It’s no longer a surprise that the cannabis industry is booming. In 2016, legalized cannabis generated $6.9 billion in revenue. The cannabis consulting firm responsible for that statistic, Arcview Market Research group, also projects that by 2021, the cannabis industry may bring in almost $22 billion. It's no surprise that in an industry forecasting such high revenues, cannabis careers are on the rise. This profitability makes a lot of sense. Cannabis has a dedicated following of people who love the plant for its recreational uses and those who laud it for its therapeutic value. With that kind of support comes a pretty established subculture. The plant has been around for thousands of years, and its use as a narcotic has been a part of American culture since the early 19th century. Although the government has put a lot of elbow grease into criminalizing cannabis and everything associated with it since its introduction to the US during the Mexican Revolution, the public approves of legalized cannabis more now than it has in decades. An October 2016 Gallup poll found that 60% of Americans approve of the legalization of cannabis for personal use. And even though cannabis is still federally illegal, it is the most widely used illicit substance in the country.
This is great news for entrepreneurs and people in the job market, even if they don’t want to ever touch the plant because when we say cannabis industry, we’re not just talking about cultivators, producers, and distributors. The industry also includes businesses specializing in cannabis fashion, paraphernalia, technology, science, marketing, architecture, horticulture, art, and more. While some of these jobs come with more risk than reward, some can be incredibly profitable, and given the socio-political climate, incredibly interesting, too. That’s something people are noticing. Greenrush, a medical marijuana delivery company, hosted a job fair in April, and 2,700 people attended. Terra Tech Corp., another cannabis company, held a job fair they only expected to attract a couple hundred people. It turned out, 2,000 people were interested in finding a cannabis related job. Why are people so excited about getting into cannabis? Many simply believe in the plant’s potential, and getting involved now is a historical decision. People want to be a part of a movement that matters, and this one certainly does, particularly when it comes to social justice and health care. If you’re one of those people interested in working in the cannabis industry, you probably want to know which ones pay the most. Here are 6 of the top paying jobs in the cannabis industry.
6 High Paying Cannabis Careers
The grow master is the cultivator responsible for growing marijuana strains. This job is in high demand because it requires a specific skill set and is essential for the existence of a cannabis industry in the first place. As cannabis becomes more mainstream, grow masters may gain notoriety in the cannabis world sort of how top chefs gain fame in the culinary world. Right now, the best grow masters seem to be coming out of California, but that’s because cannabis has had a presence in that state for so long. The longer cannabis remains legal, the more experience growers from other regions will become. A person in this lucrative position can earn $100,000 or more a year.
Dispensary Store Manager
Medical and recreational dispensaries need to be managed by someone, and that someone can make a lot of money in that position.
Unlike the master grower position, this one can be fulfilled by anyone with managerial experience
Of course, in depth knowledge of cannabis will set candidates apart, but at the end of the day, if you can manage a store, you can manage a dispensary. In stores bringing in multiple millions of dollars a year, managers may enjoy hefty bonuses, and many receive the benefits of a more traditional job such as paid time off and health insurance. A store manager can potentially earn $75,000 a year.
Cannabis extracts are surging in popularity (making up 40% of some stores’ sales) because of their increased potency and their ability to be consumed without being smoked, a huge plus to medical cannabis consumers. This is especially beneficial in a place like New York where the cannabis laws do not allow the sale of smokable marijuana. Moreover, cannabis extraction is a complicated and dangerous process, and skilled “extraction artists” are exactly the people needed to provide the service. Extraction technicians can potentially earn between $75,000 and $125,000 annually.
Edibles chefs aren’t just throwing flour and cannabis together. Like with cannabis extraction, the quality and skill required to infuse cannabis into edibles can earn a chef a pretty substantial salary.
Chefs have to balance taste with safety
especially since edibles are far more potent and long lasting than other forms of cannabis. While the chef’s talent, business size, and location greatly influence this number, edibles chefs can make between $50,000 and $100,000 a year.
Gardening Supplies Retailer
This job isn’t dependent on cannabis, and that is one of its strengths. Each of the aforementioned job touches the plant, and is consequently at risk of being checked by the DEA. A job in gardening retail isn’t going to get shut down by the federal government because it isn’t directly in contact with cannabis, a federally illegal substance regardless of state law. However, a gardening supply store in a strategic location can profit immensely from the cannabis industry, especially if the store is specifically tailored to meet the needs of cannabis growers who are in constant need of soil, nutrients, equipment, and other gardening supplies.
Electrician, HVAC, Plumber, Carpenter, Drywall
Similar to the previous job, being a skilled trade worker does not require direct contact with the plant; part of its advantage is its security. If the federal government does start enforcing federal law and pursuing state regulated cannabis, electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, carpenters, and construction workers are still going to be just as necessary as they were before. So what do these jobs have to do with the cannabis industry at all?
These professionals help cultivators create and maintain their indoor grow facilities
And since indoor grows are still regarded by most as top of the line, the demand for skilled workers doesn’t seem likely to decrease. Moreover, skilled trade workers can make quite a bit of money, earning around $80,000 a year.