As medical and recreational marijuana becomes legal in more states, more and more people are wondering how to get a job in the marijuana industry. Now is the time to find out as this booming industry continues to grow. Consider it:
Medical marijuana use is common in 37 states and Washington, D.C. legal, and recreational use is legal in 17 states.
There are 7,490 marijuana dispensaries across the country, according to a 2021 study by security firm Kisi. (That's more than the country's 7,000 taco bells.)
In the past 12 months, the legal cannabis industry has created 33,700 new U.S. jobs, making it one of the fastest growing industries in America, according to the latest annual report from Leafly, a leading cannabis website.
Nationwide, the report found 243,700 full-time positions at cannabis companies in January 2020, compared to 122,800 in 2017.
Many cannabis company jobs are paid much better than restaurant or retail positions. In addition, some do not require years of experience or training. Many employers in the cannabis industry are young companies, open to hardworking employees who can grow with them.
Here's a look at the most sought-after marijuana jobs.
Alexander Karol, Senior Chemical Engineer at Knox Medical, conducts tests on C02-extracted cannabis oil to ensure the products meet high standards of purity. Photo courtesy Knox Medical
7 jobs in the legal marijuana industry
1. Main breeder / master breeder
Head Growers are responsible for plants, crops, and grow teams. You are expected to establish cultivation practices for the cannabis business and pursue plants throughout their lifecycle with the goal of creating the best possible product. The master grower is responsible for many factors that affect the health and value of a plant, such as nutrient intake, humidity, ventilation, temperature, light, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides.
Salary Range: $ 58,000 to $ 153,000.
Horticulture degree or equivalent degree often required
Several years of cultivation experience
Knowledge of plant nutrients, soil, cultivation technology, pest control and harvesting methods
Comprehensive knowledge of strains: sativa, indica and hybrids
Advanced knowledge of the cannabis plant, genetics and cloning
Some states may require a work permit
Some companies may require Master Grower certification
2. Edible cook
Edibles chefs create cannabis-infused foods and beverages for medical and recreational use for cannabis businesses. They usually have culinary training in addition to the local and state certifications required for marijuana jobs.
This career isn't as easy as sprinkling a few buds in brownie mix. An edible chef needs to create products with even amounts of marijuana per serving that deliver the promised effects. In addition, the products must taste good, look good, comply with legal requirements and be securely packaged.
Salary Range: $ 50,000 to over $ 100,000
Thorough understanding of marijuana strains and concentrates
Excellent cooking skills
Professional cooking and kitchen experience
3. Budtender / pharmacist
The Knox Medical Dispensary is located in the Ivanhoe Village neighborhood of Orlando, Florida. Photo courtesy Knox Medical
Budtenders, sometimes called dispensary agents, are the intermediaries between customers and retailers of medical marijuana. You need to know about a wide range of cannabis plants, medicinal uses, products, dosages, and methods of consumption.
This entry-level job is highly sought after because it helps cannabis industry workers get a foot in the door and learn skills for other marijuana jobs
Salary Range: $ 25,000 to $ 85,000
Excellent customer service skills
Thorough understanding of marijuana strains and products
Clean criminal record
Ability to build trust and relationship with customers
4. Bud trimmer
Marijuana plants are like many other plants; they grow best when properly trimmed and manicured.
A trimmer takes care of the cannabis flower buds on the plant and cuts and weighs them when they are ready for sale. Trimmers often spend long hours pruning flowers for maximum bag attractiveness. Trimmers may experience downtime when they can learn other aspects of the business, such as: B. Employment, growth or completing paperwork.
Bud Trimmer is also an entry-level job and a great way to learn about different strains of marijuana plants and how to grow them.
Salary Range: $ 23,000 to $ 46,000
Trimming accuracy and consistency
Understanding marijuana plants and varieties
Ability to weigh and measure accurately
5. Extraction engineer
Cannabis-derived concentrates are another growing market within the legal cannabis industry.
Extraction managers remove the valuable compounds from the plant and produce a number of types of concentrates, including distillate oil for edibles and terpene sauce for cannabis connoisseurs. They prepare the plant for extraction and operate ultra-modern plants. They also keep strict records of all plants, chemicals, and equipment used in the laboratory.
Salary Range: $ 29,000 to $ 80,000
Most of these positions at a cannabis company require two or more years of experience with extraction in a laboratory, preferably with cannabis, pharmaceutical or nutraceutical products.
B. S. Degree in organic or inorganic chemistry or a related subject.
6. Compliance manager of the cannabis company
Compliance is critical to ensuring that cannabis companies comply with all laws and protocols.
Typical duties include overseeing state and local regulations, developing and maintaining records, policies, and procedures to ensure that there are no illegal or unprofessional conduct among employees.
Compliance managers also conduct regular scheduled audits of inventory, finance, and facility operations for cannabis companies.
Salary Range: $ 23,500 to $ 128,000
At least 1-3 years of compliance experience in a highly regulated industry.
Specific experience in growing / manufacturing cannabis is strongly preferred.
Experience with seed-to-sale software programs (BioTrack, METRC, MJ Freeway, etc.) required.
Experience leading inspections and executing corrective action plans.
7. Business-to-business salespeople
You may have sales experience that you can use in a cannabis company. Sales reps call on new prospects and existing customers to highlight one grower's products over recreational and medical pharmacies and to differentiate the products from others. You will identify potential customers, build relationships, set sales goals, monitor competition, create sales materials, and conduct live presentations.
Salary Range: $ 35,000 to $ 60,000 plus commission
At least six months to one year of cannabis industry sales preferred, not required
A proven track record in business-to-business sales for at least one to two years
Excellent knowledge of cannabis and cannabis-related goods
Excellent interpersonal skills
Bachelor's degree desirable, not mandatory
There are several online sources that offer cannabis training required for certifications that may be required for some of these jobs.
Completing paid training programs for entry-level jobs in the legal marijuana industry may or may not affect your employability. Before you spend money to take a class on something you can learn for free on the job, do your homework.
Katherine Snow Smith is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder. Former employee Lisa McGreevy contributed to this report.
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