Ready for a career change? Eager to step out into the work world? Maybe you want to work in the cannabis industry because of your interests and love for the plant.
No matter the reason you came here to learn about cannabis industry jobs, rest assured the demand is high and opportunities abound. Join us as we explore the cannabis industry marketplace growth and 24 awesome cannabis jobs.
Countries Throughout the World Join the “Green Rush”
Acceptance of recreational and medical marijuana is exploding!
Decriminalization of cannabis is growing faster than the cannabis plants themselves.
Seriously, people love their weed so much that the supply was not enough to meet the immediate demands of the nation of Canada after its historic October 17 end to prohibition. This same phenomenon occurred in Uruguay immediately following its legalization of medical and recreational marijuana on all fronts.
What are the numbers to illustrate this green rush? As mentioned above, Canada and Uruguay have now fully legalized recreational sale, consumption, and cultivation.
Go State-side and you will find that ten U.S. states and the District of Columbia have also legalized recreational cannabis, even though it remains illegal on the federal level (don’t even try to make sense of this paradox – you can’t). To boot, the United States now has 33 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Other cannabis decriminalization and legalization laws exist throughout the nations with variations in whether medical or recreational marijuana is permitted and in what circumstances. See the map below for more information:
What does this cannabis industry peak mean for struggling economy in North America?
Money. Revenue. Income. Profit.
Data derived from the U.S. Cannabis Report by New Frontier reported that the legal market for cannabis is growing heady strong and fast with more than $8 billion total cannabis sales in 2017 alone. Industry experts project this number will swell to $24 billion in 2025. Retail sales of cannabis have contributed $745 million in state tax revenues with the potential to amount to $2.3 billion in 2020.
As the industry grows, so does the weed, oh and the job market. Tremendously.
On the horizon, so many cannabis jobs will become available in the next few years in addition to the ones already in action or waiting to be filled (by you, of course). Curious as to what types of jobs these are and how much you could earn? Keep reading this comprehensive guide on cannabis industry jobs to find out!
5 Points to Consider When Searching for a Job in the Cannabis Industry
Should you pursue a formal education in cannabis? Can you work in the industry even if you do not consume cannabis? How can you stay competitive in the field? Where does your previous work experience fit into the marijuana marketplace?
We must explore all of these vital questions before you even begin your cannabis job search. With an estimated 80,000 jobs that will open up during the next half of a decade or so and an approximate 400,000 new jobs created by 2021 – you need to prepare yourself on what to expect if you are interested in working in the field. Learn more about this topic by checking out our previous blog titled 7 Tips to Land Cannabis Industry Jobs You Love.
#1. Competition is tight! Maintain an Edge on Your Colleagues
Don’t underestimate the power of weed. Seriously.
Just because this is an up-and-coming industry and cannabis consumers sometimes have the unjust reputation for being lazy or burned out, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the development of this booming industry.
Long gone are the days where being a smoker would qualify you for a position working with cannabis. Personal experience with cannabis is not at all necessary (see #3.)
Because experts suggest that more people are interested in working in the cannabis industry than there are jobs available, you need to sharpen your skills and broaden your scope of knowledge to compete with others who are after the same jobs.
#2. Consider Investing in Cannabis Education
Before you shrug this point off, stop. Take it in. This surge of employment in the cannabis sector has spawned the creation of various online and on-site learning programs which teach cannabis topics from cultivation to confectionary and everything in between.
Even if you are a veteran weed consumer, you can be sure that discoveries and technology for dabbing, micro-dosing, etc. will continue to emerge. Stay on your toes and make the right investments for your future.
#3. You Don’t Have to Consume Cannabis to Work in the Field
Product knowledge, (especially for those working directly with patients or as budtenders) is necessary. First-hand experience is not. Many sectors of the marijuana job market will require familiarity with the various strains and consumption methods, but you can learn this information quickly.
Interestingly, having experience in any green industry, such as solar power, for instance, is an excellent background for diving headfirst into this rapidly expanding field. Scaling at this historical rate is a huge endeavor and managers are looking for flexible and versatile employees ready to hit the ground running and maintain that same pace to continue the race (hey, that rhymed!). Managing or working with a startup company would also provide this type of experience companies are looking for.
#4. Match Up Your Past Experience and Skills to a Sector of the Cannabis Industry
If you think the only jobs in the marijuana market are those working in headshops or dispensaries, think again. There are multiple significant areas of cannabis jobs you should consider, including:
- Product development
- Software development
- B2B sales
Many come into this market unsure exactly where they fit in. Consider these general job sectors when you evaluate your experience to determine where you should start looking.
A great example of this crossover would be employees who have experience working in customer services such as hospitality, retail or restaurants often make ideal professionals who work at marijuana dispensaries. You may also be surprised to learn that these customer-facing positions garner good wages for the retail sector, especially if you have a high level of knowledge about the various products, etc. (see #2.)
Are you techy? Do you have experience working in a lab or scientific industry? The demand for cannabis edibles has opened up doors for people who previously worked in these types of positions to create cannabis-infused food products which include everything from brownies to pizza.
In addition to cannabis culinary masterpieces, products containing concentrated oils and other forms of cannabis are flying off the shelves. From bath bombs to body butter, soaps and more, someone needs to create these cannabis-infused goodies (which might as well be you!)
#5. Maintain a High-Level of Professionalism
Don’t. Act. Like. A. Stoner. Just don’t. No.
You know the exact type I am talking about too, cannabis users who talk slower and play the role of the ultimate stoner. The industry is already flooded with people who feel they need to imitate Cheech and Chong to work with weed. Trust me; employers are not looking for this image to represent their businesses.
You want to stand out of the pack. To be noticed. More importantly, to be remembered.
Legalized cannabis is changing the stigma and reputation of the plant. Managers hiring people to fill cannabis jobs are looking for people who challenge that typical “stoner” image associated with burnout and ditz.
Perhaps the most crucial factor to consider when it comes to your professionality is the fact that companies who sell or process cannabis have many laws and regulations they must abide by. Therefore, it gives a better impression of the business to have clean-cut, respectable faces at the forefront.
24 Top Cannabis Industry Jobs and What They Pay
Whether you have a little bit of experience, a ton of experience, or none at all – you will find cannabis industry jobs suited for you. High-end credentials and specific skill sets are required for some of the following positions. Bear in mind that some jobs in the cannabis industry require a specific state license, permit, or badge to work directly with cannabis or its derivatives, especially when it comes to medical marijuana (MMJ) jobs.
How much will you earn at your new cannabis job?
Salary estimates are listed below and based on full-time work. Trade Schools conducted an extensive review of online job boards and other sources of hard data on cannabis job wages to determine the most accurate market information.
#1. Accountant (Annual Earnings: 42K to 121K+)
With all the sweet moolah being made by the cannabis industry, who is going to manage the financial side of the business? Cannabis accounting services. That’s who.
Larger companies in the cannabis industry require an accountant when it comes to managing payables, receivables, and different payroll activities.
Because of the high scrutiny that comes from regulators, cannabis ventures direly need accountants who can accurately track and organize financial records. Furthermore, unique challenges faced by this industry, such as managing finances, obtaining credit, handling taxes, etc. require the expertise of seasoned accountants.
#2. Edibles Chef (Annual Earnings: $40K to $90K+)
Do you have a background in the culinary arts? Perhaps you have worked in the restaurant industry or taken some formal chef training, either way, plenty of job opportunities creating cannabis edibles await.
People love cannabis edibles and companies that produce them need to find skilled pastry artists and chefs who can develop, create, and oversee the production of various cannabis-infused food items. Typical foods combined with cannabis, include:
- Baked goods
#3. Web Developer (Annual Earnings: $35K to $120K+)
As we go into 2019, a rule of thumb for practically any business is to have a dynamic and engaging website. Creative and talented web designers have bountiful opportunities to design and build websites for cannabis ventures.
#4. Digital Media Manager (Average Earnings: $32K t0 $111K+)
A dynamic role indeed, a digital media manager makes effective use of social media, email, customized apps, and other web-based tools to market and interact with current and potential customers. A vital role for any cannabis company’s digital marketing strategy, this job can be a lot of fun. If you choose to pursue a career as a digital media manager for a cannabis company, ideal educational paths include:
- Internet marketing
- Media design
#5. Master Extractor (Average Earnings: $80K to $250K+)
If you’re gauging your interest in cannabis industry jobs based on potential earnings, you should know that the salary of a master extractor is going to be hard to top. Why? Extracting the purest forms of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) requires a unique combination of specialization and expertise very few people have (hence the high pay rate).
A master extractor is responsible for the oversight of the processes used to produce high-quality and effective oils and concentrates. Employees that work under the supervision of this person are known as extraction technicians.
Additionally, master extractors must manage and maintain laboratory facilities that comply with current laws and regulations in the marijuana industry. Generally speaking, you should have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and experience in engineering to land this type of position.
#6. Master Grower (Annual Earnings: $50K to $120K+)
Cannabis. Without it, there would be no marijuana industry at all (ok, I suppose that is quite obvious). Thus, it’s vital that skilled professionals are placed in charge of large grow operations to meet the demand for marijuana (or least try to match the massive demand).
While not equating quite to the salary of a master extractor, nonetheless with $120K per year being on the high end of average for this type of job, being a master grower is also one of the highest-paying cannabis jobs you’ll find.
Cultivation is a science. It’s not as simple as putting some seeds in the ground and waiting. Factors that need to be managed by a master cannabis grower include:
- Crop nutrition
- Grow-house technology
- Pest management
Interactions with compliance inspectors and law enforcement are integral communications required by positions such as these. Master growers who perform their job well often receive attractive bonuses and profit sharing on top of a substantial salary. If you want to land a position as a master grower, you ideally need a background in horticulture or botany and cultivation experience.
#7. Marijuana Courier (Average Earnings: $19K to $35K+)
Just as a pizza delivery person brings pies to the homes of customers, as does a cannabis courier (only they deliver weed – woohoo!) If you enjoy a job that keeps you physically active, many of these cannabis delivery positions exist within cities and can be done by riding a bicycle, although vehicle delivery is more common. A combination of commission, tips, and salary comprise the earnings of a marijuana courier.
#8. Marijuana or Edibles Packager (Annual Earnings: $17K to $40K+)
If you are looking for an entry-level position to get your foot in the door of the cannabis industry, applying for a position as a marijuana or edibles packager is a great place to start. Job requirements are quite minimal and the position consists of safely and efficiently packaging products infused with cannabis or cannabis itself to make the products ready for sales and distribution.
#9. Marijuana Tester or Quality-Control Inspector (Annual Earnings: $50K to $100K+)
A person in this position may work for government departments, agencies, or cannabis companies. The sole responsibility of a marijuana tester (also known as a quality control inspector) is to be sure that all products are in complete compliance with health, potency, and safety standards. When this type of cannabis professional works within the cultivation sector, they may be in charge of enforcing laws and regulations applicable to growing marijuana, namely regarding the use of nutrients and pesticides. Often this type of cannabis job requires a Ph.D. in a relevant field of science, such as:
#10. Budtender (Annual Earnings: $21K to $40K+)
Do you have a knack for customer service? Have you ever worked as a server in the past? As a budtender, you work at a dispensary and help people choose the type of cannabis most suited for their desired purpose of consumption. As any restaurant pro will tell you, the position requires optimal people-pleasing (customer service ), listening, and sales skills.
In addition to a smiling face and a friendly attitude, a base of knowledge is required so that you understand basic cannabis knowledge such as:
- Differences between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains
- How different levels of CBD and THC may affect people
- Common ailments treated with cannabis and which strains work best for particular needs
As the name implies, this position can be quite similar to bartending (minus the bitter chair-throwing bar fights of course), and customers often choose their preferred dispensary based on the rapport built with the budtenders. Tips are earned on top of generous hourly pay for budtenders.
#11. Dispensary Manager (Annual Earnings: $40K to $75K+)
When most people think about the commercial cannabis legal sales industry, dispensaries are probably the first type of establishment that comes to mind. This perception is spot-on because dispensaries comprise a large portion of the entire legal marijuana industry.
No different than a store really, cannabis dispensaries are retail locations that require the oversight of good managers. In fact, a recent trend involves companies recruiting highly-experienced retail managers from apparel stores and retail outlets.
Some cannabis dispensaries are strictly in operation for the sale and distribution of medical marijuana flowers and other products. When it comes to these types of roles, it’s not uncommon for companies to seek out professionals who have backgrounds in pharmacology or medical fields.
Substantial pay awaits dispensary managers, who typically receive a generous salary in addition to health insurance, bonuses, paid vacation and sick time. A career such as this can easily pave the path for advancement and new opportunities that boast a six-figure salary and the responsibility of overseeing several stores.
#12. IT Manager (Annual Earnings: $82K to $208K+)
Many companies in the cannabis industry take advantage of the tools available in our digital age to help smoothly and efficiently run their operations. Every cannabis company has access to a complete arsenal of digital tools, including:
- Sophisticated growing tech systems
- Sales and analytics tracking software
- Electronic employee time clocks and work tracking portals
By using such IT, companies have opportunities to get an edge on the competition and tactfully implement marketing strategies based on analytics. Furthermore, technology can also help companies meet governmental compliance issues.
What happens when a company becomes dependent on a digital tool and it goes down? That’s where the IT manager comes into play. In short, the IT manager is responsible for the implementation, procurement, and maintenance of said technology.
#13. Lawyer (Annual Earnings: $57K to $208K+)
Rules. Regulations. Laws. Compliance. Running a cannabis business certainly comes with a significant amount of risks and tricky legal responsibilities.
Considering these legal ramifications instituted by changing laws and contradictions at the state and federal levels, cannabis companies need to have a source of solid legal advice. Furthermore, advocacy organizations may need help drafting legislation or objecting to federal and state prohibitions.
#14. Graphic Designer (Annual Earnings: $28K to $82K+)
Marijuana brands and companies rely on a solid visual presentation to promote their businesses. Right now, the cannabis industry is actively employing a large pool of graphic designers who know how to create websites, logos, product labels and other marketing materials that are:
#15. Real Estate Agent (Annual Earnings: 42K to $113K+)
Building codes. City permits. Laws and ordinances. Construction of cannabis businesses requires careful compliance with various regulations. The process can be complicated, and real estate agents who specialize in the cannabis industry can help find buildings and property, which can keep the company on legal grounds.
#16. Electrician (Annual Earnings: $32K to $90K+)
Cannabis specialized electricians are growing in demand because grow operations require precise lighting and electrical needs.
#17. HVAC Technician (Annual Earnings: $28K to $73K+)
Tradespeople who specialize in the heating, ventilation and cooling aspects of a building are in demand in the cannabis industry because of the regulations that come with retail and cultivation locations.
#18. Security Guard (Annual Earnings: $19K to $47K+)
Many factors are in play that affect the security of cannabis company locations and businesses. The main risk factor is that because of the value of marijuana, locations such as grow houses and dispensaries, are prime targets for thieves. Therefore, cannabis companies are actively seeking out and hiring security guards to protect their investments.
#19. Dispensary Receptionist or Cashier (Annual Earnings: $20K to $37K+)
People are hired to work at the front-end of cannabis dispensaries in order to greet customers, handle final sales transactions, and answer phone calls. In settings that deal with medical marijuana, the receptionist usually checks out prescription information, eligibility, and identification.
#20. Trimmer, Harvester, or Cultivator (Annual Earnings: $17K to $41K+)
If you have spent any amount of time searching for jobs in the cannabis industry, you may have already realized that weed-trimming positions are the most common opportunities when it comes to entry-level cannabis jobs. Carefully, weed trimmers remove the buds from harvested plants and aesthetically cut the largest leaves to help complement the appearance of the marijuana plant (if you ask me, this process is truly a fine art).
Skills needed to be a successful trimmer include:
- Having a strategized approach to minimize waste
Harvesting and cultivation jobs at the entry level are quite similar to trimming positions. These professionals assist the growers to take care of the crops in a grow house or a farm. If you are someone with a green thumb and natural love for gardening or landscaping, this would be the perfect cannabis sector for you.
#21. Marketing Director (Annual Earnings: $67K to $208K+)
A cornerstone figure in every marketing team, the marketing director, is an employee all marijuana companies need to plan, implement, develop, and launch a cannabis brand strategy. Responsibilities of the marketing director include:
- Market research
- Customer engagement
- Public relations
Many specialties work under the oversight and guidance of the marketing director to help achieve long and short-term goals. Writers and software developers are commonly sought after by the marketing director to work in coordination to successfully carry out an effective digital marketing strategy.
#22. Human Resource Manager (Annual Earnings: $63K to $194K+)
Every kind of cannabis business has one thing in common – they need staff to operate. As the booming cannabis industry continues to grow, as does the competition for new, energetic, and motivated employees.
Many of these young cannabis industry professionals move on to another position for the sake of higher compensation and better benefits. It’s up to the human resources manager to ensure salary, benefits, and the dynamics of the workplace are desirable to maintain staff retention as much as possible.
#23. Production Manager (Annual Earnings: $59K to $165K+)
Management of the entire cannabis production process, starting with the planting of a seed down to the closing of a sale, requires keen insight and adequate oversight. Professionals who have a background in project or business management are highly sought after by marijuana companies to help:
- Set and adhere to a budget
- Monitor business operations
- Ensure milestones are met on time
#24. Sales Representative (Annual Earnings: $28K to $161K+)
Marijuana cultivators and the manufacturers of cannabis edibles and other infused products need to connect with the dispensaries who make the sales. Cannabis sales representatives serve at the bridge that connects the suppliers to the stores that sell their products.
B2B experience is a huge plus if you are after a position as a sales rep in the cannabis industry because it would be your job to strike deals between the buyers and the growers to ensure all parties agree on fair prices for their goods in accordance with industry regulations.