When the 2020 New Zealand Cannabis referendum passes, we’re likely to see an explosion of ‘green jobs’ arrive on the labour market. We did some research, to see what kind of work might be available and what sort of skills you’ll need to get a foot in the door, in the cannabis industry. 

Bud Tender

Much like a bar tender provides insight on hops, flavour and percentage, to serve you up the perfect pint on a Saturday night, as a bud tender you’ll be responsible for helping customers select the best product, strain, or consumption method to suit their needs. Day-to-day tasks include re-stocking and displaying merchandise, ensuring precise measurements of product, learning new items, providing awesome customer service and collating an epic playlist for the dispensary. Similarly, also, to bar tending, the worst part of this job is checking ID’s and telling underage or intoxicated people that they can’t be served and need to leave. Much like other retail roles, bud tending can include a lot of standing around and re-organising stock, but does have the added benefit of providing help and relief to people in need and getting those good feels is always a win in the workplace.


Be ready to memorise a whole heap about plant genetics and master scientific terms, like Endocannabinoid and Tetrahydrocannabinol. That’s all you need to worry about learning though, rather than practical rolling skills, because no one hand rolls cannabis anymore. You’ll also need to know the New Zealand Cannabis regulations regarding limits and sales like the back of your hand, but you can find all of that here and, if you want to get started right now, jump over to our Cannabis 101 page and see what there is to learn.


This classic gig is a perfect fit for New Zealander’s with farming heritage. If you enjoy being outside in your stubbies, basking amongst bountiful crops, this is the role for you. Farming is hard work but, luckily for the those happy to put in the hard yards, cannabis grows like, well, a weed!

To fit the bill, you’ll have to have access to a remote area that’s able to be licensed for growing, as well as having the organisational skills to maintain a strict product count, from seed to flower. Farming cannabis is one-part growing and one-part bureaucratic accounting and administration, but if you’re up for it and the mountains of paperwork that also come with producing a THC-containing crop, it’ll be worth the effort. For the keen, but less green-fingered, it’s worth noting that cannabis can be tricky to plant and is susceptible to all kinds of mites, fungus, mildew and rot. Whole crops can be wiped out in one rainstorm but, at $1000 retail for 2.2 kilos of crop and each plant potentially yielding 500g per harvest, there’s also a huge potential to cash in.


You’ll need to be aware of best farming practices, including; plant analysis, cannabis horticulture, fertilization types (preferably organic) methods and flushing, irrigation, pest control, legal regulations and compliance and how to troubleshoot problems, like nutrient deficiency.


Trimming is sheep shearing of the cannabis world; fast and hard work, best suited for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. When cannabis flower is harvested it needs to be trimmed, to removed excess leaves and stems. Usually, this process involves tiny scissors, some good tunes and a steady hand and, although mechanical trimmers are entering the market, much the same as shearing, nothing beats the hand-eye coordination and dexterity of a human with a pair of clippers. Not to mention, people power is, typically, much cheaper than automated options.

Everyone appreciates a well-trimmed flower and, although this job can entail long, hot hours in a trimming shed, it’s a good way to learn and grow your experience from, quite literally, a grass-roots level. Good co-workers and music help the time go by, but be ready for hand cramps and sticky plant resin showing up in weird places, that’ll have you wondering why your fingers are stuck to the steering wheel on the drive home.


Good eyesight and a steady hand are the basic requirements for this role; that and being able to cut down 12-15 plants an hour, which is actually heaps harder than it sounds.


One of the most important roles on the team, this role usually develops from a bud tender or dispensary management position. Consequences for inventory errors are high, so, usually, the pay is too. You’ll have to have a black belt in understanding compliance rules; if the inventory is off, you could lose your license. A strong ability to manage stock software, like Green Bits, will come in handy and, since this role is also, typically, in charge of ordering, it’s best suited to those with a penchant for dotting I’s and crossing T’s; to prevent being the victim of theft or, worse still, having to deal with upset customers, if you forget to place an order on their behalf.


Computer management and admin capabilities, a keen eye for detail and the ability to move fast and juggle lots of numbers are what’s needed for this role. A strong understanding of each product and what is offered by suppliers, as well as the ability to network and maintain business relationships will also make your life much easier.

Transportation and Brand Representative

Someone has to move products from one place to another and it might as well be you. This delivery position is typically a brand representative, trained to transport securely, legally and safely, high-value and volumes of cannabis. Normally, this role is natural progression from a trimmer or bud tender position but is, also, an easy transition for someone with a wholesale or retail background.

A normal day consists of traveling between supplier and retailer, dropping off products and explaining any order alterations. Keep in mind that cannabis is, typically, worth a lot of money, so alertness and an element of security is vital for this job.

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