Looking for a Career in Cannabis? Here’s What You Can Expect to Make


Even as major U.S. cannabis companies like MedMen, CannaCraft, Pax Labs, and others have announced large-scale layoffs impacting hundreds of workers, the U.S. cannabis industry is poised to become a significant jobs creator in the coming years.

According to Vangst, a recruiting agency that earlier this year secured $10 million as part of a series A financing round, the number of available cannabis jobs have increased by 79% over the last year.

“Cannabis jobs, salaries and benefits are on the rise for 2020,” the company wrote in its recent Cannabis Industry Salary Guide.

The cannabis industry is expected to contribute 414,000 full-time jobs to the U.S. economy by 2021, according to a 2018 report from Arcview Market Research. An estimated 211,000 employees currently make up the U.S. cannabis workforce, according to Leafly, which noted that 64,000 cannabis jobs were added in 2018.

And as more states pass laws legalizing marijuana use in some form – 33 states and Washington D.C. currently permit recreational or medical use – new and existing cannabis firms will need to scale up their workforces in a big way.

According to Vangst, those companies will be looking to hire cultivation technicians, trimmers, packagers, budtenders, brand ambassadors, sales reps, delivery drivers, and a number of other c-suite and senior level employees.

So, what can you expect to make if you’re seeking a job in an emerging cannabis industry that is projected to be worth $41 billion globally by 2024?

According to Vangst, which surveyed a variety of U.S. cannabis retail, cultivation, extraction and manufacturing companies to produce its report, senior level employees in those fields will make between $59,800 and $167,000 depending on experience.


Here’s how Vangst broke it down:

A director of cultivation with little to no experience in the role will make $59,800, while more experienced cultivation experts will make as much as $118,600. Meanwhile, a grow manager can expect to make between $43,400 and $93,400, depending on their level of expertise.

Wages for trimmers range between $11.40 per hour and $16.90 per hour, and Vangst said many of those opportunities will be filled by temporary workers.

“On-demand talent, also known as seasonal employees or freelancers, are projected to make up about 40% of the average company’s workforce by 2020, both in and outside of the cannabis industry,” the agency wrote.

Interestingly, some of the more lucrative cannabis jobs are in the “lab/extraction” areas of the business, where extraction experts and chemists can expect to make between $83,500 and $122,000.

Not surprisingly, one of the highest paid positions in the cannabis industry is the vice president of manufacturing role. Experienced candidates can expect to earn upwards of $167,000 annually, Vangst reported.

And as the need for positive purchasing experiences has become more important to companies aiming to attract and retain new cannabis users, retail jobs have become lucrative. An experience vice president of retail operations will command a salary of $152,000, Vangst said.

Of course, if you’re new to cannabis and just want to start out as a budtender, you can expect to make about $12.50 an hour.

According to Leafly, the cannabis workforce increased 21% in 2017 and 44% in 2018. Meanwhile, jobs growth of 20% is expected for 2019.

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