A Career in Cannabis Means A Lot More than Smoking Pot
Photo by Dank Depot
Pursuing a career in the legal cannabis industry isn’t as farfetched as it used to be. In fact, Forbes predicts that the marijuana industry will create more than a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. If this prediction is true, that means that the United States will have more individuals employed in cannabis trades than manufacturing, utilities, or even government jobs. Now that puts things into perspective…
So if you’re on the fence about moving to a state where marijuana is legal to find a career in the weed business, the numbers are in your favor. However, don’t jump in the car, quit work, and leave tomorrow because you love smoking pot and want to make it your day job. While it can be tempting to drop everything and chase a dream because the industry is booming, it’s always smart to do some educated research and networking beforehand. Even though the jobs may sound great, they aren’t cut out for everyone.
Highest Paying Cannabis Careers
If making the big bucks is your main goal, PayScale names five top-paying cannabis careers that you can pursue. These include: store managers, cannabis sales representatives, dispensary owners, growers, and edibles chefs.
Store managers are responsible for managing a medical or recreational dispensary. They take on the responsibilities as any regular store manager would such as employee management, overseeing finances, and ensuring great customer service. They can make up to $75,000 a year with benefits. If the store is successful, they can receive added bonuses on top of the base salary.
The position as a cannabis sales representative is a lucrative one where knowledge about the constantly changing marijuana laws and products is necessary. It requires consistent industry research and good networking skills. Like most sales jobs, salary is based off commission; meaning that more sales puts more money in your pocket.
Being a dispensary owner is fairly equal to being a business owner. The big difference is that dispensary owners must be on point with constantly changing marijuana laws. Since some states are either medical, recreational, or both, it’s essential for store owners to go through a legal process to sell to these groups. If a dispensary is successful, these individuals can make upwards of $100,000 a year.
The most sought-after job in the cannabis industry is a grow master. These are the people who cultivate the cannabis, which is sold to dispensaries or stores. Even though everyone wants to grow, it’s one of the most difficult jobs out there that requires a lot of skill. If a grow master is successful, he or she can easily make over $100,000 a year.
The last top-paying job on the list is that of the edibles chef. This position pays around $50-100,000 a year, and requires careful dosing of marijuana-infused concentrates into edible goods. Past baking experience helps out a lot here.
Cannabis Careers for Beginners
Everyone wants to make more money, but the top-paying jobs in the marijuana business require a lot of time and hard work to get there. It’s safe to assume that successful individuals in those careers worked their way from the bottom to the top in some degree. If you’re looking to get your foot in the cannabis industry door, a few good jobs to check out are: trimmers, budtenders, and couriers for marijuana delivery. While these are lower paying entry-level jobs, they offer you an opportunity to get the feel for the cannabis industry and decide whether or not it’s something you really want to dive into.
Trimming is a tedious, but necessary process before the cannabis hits the dispensary shelves. It requires cutting and shaping of the flowers from the branches of the plant, which essentially cuts out all the unnecessary plant matter and makes the product look more appealing. If you’re a detail-oriented individual who doesn’t mind repetitive tasks, trimming could be the job for you.
Once the marijuana hits the dispensary after trimming and testing, a budtender will help customers choose the best product for their needs. Much like a bartender, these individuals must be knowledgeable of the dispensary’s product and be able to adequately educate customers.
As the demand for cannabis grows, the demand for dispensaries does as well. This means that dispensaries are popping up everywhere in states that have legalized marijuana. In order to compete, they must offer unique services such as delivery to make their business more appealing to the consumer. This creates a huge need for couriers to deliver marijuana to patients or individuals who aren’t able to get down to the dispensary.
Emerging Cannabis Industry Businesses
Aside from the highest paying and most basic jobs in the marijuana industry, there are other unique businesses emerging from the green rush as well. For example, Sheldon Owen created the Muncheez app, which provides cannabis consumers and patients with a directory of fully legal dispensaries, products, services and physicians. Unlike other similar services, Muncheez only features businesses that are legally licensed and carry lab-tested products that are safe for the consumer.
Owen was inspired to create the app because other apps or websites feature black market goods and services. This makes it difficult for consumers to research and find businesses and products that are legal, tested, organic, and safe. He sees the app being highly valuable to travelers in cannabis-legal areas where it’s currently difficult to hunt down high quality products.
Keeping Cannabis Legal
Being one of the first apps of its kind, Muncheez has it’s own patent-pending business scoring technology paired with a proprietary review process. Owen says that they will also have access to lab test results and strain data. Legal cannabis industry businesses can submit their business information to the app for free and have the option to upgrade for a small cost to feature more business information. His database already has over 20,000 businesses and he’s expecting this to grow exponentially as more states legalize marijuana.
Innovative technology paired with growing state government support for legalized marijuana makes the cannabis industry highly lucrative. From being a grow master to an innovative app designer, there’s a wide variety of careers to choose from and the list is only growing! What’s even better is the fact that you don’t necessarily need any past experience to be successful. Most skills and degrees are relevant and applicable in the cannabis job market. If you have a passion for marijuana, there could be a career out there for you that involves a lot more than just smoking pot.
Bree is an aspiring world travel blogger with a passion for exploring transformational music festivals across the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys camping in Idaho’s beautiful mountains and dreams of owning a Bengal adventure cat to accompany her on hikes and mountain trips.