There is absolutely zero doubt that the marijuana industry is booming, and its growth is escalating at an even faster rate than you think. According to a report by New Frontier Data in 2017, the legal marijuana industry could have more job opportunities than the manufacturing industry by 2020!
Bear in mind that this report was drawn up before full legalization in the state of California, and several other states have joined the party since. At the time of writing, 33 states plus D.C. have legalized medicinal marijuana; 10 of these states (along with D.C.) have legalized the herb for recreational use.
Therefore, it is hardly a stretch to say that the marijuana industry could actually exceed what seemed like lofty growth predictions just 18 months ago. It could be worth $57 billion by 2028, and there were 250,000 full-time or part-time jobs in the sector by the middle of 2018. In 2017, job postings in the sector increased by over 400% – that’s some increase on the previous year’s growth of just 18%!
In other words, the future is green, and in this guide, we outline five of the best positions in the cannabis industry. If you believe you have what it takes, you had better start applying because these vacancies are going to vanish in a heartbeat!
1 – Grow Master
The role of Grow Master is arguably one of the most coveted in the entire cannabis industry. In this job, you are tasked with cultivating different marijuana strains. In many ways, it is analogous to working as a world-class head chef. We have read that Grow Masters could expect to earn at least $100,000 per annum and a share of the profit.
Up until recently, the best Grow Masters came from California because they were given the time to grow their reputation and develop their skills. Remember, the Golden State was the very first to legalize medical marijuana. However, now that dozens of states have legalized the herb, it will be possible to find master growers in places such as Colorado.
2 – Extraction Technicians
When the sector was in its infancy, the vast majority of people associated cannabis with its dry herb form. However, extracts and concentrates now make up almost half of the market in some stores. Also known as ‘concentrate makers,’ Extraction Technicians take cannabis plants and turn them into oils, hashish, and other concentrates. You need only apply if you are known for your attention to detail.
As you might expect, you can’t walk in off the street and get this job. Extraction Technicians may need a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Natural Sciences, or a related field. However, some firms will only hire people with PhDs! If you are qualified and ready, you can earn up to $125,000 a year.
In some states, marijuana is only legal in extract form. Although there are sophisticated machines that perform the extraction process, a company needs an individual with the skills and experience to ensure that the products being delivered are up to scratch.
3 – Edibles Chef
This is an interesting role that involves a lot more than simply using weed for baking. As an Edibles Chef, you are not only responsible for creating all manner of cannabis-infused foods; you must also ensure that marijuana concentrate is added in precise doses to attain specific effects.
While a background in cooking is extremely helpful, the most important qualification is detailed knowledge of weed. Remember, you have to measure everything with precision for the sake of safety. Then there is the small matter of knowledge of state and municipal cannabis codes, which change like the weather. As an Edibles Chef, you can earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per annum.
4 – Store Manager
In this role, you are overseeing the everyday operations of a cannabis dispensary. Your responsibilities include communicating with vendors and the police, dealing with product returns, and managing inventory. As a Store Manager, you must also hire, fire, train, and manage budtenders.
Although a Bachelor’s Degree is preferred by many employers, you may get the job if you have a High School Diploma. Your chances will be enhanced by experience selling retail or luxury goods. The rate of pay is wide ranging and depends on how big the company is. You can expect a minimum of $60,000 per annum, but that rate could rise to as high as $150,000.
5 – Dispensary Owner
When it comes to selling marijuana, why not get in on the ground floor? Rather than hanging around street corners trying to sell dime bags to people, you will have a legitimate store as long as you live in a state where weed is legal. Remember, the law varies depending on where you live, and as it changes so often, you need to keep abreast of developing situations or risk falling foul of the law.
On the one hand, you are in possession of a role that could bring you a fortune as the cannabis industry continues to grow. However, being a Dispensary Owner is extremely hard work. First and foremost, you have to ensure the store is being well-run each day, which means finding a Store Manager you can trust.
Then there are the legal and banking headaches to contend with. While weed is becoming legal across the United States, it is still federally illegal which means many banks don’t associate with businesses in the marijuana industry. As a result, it is possible that you will have large sums of money on the premises, making you a prime target for thieves.
Remember, you also don’t get to make the same business deductions enjoyed by owners of companies in other sectors. You may have to front a seven-figure sum before your dispensary starts showing a profit. However, if you have the knowledge and work ethic and are prepared to take a financial risk, the potential reward is incredible.
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Industry Jobs
In case you’re wondering why the role of Budtender is not on the list, it’s because the role is an entry-level one. Depending on where you work, you may make $12-$13 per hour. Some firms pay their Budtenders per pound, so you might earn $100+ a pound.
You will work in a dispensary and cut the flower from the stem using a small pair of scissors. As a Budtender, you need to learn the right cutting technique to ensure that nothing important is wasted. Next, you have to separate and weigh everything. It is a tedious role, but on the plus side, you have the chance to perhaps one day climb up the career ladder.
As an industry, the cannabis sector is very much coming “out of the darkness, into the light.” There are even websites such as Cannajobs and 420careers specifically designed for posting marijuana industry roles. A recent report by ArcView Market Research, which suggested that the industry will have 414,000 jobs by 2021, is now looking pessimistic.
The removal of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is the latest in a long line of boosts for marijuana. Although it will be a long time before the herb is finally made federally legal as a medicine, the industry is going to continue growing, and an increase in job opportunities is an obvious beneficial effect.