How to Start a Career in Cannabis – Tips from BPG’s Director of HR

June 4th, 2019

With a 76% increase in new openings in 2019, cannabis has one of the fastest-growing rates of job creation in any industry. Indeed and ZipRecruiter list as many as 200,000 to 300,000 new jobs in the cannabis market nationwide.

Meet Berkeley Patients Group’s Director of Human Resources

Peggy McGuire earned her masters in Human Resources and Organizational Development from the University of San Francisco. Before finding her home at Berkeley Patients Group, Peggy worked at Kaiser Permanente, co-founded Leadership High School, and was Executive Director of the San Francisco Ronald McDonald House, as well as the Women’s Cancer Resource Center.

In just two years as BPG’s Director of Human Resources, Peggy has dramatically decreased employee turnover from 46% to 10%.

To achieve this, she focused on two key areas: hiring the right candidates and developing employees through training and organizational change.

Peggy reviews hundreds of applications over the course of a year. We her to share her best insights for those who want to land a job in the cannabis industry:


1: Be More Skillful Than Passionate

While it’s always great to be passionate about your work, it’s more important to possess skills that make you qualified for a position. Most who have a desire to work in cannabis are passionate about the plant, so highlighting relevant skills in your resume will make you stand out from other applicants.

For example, the best “budtenders” (we call them dispensary specialists) are passionate about cannabis, continually seek out and develop product knowledge, and thrive on providing great customer service. Experience in sales or customer-facing positions is helpful, though not always necessary.


2: Be Adaptable

Something unique to the cannabis industry is that it is relatively new. You should be ready for constant change, and with these changes you must be able to adapt accordingly.

A slight change in cannabis regulation can completely transform your company’s daily operations–the products you sell or how they are sold. Just remember, change isn’t a bad thing, as long as you have to skills to keep up and adapt.


3: Be Flexible

Most cannabis companies are small, thus leading to a small pool of employees. This means you might need to cover shifts and just be rather flexible with your schedule. This also means that a certain times you might need to get hands on certain things like unpacking or packing boxes, assembling things, restocking materials, etc.


4: Be Curious

It’s good to be curious in any job as it shows interest and desire to do good, so ask questions, whether it be something related to your position or about the industry as a whole. Try to stay informed on what’s going on in the industry as well as, again the cannabis industry is rather new, leading to a lot of fluctuations, which can affect how you work and what you might need to do to get your job done.


About Berkeley Patients Group

Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) is the nation’s longest-running dispensary. Since 1999, we have provided access to affordable, lab-tested cannabis in an environment that is safe, professional, and comfortable. Our vision for legal integrity, coupled with our mission to provide compassionate care, has positioned BPG as one of the world’s most reputable dispensaries.

We develop and maintain the highest standards of excellence for the industry, and we foster a compassionate community that advances knowledge and inspires action. We employ team members who commit to the values of leadership, service, community, compassion, and integrity.


Working at Berkeley Patients Group

BPG strives to be the employer of choice for individuals interested in building their careers in cannabis. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis prohibited by federal, state or local law. Benefits of working at BPG include:

  • Competitive wages
  • Medical, dental, vision benefits for full time employees
  • Paid Time Off (PTO) and Sick Time
  • Optional 401(k) retirement plan
  • Optional commuter benefits program
  • Employee discount
  • Per state regulations, employees must be 21 years of age or older

Conducted annually, our most recent employee survey asked what our team members love about working at BPG. Among the top answers were: the deep understanding of cannabis and therapies, professional development and training, providing a real and vital service to the local community, better-than-average starting wages, 50% employee discount, the friendly team environment, internal vendor trainings, free product samples, and giving feedback.


Open Positions

All our current openings are listed on

Dispensary Specialist: The Dispensary Specialist is responsible for delivering consistent, exceptional, and high quality customer service to each and every patient member. The Dispensary Specialist assists members with selecting products, provides them with expert knowledge about cannabis and its medicinal applications, processes transactions efficiently and accurately, keeps the Dispensary adequately stocked to facilitate daily business, and maintains a sanitary environment for members and staff.

Inventory Specialist: The Inventory Specialist is responsible for facilitating and monitoring the availability of sufficient cannabis products for BPG customers and complying with standards for handling, storage, quality control and reporting.

Safety Specialist: The Safety Specialist is responsible for welcoming each patient, enforcing BPG’s policies for access, monitoring the facility and surrounding neighborhood, and ensuring patients and employees may safely receive services from BPG. When necessary, the Safety Specialist will intervene to peacefully de-escalate conflicts.

To view our current job openings, please visit:


heart Your Buds at BPG