Cannabis Industry Jobs Report: Biotech Jobs in Cannabis
With the rapid progressions of the mainstream cannabis industry comes a surging wave of novel business ideas and opportunities. Along this line of thought, creative hot-beds of the industry – seen in places like Denver, CO, and San Francisco, CA – are producing innovative companies looking to service every sector in the cannabis space.
Those individuals looking to make a career transition into the cannabis industry should be aware that the days of high-profit margins in marijuana growing have come to an end. Rather, it takes ingenuity, persistence, and foresight to find a profitable niche in the marketplace. Along this line of thought, trained specialists like tissue culture scientists are finding opportunities with biotech jobs in cannabis.
What are Biotech Jobs in Cannabis?
As the cannabis industry grows in sophistication, it brings with it the need for well-trained professionals. The new breed of cannabis professionals represents a change from the stereotyped cannabis enthusiasts of old—these young business people are multi-talented, well-educated, and hungry for success. Moreover, companies hiring in the cannabis space now put a high value on a college education as well as a proven work history.
Biotech jobs in cannabis are the result of some fascinating new evolutions and progressions in the industry. Blending a deep-seated understanding of traditional cannabis agronomy with the technological innovations of the twenty-first century, companies like Colorado’s Front Range Biosciences are pushing the industry in directions undreamed of a decade ago. Through scientific innovation and business ingenuity, Front Range Biosciences has created a cannabis-focused tissue culture lab that isolates, preserves, and purifies the genetic lines of cannabis strains. In turn, they have created several new science-based jobs for modern cannabis professionals.
Biotech Company Profile: Working for Front Range Biosciences
M&F Talent’s Kent Gruetzmacher had the opportunity to interview Jon Vaught, CEO of Front Range Biosciences, about the challenges and opportunities of biotech jobs in cannabis. For those individuals unfamiliar with tissue culture research, Front Range Bioscience’s business model provides a great platform for understanding this new industry segment.
By isolating tissue cultures of specific cannabis strains in a laboratory setting, they created a “genetic library” of cannabis strains. With this library of genetic preservation, Front Range Biosciences can provide clones to growers that are absolutely free of systemic pathogens and pests. Furthermore, they can preserve a genetic line of cannabis without sacrificing quality and consistency – which is a momentous step forward from traditional cloning methodologies.
Here is what Vaught had to say about his business model and biotech jobs in cannabis:
Are biotech jobs in cannabis a good choice for those looking to enter the industry?
Vaught: Yes, it is definitely a fast-growing segment. Currently, there are limited openings directly related to science, but that is changing quickly as more cannabis companies are realizing the need for professionals with strong scientific backgrounds from other industries.
For a biotech career in the cannabis industry, what do you see as more valuable: cannabis cultivation experience or college education?
Vaught: I think a college education, combined with professional experience in another industry, is ideal. Because of decades-long prohibition, the growing styles and methodologies that were used to support black market practices are becoming less and less relevant to today’s cannabis production.
To revisit the above question, how important is cannabis knowledge in a sales or marketing role for Front Range Biosciences?
Vaught: We are a B2B company with a strong customer base of growers and farmers, so understanding the sales and marketing aspects is helpful. It’s also important to differentiate that data-driven knowledge is critical. With so much false information on the internet, not just regarding the cannabis industry but throughout many sectors, it’s crucial that we can distill what content is useful, true, and relevant.
What sorts of industries provide the best background for those looking to transition to biotech jobs in cannabis?
Vaught: I think work in regulated environments, whether it’s in agriculture, food, molecular diagnostics, pharmaceutical development, or product manufacturing where GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) are implemented, is ideal. The types of quality control metrics and practices used in these environments give a candidate the right background and experience for working in the cannabis agricultural industry.
What are the largest challenges that Front Range Biosciences has in the hiring process?
Vaught: The biggest challenge is finding people who are motivated for the right reasons to join the industry. It’s agriculture, and frequently people don’t realize that; they have some glorified view of what the industry actually is. It’s a new crop, which makes it fun, exciting, and with plenty of room for innovation, but it’s still agriculture. There are also a lot of challenges in the industry as local, state, and federal governments try to sort out regulations, which makes it more complicated and challenging than other fields. This can be frustrating for professionals who have extensive careers in other industries that are trying to change over.
If a young person is planning on a future career in cannabis and has yet to begin any education, profession, or vocational training, what sort of advice would you give them?
Vaught: It all depends on what side of the industry they want to join. I would encourage them to pursue a meaningful education, something challenging with rigorous coursework. When looking at resumes, a science or technical degree is usually a positive. I also think that corporate and industrial experience is much more valuable than purely academic. People who have completed their education and have at least one significant corporate experience, even if it’s just an entry-level position, are much more valuable than those coming straight from academia.
Those new to the workforce should not be extremely picky about their first job or two out of school. Many resumes of young people I see today have 4-5 job listings in the two years since they graduated school. Jumping around from position to position, company to company is a bad sign from a hiring perspective. Lastly, I would suggest they spend some time working in a more evolved industry first so that they can bring that experience to cannabis. Over the next couple of years, this industry is going to look much different, and more like traditional food and agriculture industries, so bringing experience from those sectors is valuable.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow and mature, it brings with it surging waves of new business ideas and career opportunities. Today, biotech jobs in cannabis present an intriguing pathway for professionally trained scientists. To bring this level of job opportunity to the cannabis space, companies like Front Range Biosciences are pushing the industry to innovate in new and fascinating ways. If you are scientifically minded, having a look at biotech jobs in cannabis might be a great idea for advancing your career.
Interested in Biotech Jobs in Cannabis? Talk to M&F Talent!
Mac & Fulton Talent Partners is one of the premier recruiting agencies to speak with about biotech jobs in cannabis. We specialize in technical searches and specialized roles in the cannabis and horticulture industries. Contact us today to learn more!