Dear Industry Baby,
I completely relate to your question, and I’ve only delved into writing about weed full-time very recently. It took me a long road of completely unrelated odd jobs and boring 9-5’s to get to a place where I was ready to take the professional plunge. Honestly, it very much depends on which part of the industry you’re interested in. My path as a freelance writer who focuses on weed looks very different from someone who aspires to launch their own product line. My first piece of advice is to decide which part of the industry you’re most interested in: cultivation, design, content, advocacy work, or somewhere in between.
In my case, I started working in weed by interning for a nonprofit on the legislation side of things in college. From there, I started writing about weed more — submitting stories to magazines and websites and taking copywriting jobs where I could find them — before I found opportunities to pitch myself to my favorite canna-brands (like Sackville & Co by following them on social media and paying close attention to everything happening in my favorite industry. That brings me to my second piece of advice: Your best bet to find the work that clicks with you the most is to be a genuine fan of what you want to do. You won’t have to work hard to research a topic you’re already obsessed with.
We’re lucky to be entering an era where the stigma against cannabis is less pervasive than ever. When I was first starting out, many well-intentioned people warned me that once I started writing about weed, I might lose the opportunity to write about anything else. Turns out, not only is that not the case, but I wouldn’t mind if it was. This industry is rapidly expanding, and – though it certainly has its dark side and corruption – the best parts of it are people coming together to create a community where we can all thrive.
Remember, though, work is always work. While this work is so much more satisfying for me than what I was doing before, I had to do both for a long time – and it was definitely harder than I expected it to be. This capitalist hellscape is awfully volatile, and ultimately, you’ll have to decide if the perks of your 9-5 job like benefits, stability, and PTO outweigh the toll it takes on your soul – and if you’re in a place where you can afford to take a risk.