What are Cannabis Jobs with Plant-Touching Businesses Like? 

Before starting down a cannabis career path, candidates must wiegh several important factors about the industry. Most notably, they need to consider which sector of the cannabis industry they choose to work in: plant-touching businesses or ancillaries. 

Both jobs with plant-touching businesses and ancillaries offer unique employment opportunities for aspiring applicants. To give you a better idea of which cannabis employment opportunity to pursue, M&F Talent wanted to explore the benefits and challenges of jobs with plant-touching businesses. 

What are Plant-Touching Businesses?

The term “plant-touching” refers to businesses that directly handle cannabis plants or products. While plant-touching jobs are as varied as Budtenders and Marketing Directors, each of these positions is linked to the cannabis flower in some capacity.  jobs with plant-touching businesses

When most people envision careers in the cannabis industry, they often think of working for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries. Since each of these business models deals directly with the cannabis plant, they are all considered plant-touching. As the cannabis industry grows and matures, new careers are emerging within the plant-touching vertical. For instance, Plant Scientists work in tissue culture labs while Organic Chemists are engaged in extraction laboratory roles. 

Less-known jobs with plant-touching businesses include transportation, compliance, operations, and sales. Larger multi-state operators (MSOs) like Curaleaf and Cresco Labs also have sizeable corporate structures with a variety of positions in the C-suite. 

What are the Benefits of Jobs with Plant-Touching Businesses?

An interesting thing about working for plant-touching businesses is the fact they are on the “front lines” of the industry. When new markets open in places like Ohio and Illinois, plant-touching businesses are the first ones to invest in the local industry. Since plant-touching businesses like cultivators and dispensaries need licenses, their application fees represent the first money state governments collect as they expand into legal cannabis. jobs with plant-touching businesses

Plant-touching businesses are also the first to create new jobs in novel markets. Once cultivation, manufacturing, and retail businesses are up and running, ancillaries quickly follow to offer business-to-business (B2B) goods and services like cultivation equipment and software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings. 

Plant-touching careers appeal to a certain type of individual. In many cases, those who enjoy working closely with cannabis plants, flowers, products, or medicine are drawn to jobs with plant-touching businesses. In like fashion, those individuals with an entrepreneurial mindset are well-suited for the plant-touching vertical, as each cannabis company in operation today is essentially a startup. 

What are the Challenges of Working for Plant Touching Businesses?

While plant-touching businesses offer great opportunities for hopeful applicants, they also bring their fair share of challenges. The main problems with these jobs stem from the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal and most businesses are still in the startup phase. Not only does this situation lead to a patchwork of disparate state markets with unique laws, but it creates a lot of instability in the industry. jobs with plant-touching businesses

The disjointed nature of cannabis legalization across states creates a patchwork of legal markets – complicating business operations, as well as people’s career progression. Additionally, strict compliance regulations within the cannabis industry necessitate adherence to stringent rules, with even minor infractions potentially leading to termination. Yet, with each state operating in complete autonomy from others, the compliance rules that apply in one state might not apply to another. 

Since plant-touching businesses are directly subjected to the violent fluctuations of the cannabis market, the industry is notorious for having high employee turnover. As the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) website explains: “the cannabis industry is one of the hardest industries in terms of high turnover and low engagement emphasizing the need to address workforce reductions and support remaining employees.” 


When pursuing careers in cannabis, applicants are encouraged to weigh the benefits and challenges of jobs with plant-touching businesses versus ancillaries. Some of the biggest issues in the cannabis industry today have to do with high employee turnover. Due to the fragmented, volatile nature of the plant-touching vertical, it doesn’t offer as much career stability as one might hope. 

Yet, gritty entrepreneurs and businesspeople are drawn to plant-touching companies since they are on the front lines of the industry. These startup-savvy cannabis professionals are excited and inspired to shape this new and exciting industry. 

Looking for a Cannabis Career? Talk to M&F Talent!  

From Compliance Directors to Outside Sales Reps, the recruiters at M&F Talent have extensive experience filling jobs with plant-touching businesses. 

Contact us to jump-start your cannabis career!