Most people only think of marijuana in the plant form, however marijuana extracts are a growing side of the business, amounting to 40% of sales at some stores. These “extract artists” have a unique set of skills. Peterson said many of the people he hires for this job have PhD’s. They can earn between $75,000 and $125,000 a year. Some states don’t like the idea of people smoking pot for medical purposes and like the state of New York have only legalized medical marijuana in the extract form. While there are expensive machines that do the actual extraction, it requires a person with the knowledge and experience to make sure the product being delivered to a patient or customer is exactly what it is. Consistency and quality are the name of the game.
There are websites with cannabis job listings like Cannajobs and 420careers. Medical marijuana delivery company GreenRush held a job fair in California in April; 2,700 people attended and 200 jobs were filled. Another event is planned for November 10.
This is the entry level job working with the plant. It tends to be the lowest paid job in the industry — a bud trimmer in California may make $12-$13 an hour. In Vegas where service jobs are in high demand, $13 an hour is the general wage. Some get paid by the pound and that can run to $100-$200 a pound. In a medical dispensary, a trimmer takes the plant and with little scissors cuts the flower from the stem. It’s critical to only get what is needed and not waste any of the plant. Everything is separated and weighed. A tedious job for sure, but it beats working at McDonald’s, and it’s an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the business and work your way up.
Like any retail operation, a medical dispensary or recreational outlet needs a manager. These employees can do very well, especially in profitable stores. At minimum, they can earn $75,000 a year and many get a bonus on top of that based on the store’s sales. When you consider that some stores in California have sales of $3 million to $6 million a year, while some San Francsico Bay area stores do $7 million to $10 million a year, that bonus can be pretty good. Many get vacation pay and health insurance just like a traditional job. Managers can also climb the green ladder and end up overseeing several locations.
The marijuana industry is growing quickly and just as quickly gaining wider societal acceptance. As such, more people are looking at the cannabis industry as a career choice. Some of the jobs are little out of the ordinary, but that’s probably what draws many workers interested in cannabis jobs. Whether they worked with marijuana in the black market or just want an alternative to the standard cubicle job, thousands are trying to get in.
In this Oct. 1, 2015, file photo, employees of Amazon Organics, a pot dispensary in Eugene, Ore., . [+] help customers purchase recreational marijuana. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang, file)
The weed farmers most likely to garner significant salaries are the passionate, curious cannabis lovers and advocates who truly believe in their business. This is not an industry to get involved in solely for the prospective financial reward. Especially since so much time is spent researching and interacting with cannabis, it is essential to have respect and fascination for the plant and its medical and recreational uses.
This is perhaps the greatest difference between black market operations of yore and legal ones. Cannabis regulations are no joke and any grower who fails to follow protocol perfectly could be personally fined or jailed, as well as contributing to an entire grow operation being shut down.
Dry trimming is chosen when operations can afford to purchase a machine trimmer, which is more adept at the job than real people, who would likely have to spend more time fumbling around with the dry leaves. Even in situations where cultivators can afford machine trimmers, some choose to keep with standard protocol in order to create jobs for workers. While trimming may not offer one of the highest marijuana grower salaries, it’s a great place to start. See our Marijuana Bud Trimmer Salaries article for more specific information on cannabis trimming pay.
A professional marijuana dispensary story manage can make an annual salary of $60,000 – $150,000, depending on how profitable their store is. The national average salary for a dispensary manager is $75,000.
Master Grower Job Description
Marijuana grower salaries are awarded based on the hierarchy of cultivators employed in the operation. Grow masters are ultimately responsible for managing and caring for the entire grow operation and leading a group of assistant growers in maintaining the plants.
There is very little room for error in commercial grow operations, so companies don’t want to waste their time with novices or intermediate level employees when seeking a grow leader.
One thing that all serious cultivators looking to make high marijuana grower salaries know are the differences between cannabis strains. Strains can be broken down into three major categories and then further specialized into many individual strains. Each strain produces different effects that greatly influence the kind of high or medical treatment customers and patients experience.
In order to make significant marijuana grower salaries, cultivators must be confident in their ability to effectively transplant young cannabis plants from smaller containers into larger containers and other environments that allow them to grow vigorously and successfully meet maturity.
A bud trimmer can make an annual salary of $30,000 – $35,000 depending on which state they’re located in. The national average salary for a bud trimmer is $31,000.
Although jobs remain concentrated in cities, some states have more job opportunities than others. Here’s a quick overview of the number of people employed by the cannabis industry in the top 10 states based on 2020 statistics:
Cannabis Jobs in San Francisco
Back in 2019, Maine’s medical cannabis industry supported only 5 dispensaries and 400 full-time jobs. The opening of the adult-use dispensaries in October 2020 blew those numbers out of the water!
Hawaii Marijuana Jobs
Since medical cannabis sales began in 2018, Minnesota’s medical cannabis program has grown from a 2-dispensary system to a 13-dispensary system, creating cannabis job opportunities throughout the state. However, cannabis jobs are still in limited supply.