Work With Weed: 5 Hottest Jobs In The Red-Hot Marijuana Industry

Here's how to find employment in one of America's fast-growing sectors.

marijuana industry
Photo by Heath Korvola/Getty Images

The marijuana market is among the fastest growing of all time. It is also becoming more socially acceptable, and as such, many young people are opting for a career in the cannabis industry. According to Forbes, the pot sector will create more employment than manufacturing by 2020. There are many job opportunities in the cannabis industry and thousands are taking advantage of them.

Job listings are available abundantly online. People are flocking to cannabis job fairs in droves. Companies employ many attendees at a time, but more people are just trying to get into the space. Most have little to no experience working with marijuana, but they believe wholeheartedly in the product and because these jobs are typically unique, there is place for anyone willing to learn.

The cannabis industry is not only attractive to the youth. Older folk are also involving themselves, particularly those too old for the traditional workforce, yet with bachelor’s degrees. Store managers are not especially unique, but marijuana industry entrepreneurs can choose from other job positions found nowhere else.

These are currently the top five job opportunities in the cannabis industry:

1. Store Manager

Managers play a crucial role in any retail environment, including recreational outlets and medical dispensaries. Store managers earn a very good salary in the cannabis industry. At the very least, they can make upwards of $75,000 per year, and they can expect a bonus based on gross sales.

Commission can be particularly lucrative when you consider how some Californian dispensaries turn over up to $10 million annually, which adds up to a very healthy bonus. As with traditional jobs, these employees also get health insurance and vacation pay. There is also room for job growth, as many managers become supervisors overseeing several stores.

2. Grow Master

You need a unique skillset to become a cannabis grow master. This person has the responsibility of cultivating the different marijuana strains. Much like a master chef, it is a seller’s market for grow masters. There is a very high demand for people with growing skills, and because of this, they can command their own salaries. Some earn a basic wage of $100,000 per year and a profit percentage.

Currently, the best cultivators originate from states with the longest legalization period, such as California and Colorado. They are already used to earning exceptional wages and working by themselves, and they have had the time to perfect their skills and solidify their reputations. The future will likely have celebrity cultivators, much like the celebrity chefs we have today.

3. Bud Trimmer

Bud trimming is an entry-level position, but it will get you into the cannabis industry. These employees earn the lowest wages. In California, bud trimmers typically make approximately $13 per hour, but there is always work available for them. Some earn according to the pound, which adds up to between $100 and $200 for every pound of bud they trim.

In medical marijuana dispensaries, bud trimmers are valuable. They remove flowers from stems and it is paramount that they waste as little as possible, cut only what is necessary, and ensure buds are in pristine condition. They also separate and weigh leaves, stems, and buds. Although it is certainly a tedious job, bud trimming is one of the easiest ways to work your way into the cannabis industry.

4. Extraction Technician

When people think of marijuana, they picture the flowers. However, cannabis extracts are becoming increasingly popular, accounting for as much as 40 percent of sales at some outlets. Considered “extract artists,” these employees typically have PhDs and unique skills. Salaries are as high as $125,000 in profitable dispensaries.

Some states only allow patients to use medical marijuana extracts. According to the New York State Department of Health, patients in New York may not smoke pot. They may only use it as an extract. Although expensive machines have the actual job of extracting, technicians have the expertise and knowledge to make them work, as well as the experience to provide consistent quality to patients.

5. Owner

Owning a marijuana business is not as fun a job as it sounds. It comes with one headache after another. People think owners make millions, but this is untrue in most cases. There are banking and legal worries, as well as a constantly shifting regulatory environment. Marijuana business owners cannot claim the same deductions other businesses can, making expenses extremely high.

For many cannabis business owners, it takes years for revenues to pay off initial capital investments. They fork out millions of dollars and only see profits years later. Even so, the marijuana industry is in its earliest phase, and with forecasters predicting decades of explosive growth, owning a cannabis business can be both lucrative and far more pleasant than the daily grind of traditional jobs.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering a career in the cannabis industry, then there are plenty of job opportunities already available. If you take the time to hone specialized skills, then you can command the best salary in a market desperately looking for you. Consider taking a cultivation or extraction course if you are serious about joining the ranks of marijuana industry entrepreneurs.

This story originally appeared on the MJ News Network. Is was written by John Levy, who blogs for Pot Valet, a leading cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles.  


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