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Opportunities and Restrictions

Resources for Aspiring Cannabis Workers

Opportunities and Restrictions FAQs

What is the going wage for cannabis entry level jobs?

In the U.S., the salary for entry level jobs ranges from $20,500 to $64,500 a year with an average of $38,884, and the average hourly rate in the U.S. is $18.69 (Ziprecruiter). In Connecticut, the average salary is $37,088, and the average hourly rate is $17.83 (Ziprecruiter).

How many hours a week should I expect to work?

The number of hours you work will depend on the needs of the business. If you are in a full-time role, you can expect to work around 35-40 hours a week. If you are in a part-time role, the number of hours will vary. You will have to inquire about the number of hours for a part-time role.

Are there educational requirements for working in the industry?

While there is no formal educational requirement for work in the industry, it may be easier to be hired for certain occupations with a particular educational background. For example, Horticulture specialists (i.e., those who have a degree in horticulture) are becoming increasingly popular as cannabis cultivators. Those in managerial positions may benefit from advanced management degrees (e.g., MBAs).

Is there a “career path” for cannabis workers?

The Social Equity Council will develop a series of career pathways for cannabis workers depending on functional interest. Connecticut’s Social Equity Council was created to ensure that legalized recreational cannabis will be grown in an equitable way and to ensure that funds are brought back to communities that were affected the most by the “war on drugs.” See their website for the latest updates.

What types of jobs are going to be part of the cannabis industry?

There are many types of jobs in the cannabis industry. Here is a list of the different cannabis-related licenses in Connecticut. You can also expect each type of cannabis establishment will have entry level positions that will not require licenses such as a budtender (someone who helps customers find the product they’re looking for), driver, lab technician, grower, baker, etc.

Where can I go to get trained for cannabis jobs?

ACE is working on developing a list of educational training programs for the cannabis industry. Check back for more information.

Is there an age requirement to work in the cannabis industry?

You need to be 21 years or older to hold a cannabis establishment license or be a backer or key employee of a cannabis establishment. A key employee is someone who is either A) the top-ranking individual at the establishment (the person who is responsible for staff and business operations) OR B) the financial manager OR C) the compliance manager. A backer is someone with financial interest in a cannabis establishment that is over 5% of the overall ownership of the establishment and/or participates directly in the management of the establishment.

You need to be 18 years or older to be an employee of a cannabis establishment or be employed by a cannabis establishment (this is different from being an employee because it might mean that you’re a contractor, so not technically an employee).

Will I be drug tested if I apply for a job in the cannabis industry?

This is dependent on the employer. However, an employer cannot refuse to hire you if your drug test comes back positive for THC only. There are a few exceptions, which include whether the cannabis establishment would be in violation of a federal contract if its employees are positive for THC.

Are there other offenses that will disqualify me from working in the cannabis industry?

See here for a full list of offenses that will disqualify you from getting a license in the cannabis industry. If you are just applying for a job, it is up to the employer as to whether they will hire you based on your offenses. They can require a background check before hiring (CTLawHelp).

Will I be able to open a bank account as a cannabis worker?

You can open a personal bank account as a cannabis worker. For businesses, Connecticut’s banking commissioner still needs to finalize its recommended legislation on how cannabis establishments can access depository banking and commercial mortgages.

Will I be able to contribute to Social Security as a cannabis worker?

Yes, a cannabis business is required to pay payroll tax, which will contribute to social security.

Will my employer offer health insurance if I work in the cannabis industry?

This depends on the employer, but there are employers that do offer health insurance. You will have to ask the employer.

What other benefits are typically received as an employee in this industry?

This also depends on the employer. Examples of possible benefits could include paid time off, dental and eye insurance, and paid family leave, although these are not guaranteed.

If I leave the industry will my employment in the legal cannabis industry hurt my future job search?

No. The cannabis industry in Connecticut is legal, so it is a legitimate form of employment. However, be aware that a prospective employer may ask about your job history, and they can call your former employer to confirm you worked there, so you should be honest when stating your work history.

If I move to a different state, will my cannabis employment record be available for employers to see?

A prospective employer in a different state may ask about your job history, and they can call your former employer to confirm you worked there. If you don’t want to state your employment at a cannabis establishment, you don’t have to, but a prospective employer may inquire as to why you do not have any job history for that period of time.

What due diligence should I do to ensure I am employed at a legal entity?

Here are some things to consider to ensure that you’re employed at a legal entity (HempStaff):

  • Are there multiple forms of contact for the company (e.g. email and telephone)? A legitimate company will make it easy to contact them.

  • Are there a lot of mistakes on the website? A lot of mistakes could suggest that the company is not legitimate.

  • What does a Google search show? Does this company show up?

  • Do they have a physical address? What results turn up when you search the address?

Can my employer ask me about or prohibit personal cannabis use?

Your employer can implement a policy that prohibits cannabis possession, use, or other consumption, except for possession of medical cannabis by a qualifying patient. However, your employer cannot hold cannabis use against you before you begin employment.

Should I be concerned about Federal regulations as a cannabis worker?

It would be in your best interest to follow any updates on federal regulations because it can affect the overall cannabis industry, but you should not be concerned. The Connecticut bill overrides federal law. The CT bill prohibits any agency or political subdivision of the state from using a cannabis-related federal law violation to punish an individual except for a few exceptions related to commercial driver’s licenses and hazardous materials.

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