Legal marijuana industry jobs can grow your career
Searching for a fun, good-paying job in a growing industry? Look no further than this budding field—literally.
The marijuana business is lit. With total market sales set to exceed $24 billion by 2025, the U.S. cannabis industry will create roughly 300,000 jobs by 2020—eclipsing the projected job growth of manufacturing, according to a recent report from New Frontier Data, a business intelligence firm focused on cannabis. (Those figures are based solely on the states that passed medical or recreational legalization initiatives before 2017.)
Another study has even higher (forgive the pun) job numbers: By 2021 the cannabis industry is expected to create 414,000 jobs in the U.S., according to an ArcView study.
Cannabis jobs are multiplying as more states legalize recreational marijuana. California began sales of legalized adult-use cannabis on January 1, 2018, and customers lined up in droves; one dispensary alone sold $30,000 worth of product by 1:30 in the afternoon on New Year’s Day, Marijuana Business Daily reports.
Sound like something you might be into? You’re in luck: Hundreds of marijuana industry jobs are available on Monster right now. As in many industries, certain jobs are essential to running a business. For instance, there are positions for staff accountants, sales reps, and administrative assistants in the cannabis-focused workplace. But there’s also a need for people who can handle the product itself.
Here are just a few of those jobs that could be the right fit for you. Note: Depending on the location of these jobs, you may be required to obtain a marijuana worker permit (for example, in Oregon and Illinois) before getting hired.
What you’d do: During harvest season, bud trimmers are responsible for cutting marijuana plants by hand. “Trimmers manicure the plants to remove all the excess foliage and trim them down to the buds,” says Kyle Dukes, operations manager at San Diego–based dispensary Torrey Holistics and board member of San Diego Cannabis Industry Association. Dukes says bud trimming is a great entry-level job for people looking to break into the cannabis industry.
What you’d need: No formal education is required, but an emphasis on cleanliness and organization is often stressed.
What you’d make: Some trimmers get paid per pound of how much finished cannabis product they trim, says Dukes, while others get paid about $12 to $18 per hour.
Find bud trimmer jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Derived from “bartender,” budtenders serve on the frontlines of the industry by working face to face with customers at dispensaries. “We call them consultants, since they guide customers through the process of buying what they want,” Dukes says.
What you’d need: For this job, you’ll be required to have working knowledge of cannabis products as well as all current rules regulating retail and medical marijuana. Budtenders must also be sociable to ensure the customer has a good experience.
What you’d make: Beginners earn around $11 to 12 an hour, plus tips, while salaried employees make about $31,200 to $42,000 per year.
Find budtender jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Extraction technicians—also known as concentrate makers, or extractors—take marijuana plants and turn them into hashish, oils, and other concentrates. Because they apply scientific techniques and procedures in labs, these professionals have to be detail oriented and precise.
What you’d need: A high school diploma or GED is typical, though some positions may require a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, engineering, natural sciences, or a related field.
What you’d make: Entry-level extraction jobs average between $20,000 and $40,000 annually, while leadership positions can pay six-figure salaries.
Find extraction technician jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Dispensary managers oversee the daily operations of the cannabis retail shop. Their responsibilities include everything from interfacing with vendors and law enforcement to managing inventory and dealing with product returns, Dukes says. Dispensary managers hire, train, and manage budtenders, and ensure that only the best and safest product is being sold.
What you’d need: A bachelor’s degree is generally preferred, though a high school diploma or GED may suffice. Retail or luxury goods experience is a plus.
What you’d make: Anywhere from $60,000 to $150,000 per year
Find dispensary jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: These chefs use their culinary talents and marijuana knowledge to create cannabis-infused foods, or edibles, from gummy candies to lollipops to baked goods and more.
What you’d need: A background in cooking and baking certainly helps, but like all other cannabis jobs, the main focus is knowledge of the product. Specifically, edibles have to be precisely measured by these chefs to ensure safe consumption. “We have to control every dosage we put in our foods,” says Julianna Carella, says CEO at Auntie Dolores, a cannabis-infused edibles dispensary in San Francisco. However, independent chefs must also be knowledgeable of state and municipal marijuana codes, which can change frequently. “The marijuana business is not a streamlined industry,” says Carella. “There are strict laws for how we need to test and sell our products.”
What you’d make: $40,000 to $90,000 per year
Find edibles-related jobs on Monster.
What you’d do: Gardeners, or growers, oversee the cultivation of the marijuana plants. Each site has assistant growers that check things like the nutrient and humidity levels; these employees work under a master grower, who manages the day-to-day operations of the facility and trains the crew.
What you’d need: A physical science or horticulture degree will give you preference. All gardeners must be knowledgeable of strains as well as growing technologies, such as lights, irrigation, and fertilizer.
What you’d make: Assistant growers earn, on average, $15.55 per hour; master growers typically command a salary of $100,000 per year and sometimes a percentage of the facility’s profit.
Find cannabis grower jobs on Monster.
Make more green
Anytime an industry is on the brink of becoming huge, there will obviously be a rush of job seekers hoping to get in on the ground floor—and cannabis is no exception. Want to stay ahead of the pack? Join Monster today. As a member, you can get cannabis job alerts sent directly to your inbox as soon as they become available, which cuts down on the time you’d spend searching through job ads. Plus, you’ll get career advice and useful tips to help you smoke the competition.
Salary information was culled from PayScale.com, cannabistraininguniversity.com, and cannarecruiter.com.