The difference between an okay, good, and great dispensary, cannabis brand, or other cannabis business is how okay, good, or great the employees are. The process to identify great employees begins with the processes used to source, identify, interview, and hire applicants. This MJBiz article examines the use of cannabis recruiters and details tools to streamline internal cannabis recruiting.

Over the next few years the cannabis industry is expected to create between 200,000 to 600,000+ jobs in the United States. It will generate billions of dollars in taxable revenue lifting annual sales from $50 billion to $80 billion. The people who will fill these jobs will be amongst the first wave of legal cannabis employees in the United States since cannabis was deemed illegal in 1937!

One of the very exciting, and also very scary, things about the cannabis industry is that there is no history of a legal experienced, trained, and expert workforce. The lack of an existing workforce means there is opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, learn, and move up.

On the flip side the lack of an existing trained referenceable workforce causes challenges for owners and managers in new medicinal cannabis markets and established recreational cannabis markets alike. The lack of an existing trained workforce makes the activities of recruiting and hiring very different than any other industry. Finding team members that are knowledgeable about the plant, the nuances of the cannabis industry, and have the professional skills needed for the position (i.e. customer service, retail, lab extraction, culinary, marketing, etc.) can be like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Cannabis Recruiter Challenges
Challenges hiring knowledgeable cannabis employees were recently brought to my attention from the perspective of the cannabis recruiter. A recruiting firm, AtWork, approached EpicHint wanting to use our platform to expand their recruiting services to the cannabis market. We’re always up to partner with companies but likely won’t partner with them due to a lack of professionalism. While no partnership has been formed we value the interaction because it reinforced that our Hire Easy software alleviates many of the challenges associated with cannabis recruiting.

How does a cannabis recruiter work?
A cannabis recruiter will be retained (meaning some base fee is paid for the services). The cannabis recruiter will take inventory of all the vacant positions their client needs to fill. The cannabis recruiter will actively seek individuals with the skills needed to perform those positions. When an applicant is placed the cannabis recruiter will charge a percentage of the position’s annual salary (in addition to the base fee). This compensation percentage typically ranges from 10 – 25% with the average rate being 15%. The more senior the position the higher the percentage.


  • Position to be filled: Budtender
  • Hourly rate: $15.00/ hour
  • Hours worked per week: 40 Hours
  • Annual Pay: $28,800
  • Recruitment percentage: 10%
  • Cannabis recruiter makes: $2,880

The cost to recruit the example Budtender above does not include time to train the new hire nor does it include assessment of the new hire’s knowledge.

Cannabis Focused Cannabis Recruiters
The subtitle above seems silly but the green rush has recruiting firms that know nothing about cannabis attempting to recruit for the industry. As in the case of the “cannabis recruiting” firm that reached out to EpicHint. They are attempting to hire for an industry knowing full well they don’t have a grasp on the basics let alone the nuances of the cannabis industry. If a cannabis recruiter doesn’t have an understanding of the cannabis plant how can they authentically filter applicant BS and assess the value of a perspective Dispensary Operator, Budtender, Cannabis Brand Ambassador, Lab Director, Buyer, Compliance Manager, etc.?

There are few cannabis recruitment firms that focus solely on the cannabis market. The following are the more established cannabis focused cannabis recruiting firms:

  • Vangst
  • Viridian Staffing
  • Hemp Staff
  • CannaBiz

Streamlined Cannabis Recruiting = Cannabis Recruiting with Super Powers
I love efficiency. Wasting time on tasks that can be automated drives me crazy. Inefficiency of any kind becomes a huge pet peeve (time is the one thing we will never get in life…it’s precious we shouldn’t waste it on mundane tasks).

When attending MJBizCon 2018 one of the patterns we identified was the inefficiencies in having to train new hires on cannabis basics. To avoid training new hires on cannabis basics managers would instead spend hours reviewing hundreds of resumes and emails from applicants. Training new hires on cannabis basics (they should already know) and sifting through hundreds of resumes are extremely inefficient actions that waste time and money. To solve for these inefficiencies EpicHint created, Hire Easy. Hire Easy is pre-train and prescreen software for the cannabis industry that sits at the forefront of our platform.

Cannabis hiring managers use Hire Easy to streamline internal cannabis recruiting. A link to a a branded portal is included in existing job postings (or sent to perspective applicants). The branded portal includes cannabis trainings and pre-screen assessments. When cannabis trainings and prescreen assessments are passed applicants are granted the ability to submit a resume.

Hiring managers receive resumes from applicants that demonstrate comprehension and proficiency of the cannabis topics and role-specific details needed to be successful in the position. Charismatic applicants are left with no room to BS details. Hire Easy streamlines cannabis recruiting, makes the hiring process more efficient, and…

  • Saves hiring managers time, no more sifting through hundreds of resumes
  • Gives applicants the ability to self identify as motivated individuals that will make motivated team members
  • Provides comprehension and proficiency data that identifies applicants with the knowledge needed to be successful in the position being hired for
  • Reduces the likelihood that implicit bias is introduced into the hiring process resulting in more diverse workforces (diverse companies generate an average of 19% more revenue than companies that lack diversity)
  • Identifies applicants ready to apply and deepen knowledge on the job and eliminates applicants that will require extra time and money to ramp up on the basics
  • Save a lot of money by not outsourcing to a cannabis recruiter





Why examining the use of a cannabis recruiter versus streamlined internal cannabis recruiting matters
The use of cannabis recruiters that know nothing about the market can result in larger periods of time without the talent needed, more money spent to source, hire, and train an applicant, and increased turnover (because the wrong people are identified and hired).

If your business is not hiring its own team members via the use of streamlined internal cannabis recruiting processes we strongly suggest the use of a cannabis recruiter and/ or cannabis recruiting firm that specializes in the cannabis industry and authentically understands its nuances.

Curious about about Hire Easy and how it can help streamline your cannabis recruiting, hiring, and training? Thoughts on how to simplify recruiting and hiring in the cannabis industry? Any special tips and/ or tricks you use to identify great cannabis employees or make your cannabis recruiting efficient? Share them in the comments below or send us a message here. We’d love to hear from you!