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How to Pick the Best Cannabis Job References

woman asking supervisor to be her cannabis job reference on phone

When you are nearing the end of your cannabis job interview process, and things are looking good, the hiring manager will mostly likely do a few things. First, they’ll ask you about when you will be able to start. Second, they may ask you when you can do a drug screening. Third, they will ask you to provide professional job references they can contact soon. It is preferable to have your list of cannabis job references ready so you can email it to them right away. However, it can be difficult to decide who will make ideal professional job references. We’ll dive into how to pick the best marijuana job references so you can cross the finish line with confidence and get that offer letter!  

person sorting out options for cannabis job references

Ranked Cannabis Job Reference Options  

In general, your future employer wants to discuss your skills and experience with the following people. Here they are ranked, so you can go through your options and find the best reference for the opportunity you have your sights on. Here are your best options:  

  • Current manager  
  • Prior manager/supervisor  
  • Current co-worker/client  
  • Former co-worker/client  
  • Friends or family  

It is more likely that your current supervisor or manager doesn’t know you are on the hunt for a cannabis job. However, if they do, and they are supportive enough to be a reference, this is your best bet. You will need to have a strong relationship with your manager for this to happen. If that is not an option, asking prior managers or supervisors to be your reference for a job is the way to go. The next best type of job reference is a co-worker that you work with on a regular basis. A client works, too, as they can discuss your quality of service and rapport building. You should not put friends or family on your cannabis job references list, unless you worked with them directly. Remember that recruiters and employers want to check your professional references to gauge your on-the-job performance. They want a third party to vouch for your work habits, mindset, and character instead of just hearing it from you.   

job seeker asking a former co-worker to be a reference

How to Ask Someone to Be Your Cannabis Job Reference 

When asking someone to be your job reference for a cannabis position, be specific. Mention the details of the role you are going for and what you expect the hiring manager will ask them. Also, you want to ask if you can count on them to give you a favorable reference. You do not want to assume that your past manager or co-worker will give you all the praises in the world. A tepid or half-hearted reference can cost you the cannabis job. If they agree to being your reference for a job, but they pause before committing or sound lukewarm about doing so, consider keeping them off the list. You are trying to create a list of people who are willing and happy to be your job reference.  

Here is an example of how you can inform your cannabis job reference of what to highlight about your work skills: “Since they are going through a transition phase with their management team, I’m assuming they want to know that I have strong leadership abilities. Also, I think they want to know that I can educate a team to be efficient and take initiative. If the opportunity arises, mentioning the sales project I led in 2018 to gain major clients would help prove that.”  

Also, do not forget to ask them if they have any questions about the role or confidentiality of the job search. Make yourself available to them via phone or email just in case they need further clarification.  

smartphone with a locked screen for a confidential cannabis job search

Searching for a Cannabis Job Confidentially 

Every situation is different when it comes to marijuana job searching. As said previously, your current manager will most likely not be a choice. When asking a former manager or supervisor to be a cannabis job reference, you must clarify that you are searching for a job covertly. State the potential consequences of what will happen if your current employer finds out you are job hunting. Choosing a former manager whom you have an established level of trust in is paramount. If you feel that your list of marijuana job references isn’t as strong as it should be, let your potential employer know that you cannot reach out to ideal references due to confidentiality. Also, remember that some employers or recruiters will screen references before the interview process even begins. This allows them to craft more personalized cannabis job interview questions. 

woman giving notes to her reference

Info You Should Give Your Cannabis Job References 

First and foremost, let them know when to expect a call from the hiring manager. You can even let them know the person’s name, job title, and even LinkedIn profile URL. The more prepared they are, the better they will be in being your cannabis job reference. Next, send them the link to the job description or job posting. You can also make things easier for them and email them an overview of the role and main responsibilities in bullet-note format. Not to mention, you want to let them know what skills, experience, and highlights you would like them to cover, given the opportunity. Sometimes job references do not know what to say, so make it easy for them. Also, provide them with a brief overview of the company you are applying to. 

scrabble tiles spelling out thank you

Thanking Your Job References 

You won’t always know when your job references will be contacted. However, it is likely that the hiring manager will let you know they got a hold of them. Once you know that the conversations happened, thank you each one. Of course, you should thank them when they agree to be your cannabis job reference but thanking them again is in line with best practices for common courtesy. And, if you land the cannabis job, consider thanking each of your references with a small gift like a gift card or some cannabis goods. Also, let them know if they ever need a job reference, you will gladly put in a good word for them.   

Take your time in finding the right cannabis job references for the opportunity you are going after. Gathering the right people for your references list could make the difference in landing the cannabis position. 


What are the 3 best types of references for a job in the cannabis industry?  

The 3 best types of references for a job in the marijuana industry are current supervisors/managers, former supervisors/mangers, and current co-workers. Next up are former co-workers or peers.   

Can I use a friend as a reference for a job in the cannabis industry?  

If you are using a friend as a reference, it is best if they worked with you before. Personal references are not the best choice. If you use a personal reference, choose teachers, group leaders, professional mentors, or someone along those lines.   

Who qualifies as a reference for a job in cannabis?  

Usually, a professional reference is a former manager, employee, colleague, or teacher who’s on your cannabis resume. You can use personal references, but only if you run out of options. Hiring managers want to hear from someone who knows you well in a work environment.   

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