The Australian cannabis industry: how you could get a 420 career

Cannabis consultant Rhys Cohen fills us in on the industry

With recent changes to the law, the Australian cannabis industry is growing steadily and more opportunities are popping up. We talk chat with Rhys Cohen, the program director of Cann10 Australia, about how to get the right knowledge that could turn into a career in cannabis.

MORE: Australia’s getting its first medical cannabis education program

Tell us a bit about the Aussie cannabis industry right now

Right now the industry is quite small, but growing very quickly. The regulations mean that most of the companies currently operating in the industry are medium to large groups with a strong focus on scientific research and development. That means the kinds of jobs available today are for chemists, pharmacologists, plant biologists, biochemists, lawyers, and business development and strategy people.

In 10 years time it’s likely Australia will have – or will be very close to having – adult-use cannabis. That means an entirely different system that should be similar to the US and Canada. In North America, most of the jobs in the industry are at the retail or business support levels (budtending, logistics, marketing etc.), and there are lots of opportunities for people from non-scientific backgrounds. That’s not the case right now in Australia, but it will be down the track.

If I wanted a job in the industry, where should I look?

There have been a few cannabis jobs advertised through Seek, but most of the work is being found through word-of-mouth and referrals. That means networking is key to finding these jobs. Attending cannabis events and building an online presence that represents your skills are the best ways to get employed in the industry.

You could also start your own cannabis company. This is no small task, and you’ll need to build a team of professionals with the right skills to back you up. Accessing capital can also be a challenge. When people come to me for advice on starting their own cannabis company, I usually recommend they reach out to and team up with another cannabis company from Canada, Israel or the Netherlands. That will give you a massive head-start.

Could anyone get in to this industry? Would I need training?

Yes and yes. If you’re serious about working in the Australian medicinal cannabis industry, you’ll need to seek out all the training you can find. Whether you can find a job in the industry will depend not only on your professional skills and education, but also your drive and attitude. This is a new industry with lots of unknowns, so you need to be really motivated to keep learning and stay up to date with the recent trends.

Do I need to worry about breaking the law?

Depends on what you’re doing! But if you’re working for a legit cannabis company, you’ve got no worries.

Rhys Cohen’s Cann10 group is running a training program commencing this September which will look at commerce, science and regulation with a strong focus on networking and practical industry knowledge. More info or book your place here

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