If you are even considering a job in the cannabis industry, you’re at the right place. The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana continues to spread rapidly. Today, medical or recreational cannabis is legal in 33 states and Washington DC, representing 170 million Americans. It’s a smart decision to find a place in the legal marijuana business, which generated $13.6 billion in revenues in the U.S. alone in 2019, according to New Frontier Data.
There are a plethora of cannabis jobs, so it can be a bit daunting to figure out what sector of the space your skillset will be the most beneficial. And that’s why CannabizTeam decided to put together the ultimate guide to cannabis industry jobs. If you’re passionate about marijuana and CBD or just want to learn more about what jobs are out there, this guide will help you find your perfect role within the cannabis industry. We will cover the most popular cannabis jobs, so you can see the big picture and find your way into the cannabis space.
A Broad Spectrum of Job Types in Cannabis
Before we get into the meat of this guide, we’d like to note that this list may change and grow as time goes by. We can’t cover every single position, but we did highlight the most popular ones. So, grab a pen and notepad, start looking at the list, and take notes on cannabis job types that catch your eye.
Cannabis Cultivation Jobs
It all starts with growing cannabis plants. Farmers—in this case, cannabis farmers—make the world go round. Those with green thumbs are the talent needed to plant and nurture marijuana until it’s mature enough to use. If you’re knowledgeable or take an interest in learning how to grow cannabis or an expert at growing any other plant or crop, you may feel right at home in this sector. Let’s take a look at some of the popular cannabis cultivation jobs.
A cultivation director is responsible for ensuring the production of premium cannabis that’s compliant with state and federal laws. They quarterback the marijuana growing operation, setting the standard operating procedures, creating the harvesting schedules, planning pest control, and managing the team. A cultivation director’s primary goal is to lead their squad to produce potent, healthy marijuana, so we can all get on cloud nine without any turbulence. Experience in a commercial greenhouse environment and multi-tasking skills are a big plus for this position.
The key to a successful cannabis industry is healthy marijuana plants. A master grower manages the growth operations, including planting, crop nutrition, and pest control, ensuring that cannabis is safe. Additionally, the master grower will communicate with law enforcement and compliance inspectors to ensure everything is running smoothly. If you have a background in horticulture or botany, this role makes sense if you’re looking to go green.
If you want to make your way into marijuana growing, but you’re not sure where to start, the position of trimmer may be the best role to start with, out of all the cannabis cultivation jobs. This is the most common entry-level position in marijuana growing and farming. For that reason, it’s one of the most popular marijuana jobs in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and California. Trimmers have a variety of tasks, including removing buds carefully from harvested marijuana plants, trimming the leaves for aesthetic appeal, and drying the buds to get them ready for sale. A good trimmer should be quick, precise, and enjoy gardening duties if pursuing this role.
Lab and Extraction in the Cannabis Industry
After the marijuana plants are grown, harvested, and cut, a portion of the plant is sold as flower, and the rest (the “smalls”) are sent off to the lab to produce cannabis extracts, including oils and tincture. In industry speak, we call this extraction. Extraction is perfect for those who have a background in science and chemistry. Another part of this process that presents plenty of job opportunities is testing labs. All cannabis must be tested for microbes, solvents, pesticides, and other potentially harmful substances at a state-licensed cannabis laboratory before it can be sold as flower or turned into oils. Lab jobs include director of product development, lab manager, lab tech, tissue culture scientist, and director of extraction.
A lab director runs the post-harvest process, which includes performing a chemical analysis to determine the harvest time. They juggle a range of responsibilities, including managing lab technicians and other team members, making sure their facility is legally compliant, as well as running quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) procedures. Lab directors operate and maintain extraction machines, standard lab equipment, and vacuum ovens. Combining proven management skills and expertise in extraction techniques, this role is one of the most vital cannabis jobs out there.
The position of quality manager in cannabis is all about overseeing product testing, making sure the facility is following excellent production practices. A quality manager is responsible for reviewing and approving cannabis testing and processing methods, as well as investigating any complaints concerning the quality of the marijuana. If quality is compromised, the quality manager must take immediate action to identify and correct the error within the process. And they should also develop preventative measures to ensure the cannabis is safe for use.
If you’re looking to become a concentrates processor, you’ll need to possess skills in chemistry and incredible attention to detail to create safe concentrates, which include hash oils and dabs. Concentrates can have immense effects, making them highly beneficial to medical cannabis patients, yet they’re also used for recreational purposes. They’re getting more popular every day, so more and more concentrates processor roles will likely pop up.
In this space of the cannabis industry, marijuana and CBD products are packaged and prepared for sale. A variety of items are created and prepared for retail stores across the globe, including gummies, CBD tinctures, and vapes. Working in a cannabis manufacturing facility, you’ll have to keep up with rules and regulations, which change often. If you’re trying to enter this sector of cannabis, experience in manufacturing for any industry is a big plus.
VP of Manufacturing
As the VP of a cannabis manufacturing center, you’ll be responsible for making sure projects follow a strict timeline. You will also quarterback the product development of goods ordered. Additionally, it will be your job to ensure your team follows health and safety regulations every hour of the day. Depending on what company you land in, you may also be assisting with branding and packaging design.
Those who have a solid background in project or business management will feel comfortable in the role of a cannabis facility manager. The person in the hot seat for this job pledges to oversee the product and inventory team, making sure they’re on-point and adhere to the timeline. This ensures wholesale clients and dispensary customers get products right on time. If you enjoy handling budgets, operations, and scheduling, pursuing a facility manager position in the cannabis industry could be ideal.
There are no surprises here; a packager is responsible for packaging cannabis or cannabis-infused products neatly into containers, pre-rolled joints, bags, and more. Typically, this is an hourly position, and–like the trimming role–is a solid route into the cannabis industry. Learn about other roles within manufacturing and work your way up from the packager position when the time is right.
Are you a culinary artist? Well, if you enjoy baking (and getting baked), the position of edibles chef could be your dream job. This role requires a master of the kitchen to create tasty food items with marijuana extracts. You’ll need to learn how to infuse cannabis into a variety of items, including candy, baked treats, tea, and soda. Attention to detail is paramount, as each type of food or beverage product will require a precise dose.
Dispensary Jobs & Retail
There are 33 states where cannabis is legal for either adult or medical use. So, naturally, dispensaries are sprouting up all around the globe. If you enjoy helping others find the cannabis products they are looking for, or you’re passionate about marketing strategy and promotion, working in cannabis retail could be your thing. From vapes to edibles, to pre-rolls, and more, you’ll have a hand in connecting consumers to the variety of mind-elevating or pain-relieving cannabis/CBD products out there. Experience in retail or customer service will give you an edge.
VP of Retail
Any strategy for short or long-term goals for retail organization falls on the VP. This includes budgeting, annual sales plans, compliance, and expansion. The VP of retail is also responsible for managing profit and loss, as well as inventory. Those with a data-oriented and analytical mind could fill this role nicely. Experience in sales and management will give you a boost when being considered as a VP of cannabis retail.
In the role of general manager, you’ll be supervising all the activities of a dispensary, in addition to managing the budtenders and other staff. As a general manager for a cannabis dispensary, it’s your obligation to analyze the business and create effective action plans that bring forth results. If this is one of the cannabis dispensary jobs you’re considering, remember that leadership skills are pivotal to this position. You’ll need to coach and develop the associates at your dispensary, so you’ll have a high-performance team that can deliver.
Playing off the job title of “bartender,” a budtender needs to be personable like the mixologists at your favorite establishment. Thorough knowledge of cannabis goods is a must, as you will answer customer questions and make recommendations every day. You will be the customers’ number one source for making purchases during their time at the dispensary. So, you should also discuss any allergies or issues customers may have. If you have solid experience in sales or customer service, you’ll likely get the green light for a budtender position. Undoubtedly, the budtender role is one of the most popular dispensary jobs.
Courier and Delivery
Many dispensaries offer the convenience of delivery services, so there’s plenty of opportunities for couriers in the cannabis space. The medical marijuana community made the position popular. However, deliveries for recreational cannabis are becoming more common, leading to more cannabis courier jobs. Whether you’re riding a bicycle or driving a car to deliver quality cannabis, you should be punctual and personable. You’ll also have the opportunity to earn tips in this solid part-time or temp position.
Cannabis Industry Salary Guide
For further information on cannabis jobs and how much they pay, you can download our free 2021 National Cannabis Industry Salary Guide. Quick note: this is a living document and we’ll update it constantly to reflect new positions and salaries. As an example of the rapidly changing nature of this business, we expect at least a dozen new cannabis industry jobs to pop up in the CBD industry alone. However, the core 50+ positions listed in this year’s guide are likely to be here for years to come. Every business needs accountants, every lab needs lab technicians, and yes, every dispensary needs budtenders. Download our cannabis salary guide for an overview of the biggest and best cannabis industry jobs in the US cannabis and CBD industries.
There is a wide variety of cannabis jobs in the industry, so take the time to choose wisely. Look at your current resume and analyze the skills you possess to see what sector of the legal marijuana space matches well with your talent. We believe you can use your abilities and passion for cannabis to help the industry grow. If you need assistance finding an opportunity in this booming and blooming industry, don’t hesitate to reach out! Contact us today about job opportunities in cannabis at [email protected]. We can help you find your dream job in the industry.