Every year, more and more states are legalizing cannabis for both recreational and medicinal use. And as they do, they’re also procuring a job market.
Recent statistics have found that cannabis was a strong industry in and is projected to only continue to grow. In 2018 alone, more than 60,000 positions were filled – nearly 1/4 of today’s entire cannabis market.
Economists have high optimism for the future of cannabis as the overall U.S. economy continues to climb. Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting involved yourself.
If so, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this article, we’re going to take a look at the economy of cannabis. From there, we’re going to discuss the most common jobs that can be found within this industry.
At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
Cannabis Job Statistics
As of March 2019, the following statistics have been recorded in terms of the cannabis job market: ¹
- The cannabis industry added 64,389 jobs in 2018 alone – a 44% gain.
- There are currently 211,000 jobs in the cannabis industry.
- There are 296,000 jobs either in or related to the cannabis industry.
- 2018 saw a 44% gain in the total United States workforce.
- The median pay within the cannabis industry is $52,863 – 11% above the national median pay.
- Most staff member who work directly with customers earn between $12 and $16 an hour.
- Cultivation and extraction directors can easily make more than a six figure salary.
With the U.S. economy doing so well and the cannabis industry still in very early stages, this is looking like prime time to get into this business.
Top 11 Jobs in the Cannabis Industry
With so much talk about the great economy of the cannabis industry, it’s only natural for newcomers to be curious about what their position in it could be. Truth be told, there are a lot of opportunities waiting to be had.
We hope the following list can give you a sense of where your expertise can play a role in the cannabis market:
11. Marijuana Packager – $17K to $40K+
For those looking for an entry-level position, a cannabis packager is a great place to start.
Though the work is safe and simple – packing cannabis and/or cannabis-infused products for the sake of distribution – it’s a great way to start networking. You’ll naturally meet people throughout the industry as distribution plays a major role.
The more you meet people, the more you’ll have the ability to show off your true talents for this marketplace. Though the pay isn’t phenomenal, this is the type of job for people thinking in the long-term of their involvement in the cannabis industry.
10. Trimmer, Harvester, or Cultivator – $17K to $41K+
Another common entry-level job is weed-trimming. This involves removing the potent cannabis bud from stems and trimming off excess leaves to create a more attractive product.
It’s simple and, admittedly, a bit tedious. Furthermore, you’re going to be required to work quickly and effectively. Still, it’s another great way to get yourself into this industry.
Weed-trimming is also one of the top jobs currently in the state of Colorado and often attracts people who would work other minimum wage levels.
9. Marijuana Courier – $19K to $35K+
Marijuana couriers aren’t the most common position as not every legal state has set up dispensaries that deliver. But those that do have found this to people a very popular method for people to get their cannabis – especially, those who use cannabis medicinally.
The perk of being a courier is your pay doesn’t revolve solely around your hourly wage. Many have found that people leave tips in the same fashion as you would to a pizza delivery driver.
Again, this is another entry-level job many people take in order to network.
8. Dispensary Receptionist – $20K to $37K
As another entry-level position, dispensary receptionists are usually responsible for the following:
- Answering phone calls
- Greeting customers
- Handling sales transactions
All dispensaries have a receptionist and their primary job is to verify the customers’ prescriptions, I.D., and eligibility for purchasing cannabis.
Again, this is another great way to get your name out there and/or move up through a specific company. As of this time, there are many notable names within the cannabis industry and if you can land yourself a receptionist position at one of these big names, it can be very rewarding in the long run.
7. Budtender – $21K to $43K+
A budtender needs to be an expert in cannabis as many customers will approach him/her as a means of finding the perfect strain for them.
Budtenders work behind the counter where the marijuana is displayed. They are required to know the various cannabis strains the dispensary has to offer along other various information, including:
- THC and CBD count
- How the cannabis might affect someone
- What the best consumption method is for an individual
A budtender position is extremely vital to the cannabis industry as a whole because in many regards, they’re educating the public. They’re helping people not only understand cannabis but how cannabis can benefit them.
6. Extraction Technician – $27K to $47K+
The cannabis extraction industry has also been growing and includes isolating THC and CBD for concentrated products, such has high-quality oils.
An extraction technician is required to operate equipment that allows throughout the extraction process and will usually work under a master extractor. This job will also require you to keep control of the laboratory inventory as well as keeping the area safe and clean.
An extraction technician position can be great for those who’ve recently graduated college with a science degree.
5. Dispensary Manager – $40K to $75K+
People who own dispensaries are aware of the importance of a good manager. Since the cannabis industry remains so new, many look for those who have experience in retail management – especially, high-end apparel stores.
The benefits of running a dispensary go beyond the other positions mentioned on this list so far and include:
- Health insurance
- Paid vactation time
If you’re able to land yourself a position as a dispensary manager, there’s a solid chance you’ll move up to bigger opportunities with six-figure salaries.
4. Edibles Chef – $40K to $90K+
If you have a degree in culinary and would like to take your expertise to the cannabis industry, there’s no better place to look than an edibles chef.
People in these positions are artists who are required to create a variety of delicious edibles infused with cannabis, including (but not limited to):
- Baked good (i.e. cookies, pastries)
3. Marijuana Tester/Quality-Control Inspector – $50K to $100K+
Health and safety are just as important in the cannabis industry as they are in the food industry. And, with that, there’s a necessity to hire people who can properly test the many cannabis products that appear on the market.
If you have a PhD or a degree in a scientific field such as biology, agronomy, chemistry, entomology, this may be an opportunity for you. Cannabis testers are responsible for inspecting and enforcing cannabis cultivation laws and regulations.
Though many cannabis inspectors work through a cannabis company, there are also opportunities through governmental departments and agencies.
2. Master Grower – $50K to $120K+
Growing the perfect cannabis isn’t an easy task. Never mind growing it on a large scale.
Becoming a master grower is without a doubt something that needs to be worked towards. People in this position have expertise in the following:
- Crop nutrition
- Pest management
- Grow-house technology
Since cannabis is still federally illegal, a master grower is also responsible for meeting compliance set by state and local governments.
However, the reward for this amount of work is no doubt worthwhile. People who become master growers often have experience in botany or horticulture and, of course, plenty of knowledge in cultivating cannabis.
1. Master Extractor – $80K to $250K+
A master extractor is rare to come by. People in this position are required to have a number of different expertise concerning the cannabis industry, including:
- How to properly extract exact amounts of THC and/or CBD
- Managing a laboratory facility
- Overseeing production of safety and effective concentrates
In order to become a master extractor, it’s pretty much required you have a PhD in biochemistry and much experience in engineering.
The cannabis industry is huge and there’s a lot of opportunities – both for those looking for an entry-level position and those who’ve been working towards a higher-paying salary.
As the industry continues to grow, it’s only natural more jobs will become available. And as the jobs appear, it may be in your best interest to get involved.
Those who’ve jumped on the wagon earlier on will find themselves having an easier ride once the entire country starts rolling with cannabis.
Still have questions about the cannabis job market?
We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have further information on the topic, we’d also love to hear from you.