Cannabis: A Booming Employment Opportunity

By Marieval Yebra

Forget about the days when the average “employee” in the marijuana industry was your average joe. No more grow-your-own books from the local head shop, in order for us to grow the “bomb” bud that was far from legal. These days, marijuana is a booming empire. There are now chain dispensaries in almost every state that allow marijuana for medical and or recreational use. With the booming medical marijuana industry that is becoming more mainstream since the legalization of recreational pot use in the recent years, there are more employment opportunities that are being created that have to do with the cultivation and engineering of this most amazing medical marvel.

Just like with any job market, there are entry-level positions and your more high-tech advanced bachelor degree position, and this market is really no different. Most us know someone that is or was involved with the marijuana industry at one point, and more than likely they were not the holders of a bachelors degree in botany or a Ph.D. in biochemistry, but these days that’s all changed. Again, there are the entry-level positions, that need little training and pay a little more than minimum wage, and then the high-paying employment opportunities that pay more than $100,000 a year. Can you believe that? A job in the marijuana industry pays more than $100,000 a year, and it’s completely legal. This is such a huge turning point in the marijuana empire.

According to a former marketing manager for a Las Vegas dispensary, bud trimmers make an average between $8 to $12 an hour, and it takes about “..10 minutes to train someone to do it properly. It takes an hour to get proficient.” Then there are budtenders who make around $14 an hour, though this job requires an in-depth knowledge of cannabis strains as well as the products that the dispensaries are selling. They also have to have customer service skills to be able to talk to customers on a one-on-one basis. Believe me, this is really important – if one thing ruins a trip to a dispensary it’s definitely a rude budtender.

Entry-level jobs may not look like they pay a whole lot, but compared to the regular every day minimum wage job it is a significant increase in wages, which is pretty great, especially when it comes to a job market that most people deem as taboo.

Now, I was skeptical when I heard about the high paying jobs in the marijuana industry that didn’t include owning a dispensary or supplying the dispensary with their needed product until I read about the recent employment opportunities in botany, biochemistry, and engineering that were suddenly becoming part of the medicinal marijuana employment boom. (I have a son that is getting ready to look at chemistry and engineering programs for college in the coming years.)

Needless to say, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it.

According to recent news, the greatest demand when it comes to hemp/marijuana-based jobs is the job of the master extractor. The job of the master extractor is to process the active components in CBD and THC from cannabis and or hemp to make oils, edibles and pretty much any other product that one sells. And as most of us know, that list of products can be lengthy. Yes, the demands of this job seem high, but the pay is also pretty good, coming in about $200,000 a year. That is a pretty great nest egg, but first, you must meet the expected requirements when it comes to education, and that itself is no small task, especially since it requires a Ph.D. in biochemistry with a background in engineering.

If master extractor seems a little too overwhelming, there are other pretty good high paying jobs within the marijuana industry, such as lab directors and master growers, but be ready to have degrees in pharmacology, botany, and chemistry. These jobs though can also provide top dollar when it comes to wages, with master growers ranking in at anywhere between $120,000 to $200,000 a year, and entry-level positions paying anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000 year.

Apparently, it does pay off big time to get your degree in botany, chemistry or engineering. Bazinga to you Sheldon Cooper. Seriously though, if you are interested in pursuing a job within the marijuana industry, why not make it a career? Forget the days when working with marijuana was for someone with no direction, now it seems to be one of the best directions one can go. Not only can one make great money doing it but the contributions made to science that come from exploring marijuana and all its great possibilities could be life-changing, instead of the normal mind-altering effect that it is synonymous with.


Featured photo via Florida Cannabis Coalition.