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1. Recommending physicians
Thumb through the pages of many of today's alt-weekly papers -- and, ever more commonly, the mainstream dailies -- and you'll find ads for doctors providing cannabis referrals for new or returning patients. These board-certified physicians determine if cannabis is the right choice for patients suffering from cancer, HIV, depression, anxiety, or other ailments.
2. Physician's assistants
Depending on how busy a recommending physician's office can get, the doctor will be assisted by staff making appointments, answering phones, processing paperwork and printing cannabis recommendation letters.
There'd be no cannabis industry without growers. Many of today's growers are college graduates in botany or horticulture or people with years of growing experience. They maximize plant yield and potency while fighting off pests and mold.
Storefront medical cannabis dispensaries employ highly trained "budtenders" who help recommend the right cannabis strain to fit a patient's needs. They help people navigate the sometimes dizzying variety of available buds, edibles and tinctures.
5. Dispensary operators
Storefront cannabis dispensaries require owners and operators with the entrepreneurial sense to manage not only their suppliers, growers and employees, but to make sure their businesses operate within the limits of ever-changing local regulations.
6. Security guards
Given the large amounts of cash and cannabis kept on hand, dispensaries are sometimes targeted for robberies. Dispensaries hire security guards to make sure nothing bad goes down.
7. Dispensary administrators
Like any business that employs dozens of people, the larger dispensaries need staff to process payroll and benefits, pay business taxes, manage hiring and supervise. Dispensary operators may need an assistant to handle scheduling and travel.
8. Solar panel specialists
There's a growing movement to make the cannabis industry as green as possible. Several solar panel companies across the country are helping growers harness the sun's abundant rays to power their lighting rigs without sucking electricity from fossil fuel sources. These solar companies employ sales reps, consultants and installers, too.
9. Delivery drivers
Some cannabis patients, like those who are wheelchair-bound, may have difficulty making it to a dispensary or grower. Drivers work independently or with storefront dispensaries to deliver cannabis to such patients.
10. Lab techs
As the cannabis industry matures, patients are becoming more concerned with the safety and potency of their medication. A handful of labs are springing up to test buds and edibles for their THC and CBD levels and to make sure they're pesticide-free. The labs are run by university-educated scientists using the same high-powered testing equipment as pharmaceutical companies.
11. Marketing specialists
Like any business, cannabis dispensaries need ad campaigns and marketing plans to reach their patients. Marketing gurus help place ads in papers, and manage social networks.
Recent cannabis festivals in the Bay Area have featured panels on the legal issues facing patients and dispensaries. Up until a few years ago, cannabis lawyers were focused mostly on criminal defense cases. But as medical cannabis edges toward the mainstream, a number of lawyers now specialize in helping growers, patients and dispensaries navigate the legal complexities surrounding the industry, from business taxes to permitting issues.
13. Insurance agents
Insurance agencies across the country have sprung up offering coverage to people or businesses working in the cannabis industry. Growers, dispensaries, delivery drivers and edible manufacturers all have their unique coverage needs. Insurance agencies even offer crop coverage.
14. Government jobs
Yes, even the public sector is getting a boost from the cannabis industry. As more state and local governments create regulations for the medical cannabis industry, they need specialized staff to collect taxes, answer questions from the public and ensure that cannabis distributors are complying with the law.