9 Most In-Demand Cannabis Jobs

As an emerging legal industry, cannabis has created hundreds of thousands of new jobs across the nation. For many years the opportunities were few and far between and mostly limited to the West Coast. Now, as more states shift toward legalization we are beginning to see higher demand for new jobs throughout the Midwest and the East Coast. As companies grow, the demand for skilled professionals has continued to rise. As the new 2020 Salary Guide released by Cannabiz Team shows, this demand has already resulted in a more robust market in jobs and opportunities with good salaries, as companies are always actively searching for individuals with the right talents and experience to make their brand successful. 

According to analysis from the 2021 MJBizFactbook, the marijuana industry will employ 340,000-415,000 full-time equivalent workers across the United States in 2021 and grow to 545,000-600,000 by 2025. Despite the pandemic, an economic recession, and unemployment spikes, the legal cannabis industry has seen exponential growth. 

Here are some of the most in-demand cannabis jobs across the U.S.:

Cannabis Jobs: Budtender/Dispensary Agent ($35,000-$42,000)

The most popular entry-level cannabis career is the role of a budtender. Typically, budtenders work behind the counter of a cannabis dispensary; as the face of the business, and help guide customers towards the best cannabis options for them. This role is suited for product specialists that have a keen eye for top quality products, are sales-oriented, and driven by customer-service.

Budtender positions are highly competitive in the workforce, receiving hundreds of resume submissions daily. To get an interview you will need to stand out – Here are a few skills that may help you land a budtender role:

Cannabis Jobs: Delivery Driver ($37,000-$60,000)

There is a huge demand for cannabis delivery drivers as retailers and brands start to offer delivery services. In the cannabis industry drivers can work for the licensed retailer, extractor, or cultivator. Which means, there are plenty of sectors for job opportunities. 

You must have a clean driving record to be considered for a cannabis delivery driver position. Additionally, some states might also require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or a Chauffeur’s license. Some skills that would be beneficial for this position include:

  • Experience with cash handling procedures
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Experience as a delivery or service driver (Uber, Lyft, etc.)

Cannabis Jobs: Trimmer ($35,000-$41,000)

If you’re passionate about cannabis cultivation and don’t mind getting a little dirty, the role of trimmer could be right up your alley. An ideal trimmer will need to know the intricacies of pruning the cannabis plant without harming it. 

The role of the trimmer is one of the more competitive jobs, as they are essential to any cannabis cultivation facility. Historically, the trimmer position was a seasonal job. Now, more cultivation facilities are starting to hire part-time to full-time positions as they expand. Trimmers take care of equipment maintenance, sanitation and execute correct manicuring and storing procedures. Here are some of the skills and experiences needed to help you land a trimmer position:

  • Prior cultivation experience
  • Experience in a fast-paced environment
  • Strong attention to detail 

Cannabis Jobs: Cannabis Extraction Technician ($39,000-$61,000)

There are various extraction methods cannabis growers use to remove essential cannabinoids. Cannabis extraction technicians will create concentrates in wax, tinctures, oils, or topical lotions. To apply for this position you will need to be well seasoned in several extraction techniques. 

With hemp becoming nationally legal, it’s more common to find extraction technicians jobs across the nation. Although, this isn’t your typical entry-level cannabis job, those who love science and have experience in chemistry will fit right in.

Check out some general requirements for this role:

  • Extraction purification and analysis experience
  • Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree in chemistry (preferred)
  • 1+ years of experience in extraction 

Cannabis Jobs: Marketing Manager ($48,000-$78,000)

Today, marketing plays a significant factor in any space and cannabis is no different. From e-commerce and delivery services to retail storefronts and CPG. There are plenty of entry-level marketing specialist roles you can pursue if you have some experience. Just remember, since cannabis is still federally illegal each state has its own set of regulations for marketing and advertising. Typical areas of expertise include search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, retail marketing, CPG, e-commerce, branding, advertising, photography, social media management, or graphic design. Cannabis marketers are always thinking of creative and unique ways to build a brand’s account around the regulations. Here are some general requirements for a cannabis marketing role:

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, marketing, or English
  • Experience with email marketing platforms
  • SEO course education or experience

Cannabis Jobs: Compliance Officer – VP of Compliance ($60,000-$120,500)

The regulated cannabis market lives and breathes compliance. Businesses will make significant investments to mitigate risk of falling out of compliance and potentially losing their license.

Compliance helps businesses and employees avoid legal trouble by ensuring they have proper operating procedures in place to align with the state’s regulations. Having someone to ensure the business is running legally is essential to keeping the doors open. The compliance department needs to understand the entire operation to ensure that all day-to-day procedures are legal. To sum it up, compliance requires strong attention to detail and a deep grasp of legal language. since the government can pursue legal action against a business if they are not operating within the law. Typical skills and requisites for a compliance officer include:

  •  BS/BA in law, finance, business administration, or a related field
  •  Excellent knowledge of reporting procedures and record-keeping
  •  Familiar with SOP’s
  •  Methodical and diligent with outstanding planning abilities

Cannabis Jobs: Outside Sales Representative – Account Executive ($65,000-$134,500)

Sales is one position that doesn’t exactly require previous cannabis experience to be successful. Account executives and sales representatives are responsible for selling their brand’s cannabis products to dispensaries. Once the product is on the shelves, it is up to the sales representative to find creative ways to sell through the product. This could include managing brand ambassadors, working with the marketing team to create promotions to drive sales, and hosting budtender training sessions. To work in cannabis sales there are a few skills that will give you a leg up on your resume:   

  • Undergraduate degree in business or sales
  • Previous sales experience (common industries include: liquor, hospitality, or other luxury goods)
  • Experience with analytics and knowledge of CRM systems and ordering tools

Cannabis Jobs: Director of Cultivation ($78,000-$158,000)

It all begins here. From seed to sale, the Director of Cultivation is in charge of spearheading all processes to grow quality cannabis. In short, this position is responsible for the entire growth operation. Understanding the cultivation operations — especially on a large scale, is quite possibly one of the most difficult positions in this industry. Growing cannabis on a grand scale is your dream; pursuing cultivation might be for you. Here are a few of the requirements.

  • Masters of Agriculture (preferred)
  • Ph.D. in Agriculture (preferred) 
  • Ability to grow the business through operational processes, employee and staff capabilities, and financial performance
  • Must be a certified pesticide applicator

Cannabis Jobs: Accounting & Finance: Controller ($79,000-$130,000)

Like with any business, to be successful, you need to ensure that you have a proper understanding of your finances. Cannabis can be even more challenging than other businesses, as banks are still unable to legally work with cannabis companies. Without federal legalization, most cannabis businesses are forced to run off cash. This means a lot of cash has to be counted before it shows up on a spreadsheet and then into the proper bank account. You can imagine this has created an urgent requirement for financial experts to keep track of the company’s cash flow. Financial training can be found at many schools; however, when it comes to experience, financial professionals who work in the casino or nightlife industry often have a grip on what it means to run the finance department of a cannabis business. 

  • Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or Finance required; CPA/MBA preferred
  • Experience in presenting to investors and raising capital
  • Manufacturing and Cost Accounting knowledge a plus

Now that you’ve seen a list of the most in-demand cannabis jobs, how much they pay, and the skills needed, which one will you go after?

*Note: These are average base salaries from Indeed.com. Pay rates can vary by state or country, as well as the size of the company. Benefits can range from basic health insurance options to bonuses and 401k plans.

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