle?

HempStaffLLC3 karma

Have her start attending cannabis events and speak to other people her age working in the industry. She can even inquire how these people have spoken to their parents about their new job. This will help her feel she is not alone and may relive some of this anxiety she has about working in the industry. In the end times change....many older people in the 1980s thought working with computers was a waste of time too. :)

Stephaniewski11 karma

I'm in Mesa, AZ. Are you planning any classes here?

HempStaffLLC1 karma

Currently we do not have AZ on the schedule. Right now the market in AZ is pretty saturated as far as dispensary jobs, and we do not like to hold trainings in an area that does not have a lot of jobs for our students. When AZ expands and new job opportunities will become available we will start planning training again in AZ - however it would most likely be closer to Phoenix than Mesa.

NickPlus021 karma

Do you like pizza?

HempStaffLLC3 karma

Who doesn't?

Saltmom1 karma

How hard is it to get into the Industry?

HempStaffLLC1 karma

It is a difficult industry to get into. Students that have taken our training and follow our instructions are usually successfully - if they are willing to start and the bottom and even relocate if they need to. A good resume will help you get those interviews, along with some cannabis training on that resume. In short, if you have the drive and you are willing to do what it takes, you can make it happen. We can say on average it can take 6-12 months to land the job in the cannabis industry once you start actively looking.

Glad14151 karma

Hi! I know that Hemp Staff is coming to Chicago in June. What percent of the 4 hour course is dedicated to CBD and is there anything in regards to shipping and fulfillment across state lines?

HempStaffLLC1 karma

Hello! We cover a dozen different cannabinoids, a dozen different terpenes and a couple dozen different cannabis products in this course. How much exactly is dedicated to CBD is hard to say, but it would certainly not be more than 10% of the course. This course covers how to work in a state licensed cannabis dispensary - in these state licensed dispensaries no products, even CBD, is allowed to cross state lines. Once it does so it is in violation of both state and federal law.

Glad14151 karma

How is it that some of the dispensaries in the licensed states have an eCommerce business that ships CBD products? Is there any exception to that rule?

HempStaffLLC1 karma

Generally a licensed dispensary will only ship CBD products to their medical patients (or customers in adult use states) in their local area - and can not ship over state lines. What you may be seeing are un-licensed companies selling CBD from Hemp, not Cannabis. This is a gray market area, also Hemp CBD is not nearly effective or have the same % as CBD from Cannabis plants.

runnyhuevosrancheros1 karma

I have a two part question: what's the best path to becoming a grower? And is it okay to list illicit, but pertinent, experience on a resume? I ask because I helped operate a small family farm (no more than 50 adult plants and 50 juvenile plants at a time) where the operation was indoor, hydroponic, moisture, and growth stage controlled. This occurred while I was in a state where its not yet legal to use cannabis recreationally. I learned a lot about the grow process and how to maintain a healthy crop. Now I have my OLCC permit to work at a retail dispensary and a degree in geology with experience in lab management, but I feel iffy about listing my grow experience on a resume. Thank you in advance for any advice, it wont be taken lightly.

Edit: spelling

HempStaffLLC3 karma

The best path is to start as an entry level employee - like trimmer or just a site worker and work your way to grower with your knowledge. Degrees will help to get you hired as well, we do NOT recommend listing any illegal experience on your resume - that will usually disqualify you. We recommend you take some training on growing - this way you can list your knowledge but not your illegal experience. You just can not get into specifics like number of plants, which is why you will most likely have to start with the entry level job.

BazGrand011 karma

I live in Pennsylvania and was wondering the best way to get into the industry? It is a new market and I don't see a lot of job postings. Do I need specific credentials?

HempStaffLLC3 karma

In PA right now, it is just starting. Only about 10% of the cannabis businesses allowed have opened, so that is why you are not seeing a lot of openings. We would suggest a couple things. First, start attending cannabis networking events and conferences, to get your name out there and meet other in or looking to get into the industry. Next take some cannabis training, in a new state, with few people with legal cannabis experience, the next best thing is training on your resume. Lastly, be ready to start at the bottom and work your way up, and even relocate to another city if that is an option for you. As for credentials, if you are looking for cultivation then working in a nursery certainly helps. For a dispensary they look for a medical background, retail background and/or customer service background generally.

BazGrand01-1 karma

Do you have classes slated for Pennsylvania or Massachusetts?

HempStaffLLC1 karma

Yes, we will be Philly on July 14th and Danvers, MA on June 16th. Get all of our upcoming dispensary training schedule here: https://www.hempstaff.com/cannabis-training-for-dispensary-jobs