PP 30 | Employment In Cannabis Industry


A lot of people have expressed interest in working in the cannabis industry, but how do they go about doing that? One thing is for sure, it’s not that difficult but it’s going to take a little bit of work on your side. In this episode, Tony Frischknecht reveals the best-kept secrets to cannabis employment. This episode will save you a lot of time and will also help you determine if you want to be an employee in the cannabis industry.

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The Best Kept Secrets To Cannabis Employment

I am excited about this next subject. This next subject I’ve been asked about hundreds of times and it’s something that I think few people discuss because I am getting the question still to this day. “I want to work in the industry, so how do I do that?” Most jobs are simple. You go to the company and you say, “Can I get an application?” It’s not necessarily that easy. It’s not that hard either. It’s going to take a little bit of work on your side, but it’s not difficult. I want to share the best-kept secret and I think something that’s going to save you a lot of time and also determine quickly if you want to be an employee in the cannabis industry.

We’ll get started by saying, “Where do you start?” One of the number one thing you have to do is understand what your state requires for you to work in the industry. For example, in the state of Colorado, we have a state-run organization called the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division or MED, Marijuana Enforcement Division. That is where all of our applications are and our licenses are. That’s where all our applications are for licensing, employment, occupational. There are usually a handful of different licenses that you can get. Each one says you’re getting employed, you’ve got to have a certain application.

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If you want to work in the maintenance of facilities in the industry and occupational, there’s a handful of them. You need to check this stuff out. Spend half an hour going through and finding this information online. I’m sure in your area of the level, if you can’t find it online, you can probably talk to an attorney that can give you some information. That’s the first thing you want to do. Don’t get too caught up in the details. Make sure, “This is my application,” whether it’s 2, 3, 4, 10 pages long, you have it and you review it. Don’t waste time filling it out and everything because there are a few new things you need to do before that mix.

Next, you need to understand your tax situation. What I mean by that is understand, do you owe taxes? Do you owe back taxes? These are all going to affect you when you go to apply for your application. Don’t be scared about that. I had some tax issues when we were going through the licensing process because as a licensing holding owner, you have to go through a rigorous background check. I had an issue where I was paying back taxes and I thought, “No, I’m not going to be looking at my license. What am I going to do?” Fortunately, since I had created a payment plan, which some of you may or may not be familiar with, the IRS will allow you to make payments on back taxes.

As long as you have a plan in place with them, they are not going to disqualify you from becoming employed or becoming a license holder. I had some bad anxiety from that for a while, but understand that as long as you have something in place where you’re scheduled in paying your taxes or you’re paying your back taxes, they will allow you to apply. It’s a big thing because you could go through and fill out all this paperwork and everything else, turn it in. They’re going to figure out whether you owe back taxes. They want to make sure everybody that’s in this industry is paying the state federal taxes or you’re not going to be allowed in. You need to know that.

PP 30 | Employment In Cannabis Industry

Employment In Cannabis Industry: Make sure you get all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted before you turn in an application. It’s not going to be approved if you don’t meet the requirements.


The next step, which I think is the big secret to all this, which will save you a ton of time, is running your own background check, as they’re going to charge you a fee to get an employment license in the industry. Background checks are probably between $10 and $20. They’re not expensive, but you want to know what’s on there. For the unfortunate people that may have something messed up in their background check and may be wrong, you want to figure this out sooner than later. You don’t want to go in there and turn it in your application. We have people here in Colorado that were turning their applications in and they had warrants. What they would do is show up to the office with a warrant and get arrested. I don’t want any of you guys getting arrested out there.

It’s a horrible way to go about it. Everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve got a problem, you want to make sure you can handle it so you’re not arrested on them. That’s a bad day for you and nobody wants that. Make sure you understand what’s in your background check before you spend all the time and money to put this together to work in the industry. That by far-right there is the best-kept secret. I haven’t heard anybody talk about that. Please, if you’re going to do that, take my advice. Next step, you’re going to have to apply. They’re going to find out all that information, your background. They’re going to run one on it so they’re going to figure it out and you might as well be on top of it.

Make sure you get all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted before you walk in there and you turn in an application and it’s not going to be approved anyway because you don’t meet the requirements. There are states that will say, “You can apply, but there’s no guarantee we’ll give you a license. If you don’t get a license, we’re not giving you money back.” You don’t want to waste that money too. You’re like, “I wasted $100 and I spent two weeks putting this together.” Nobody wants that to happen here. Once you have that in place, you fill out your application, your background is good. For those out there that do find stuff in our background, you need to be aware that if you have any drug-related felonies, it may be impossible for you to get your license. Make sure you read the application and understand and know what they’re going to allow, so you got that.

Some of the good news is if you have a marijuana misdemeanor or even a felony, I know some states out there are starting to allow it, depending on how far it goes back, 5 or 10 years. They might not disqualify you. Make sure you understand what’s allowed. If you can figure this out first so you won’t waste time filling out the application. You can reach out to your enforcement division of that state if they have one established. You can probably get some answers there to clarify that. There were many people that applied for these working in the industry or licenses in Colorado that when Colorado first legalized it in the state, they didn’t allow it. All of a sudden, the laws were changed and then they did allow up to five years.

If it didn’t go past five years, then they would still allow you to apply. You want to know these things before you waste your time. You’ve got those things in place. You understand where your background is and go to apply. It varies in pages. I would imagine employment, maybe 3 to 5 pages. If you struggle to fill that out, depending on where do you see yourself employed in the industry, there’s going to be paperwork throughout your time in cannabis. If you completely hate paperwork and don’t want to do that, I’m telling this upfront, you’re going to be filling out papers a few times a year no matter what. Come to a realization with that with yourself like, “Now this is part of what I’m doing.”

The next step is where do you want to work in cannabis? Do you want to be a grower? Do you want to manage a retail outlet? Do you want to manage a grow facility? Do you want to be a budtender? Those are some of the main ones. There’s also plant tracking. Do you like data? There are lots of openings in that field, especially now. That’s good for a tech-type of person. Sit down and weigh your options. I’ve had many talks about this, but what fits your personality? You don’t want to go into this thing, “I’ll take marijuana. This is cool stuff. I just want to be involved.” That passion for it will not last long, unfortunately. If you have an idea where you want to go and I say this a lot especially to the entrepreneurs, it’s much better for you to focus on that. Figure out what you want to do or what are your niches. It’s because marijuana is legalized, it doesn’t mean you’re going to make a ton of money.

PP 30 | Employment In Cannabis Industry

Employment In Cannabis Industry: Don’t go and apply for any position until you get that employment license.


Now there are positions, especially the tracking side and the compliance side that do command a higher salary, but they do come in at a higher commitment from yourself too. What is it you want to do? An example of it is if you wanted to work at a bar. I’m going to be a bartender or budtender. You’re dealing with a customer, the transaction is quick, but depending on the company that you’re going to work for and their emphasis on education, that might require you to do some studying a lot deeper than you thought of aside from getting high. That’s going to determine the company you want to work with. Knowing these factors and where you are is going to help you find a better job. Spend some time. I would say once you get through this, spend a lot of time on what you want to work with. Spend a significant amount of time where you see yourself fitting into as an employee in the industry. Figure that out.

The next would be finding a company that fits your position. In the more mature states, you’re going to see bigger companies that are established, they’re taking care of their employees. I’m publishing an episode soon talking about sustainability. They’re talking about these companies that are creating environments for their employees that are better. They’re giving them healthcare. They’re paying them better. They’re doing all these things that are a little bit better than the next guy. If you see yourself as long-term in this industry, you’re going to want to work with a good company. It’s not just the big guys because they’re big. There are some small mom and pops too.

These smaller companies aren’t going to have these benefits in place unless they’ve been around for a while. Being a small company, you’re busy trying to get through the day-to-day, so that’s not a bad thing. That’s a part of business as a small company. The larger companies are going to have benefits in place, but they’re also going to be more corporate so they’re going to be a little tighter on how you can help the company or how you can manage stuff on your own. Smaller mom and pops are going to be able to have more flexibility, but your growth of potential may not be as high as it would be in let’s say corporate structure or a larger company.

Think about those as you’re going to apply for positions. I would not go and apply for any positions until you get that employment license. There are many people that wasted my time when I was in a store or working on a grow that would come up and ask for an application of some sorts and they didn’t have a license. That’s a waste of my time because half the time, these people would never apply for it, never go through with it and they asked me a bunch of questions. Don’t waste the owner’s time or the manager’s time. They’re extremely busy. You’ve got the license in hand and you know what you’re going to do.

It’s going to be easy to go on. They’re going to ask you on most applications, “Do you have a license? Have you worked in the industry?” It doesn’t matter if you’ve been there for a long time or a short time as long as you have that employment license from the state or the city. I hope they’re running it in your state or your city. They might have two licenses. You’ll have to figure that out. I don’t have the answers to all that, but this will be a nice blueprint for you to manage how I become what I want to be in the cannabis industry. This is a great blueprint for you to find what you want to do. The steps here will answer the majority of your questions as you’re going through the application process.

I would use a step-by-step. I’ve used it personally before on the licensing end, which is much more stringent, but this also tells people when you go to apply for a position, you’re serious about it. As owners, we get a lot of people that aren’t that serious. If you come to me and you got all this stuff in place, I’m like, “This guy knows what he’s talking about,” or “This might be an employee I might want to have on my side.” If you’re able to spend some time and do this, I guarantee you’re going to make more money, you’re going to catch the attention of more owners and you’re going to make it further than you ever would have. I look at this as simple steps.

If you see yourself as long-term in this industry, you're going to want to work with a good company. Click To Tweet

I would also like to ask if you have any questions out there on this or another one, please leave your questions or comments at PlantProblem.com. If you have any questions about the blueprint that I laid out here or additional questions, I can answer them in there for you. You can also reach me on my Facebook at Anthony Frischknecht. Reach out to me and give me your feedback and I will talk about that or I’ll bring it here or maybe I’ll do another on employment for you. I’d like to help everybody out there and this is for them. Thank you. I look forward to talking to you and bringing some new information soon.

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