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Working in Cannabis - How to & Salaries

Working in Cannabis - How to & Salaries

Cannabis has come a long way, from black market only to decriminalization, and being legalized in one form or another is just about every state. The cannabis industry rakes in billions, $33.6 billion in 2023 for medical and recreational and it's expected to reach $56.9 billion in 2028. The industry is massive and growing like a weed, lets dive into some ways you can take a cut. From cannabis trimming jobs to joint testers, there's a position for just about any skill level.

Keys to success in Cannabis

The cannabis community is growing and still in its early stages, regardless of its $56.9 billion market size. In this community, who you know, and being dedicated to the industry will get you far. The industry thrives off of individuals who want to grow the community. Following the below mentioned keys to success will ensure you have the best odds of making a impact and a getting hired.


Stay Informed and Adaptable

The cannabis industry is ever evolving. Staying informed about the latest trends, laws, and technologies is crucial. Adaptability is key. As regulations and market dynamics shift, your ability to pivot and embrace change will set you apart.


Cultivate Relevant Skills

Success in this industry requires a specific skill set. Whether it's cultivation knowledge, retail management, or extraction expertise, honing relevant skills is essential. Continuous learning and development will boost your career prospects.


Network Actively

Building a strong professional network is invaluable. Attend industry events, join online forums, and connect with peers. These relationships can lead to job opportunities, partnerships, and invaluable industry insights.


Emphasize Compliance and Ethics

Understanding and adhering to legal standards is non-negotiable. A strong ethical foundation, especially in compliance, ensures longevity and reputation in the industry.


Demonstrate Passion and Commitment

A genuine passion for cannabis and a commitment to quality are noticeable. They can significantly influence your career trajectory in this industry. Show enthusiasm and dedication in every role you undertake.


 image representing a professional working in the cannabis industry. The image should feature a diverse range of roles, such as a cultivator

How to Get Started in Cannabis

From becoming a master grower, focused on pH levels and soil content or budtender, with expert knowledge of them most sought-after strains. Whether your interest lies in cultivation, retail, or business, the cannabis industry welcomes diverse talents and skills. Let's dive into the key steps to landing your dream cannabis job.

  1. Decide a pathway

    The cannabis world is vast. It includes cultivation, where experts grow and harvest plants. Dispensaries need skilled staff to manage sales and customer service. In manufacturing, professionals extract and prepare cannabis products. Each area demands unique skills and offers different experiences. So, do you want to take care of the plant or the customer?

  2. Become hireable

    Each sector in the cannabis industry demands specific skills. Cultivation requires knowledge of botany and plant care. Working in a dispensary involves customer service skills and product knowledge. In manufacturing, understanding extraction processes and compliance with health standards is key. Assess your skills and interests and align them with the needs of your desired cannabis sector.

  3. Set a goal

    After identifying your niche and aligning your skills, set clear, achievable goals. If you're new to the industry, an entry-level position might be your starting point. For those with experience, perhaps a managerial role or a specialized function is within reach. Whatever your level, setting realistic goals helps you focus your job search and professional development efforts in this exciting and evolving industry.

  4. Build a Network

    Networking is key in the cannabis industry. Start by attending industry events, conferences, and seminars. These gatherings are goldmines for meeting professionals from all sectors of the industry. Engage with cultivators, dispensary owners, and manufacturers. Be curious, ask questions, and exchange contact information.


    Building an online Presence

    In today's digital world, online platforms offer incredible networking opportunities. Join cannabis industry forums, LinkedIn groups, and follow relevant social media pages. Participate in discussions, share your insights, and connect with industry leaders. Online presence can significantly boost your visibility and open doors to potential job opportunities.


    Volunteering and Internships

    Sometimes, the best way to create connections is by working from the inside. Consider volunteering or interning at local dispensaries, cultivation centers, or manufacturing facilities. These experiences not only enhance your resume but also allow you to build meaningful relationships within the industry.

  5. Apply 

    Every job application in the cannabis industry should be unique. Research the company and the specific role you're applying for. Customize your resume and cover letter to highlight skills and experiences that align with the job requirements. Show your understanding of the sector, whether it’s cultivation, dispensary operations, or manufacturing.

budtender working in the cannabis at a dispensary.


Common Cannabis Jobs

Here's some of the most common jobs within the cannabis sector, outlining their roles, responsibilities, and, importantly, their salary ranges. Whether you're a seasoned professional looking to switch careers or a newcomer eager to join this exciting field. This list will help you navigate your career choices with a clearer understanding of what to expect in terms of earnings. 

Cannabis Trimmer

  • Role Description: Cannabis Trimmers are essential in preparing high-quality cannabis for sale. They meticulously trim and manicure the cannabis flowers, using scissors or machine trimmers, focusing on detail to ensure the best product presentation. They also play a role in quality control, identifying and removing any subpar product.
  • Salary Range: Cannabis Trimmers typically earn between $12 to $18 per hour, or an per pound basis. Depending on their experience and the facility's location.


  • Role Description: Budtenders are the face of cannabis dispensaries. They assist customers, offer product recommendations, and possess extensive knowledge about various cannabis strains and products.
  • Salary Range: Typically, budtenders earn between $12 to $16 per hour. This can vary based on location and experience.

Cultivation Expert/Grower

  • Role Description: These professionals are responsible for growing and nurturing cannabis plants. Their work involves everything from planting seeds to harvesting and preparing the product for sale.
  • Salary Range: Salaries can range from $50,000 to $120,000 annually, depending on experience and the size of the operation.

Extraction Technician

  • Role Description: These technicians specialize in extracting THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids from cannabis plants. This role requires a good understanding of chemistry and the extraction process.
  • Salary Range: Extraction technicians can earn between $30,000 and $75,000 per year, based on their technical expertise and experience

Cannabis Compliance Officer

  • Role Description: Compliance officers ensure that cannabis businesses adhere to all laws and regulations. They are knowledgeable about legal requirements and work to keep the business compliant.
  • Salary Range:  Salaries for compliance officers range from $45,000 to $120,000 annually, depending on the complexity of the regulatory environment in their location.

Start your Journey

A career in the cannabis industry promises not only exciting opportunities but also the chance to be part of a dynamic and growing field. From budtenders to cultivation experts, each role plays a pivotal part in this industry. As you step into this green world, keep your passion alive, continue learning, and embrace the countless opportunities that will arise. With dedication and the right approach, you can carve out a rewarding career in this thriving industry.



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