As of this year, legal sales of marijuana are expected to hit $33 billion, and with industry growth comes a boom in job opportunities!
If you have ever considered a career in cannabis, this guide on cannabis industry jobs is for you! We'll cover different types of jobs; what they entail - and we'll even touch on some of the highest paying and most coveted roles. Are you ready to learn about your next role in the exciting world of cannabis? Let's dig in.
We weren't kidding when we said cannabis was a hot market - in fact, as of 2022, more than 400 thousand cannabis industry jobs were created in the United States alone (that's 33% from the prior year.)
That number hit over 151 thousand cannabis industry jobs in Canada, with the market size growing by 83% over five years.
There are thousands of unique jobs in the cannabis industry; however high level - they typically fall under two categories.
Plant-touching: Jobs where people work directly with products like retail products or cultivation.
Auxiliary: Non-plant-touching jobs that support the industry like software, marketing or consultants.
First let's start with plant-touching roles.
Budtender jobs are customer-facing, interacting with potential buyers to make sales. Budtenders need to teach newcomers about the different cannabis varieties. They are the guides for both newbies and veterans regarding marijuana understanding. Knowledge of compliance, products, essential technologies and operating procedures is necessary.
Budtenders are a great position to land if you want to be break into the cannabis industry, and there are a few tricks to landing the gig. First, you should start with deep product knowledge - do your research on the cannabis company you apply for sells and show that expertise during the interview.
Next, gain a general understanding of the budtender interview questions you might be asked, and gain familiarity with laws and compliance best practices. Finally, consider customer situation questions, and how you would navigate them.
If you are applying for a lead budtender (also called the key budtender) position, you are expected to manage a team of budtenders. Expect interview questions to test your managerial experience.
Cannabis retail manager jobs, also known as dispensary managers, handle the day-to-day operations of running a cannabis store. When looking at entry-level jobs, this isn't on the list, and some provinces even require cannabis retail managers to acquire a special license before managing a store. This is a career centric job - and the position one might earn after being a lead budtender.
Many people interested in the cannabis industry aim to get one of the elusive cannabis dispensary owner jobs. Owners are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of a dispensary by hiring the right managers and growing the business.
How much a dispensary owner makes can vary heavily. Still, owners typically make a salary starting at $250 thousand but can earn up to $1 million annually if they are strong business people.
Cannabis inventory manager jobs do what you would expect: manage inventory. However, many cannabis inventory managers also enforce policy and support operational work. Inventory managers are incredibly important as they determine how much stock is necessary to keep a business running.
Cannabis compliance officers ensure that proper dispensary compliance SOPs are in place and that employees follow regulations.
This is a vital role as they prevent businesses from incurring massive fines. These officers must stay abreast of the latest laws and regulations and update the company as needed.
Cannabis cultivator jobs, or growers, are experts at managing the growing, harvesting, and planting of cannabis plants. This role is paramount as it helps supply the initial product. Cannabis cultivators are typically entry-level; however, these positions also offer growth opportunities.
Cannabis trimmer jobs are more specialized than cultivators. They are the specialists among cannabis cultivators, focusing on trimming marijuana plants. As a more detail-oriented cannabis industry job, the need to perform quality trims and measure plant weights is a major part of their work.
Cannabis cultivation associates are the entry-level form of cannabis cultivators. They are expected to care for the plants but often aren't required to have knowledge upon getting the role. Nonetheless, horticulture experience is often preferred in these positions. This role also has the potential for promotion.
Cannabis lab technician jobs work to extract the material from the plant after it has finished growing and being cultivated. Lab technicians must also meet local safety and cleanliness requirements and retain detailed records of their materials.
A quality assurance (QA) specialist is one of those cannabis industry jobs that require advanced studies. Typically a chemistry degree is preferred to ensure that quality requirements are met during the extraction and creation process. QA specialists might also assist in inventory management, new product development, and record-keeping duties.
An extraction technician is responsible for managing other lab technicians in the extraction process. Their roles cross over into QA territory, often requiring a chemistry degree. Compared to QAs, extraction technicians focus more on the day-to-day operations leading to product creation.
Cannabis delivery jobs cover two areas: delivering directly to customers or delivering stock to storefronts. Either way, this is a great entry-level position for anyone interested in the cannabis industry. Many of these jobs include gig work, making them an excellent way to make some extra cash.
Cannabis logistics jobs involve managing the delivery schedule when cannabis products are ready for shipment. Unlike other cannabis industry jobs, their "plant-touching" aspect involves coordinating deliveries, requiring less product knowledge. Delivery specialists with more experience will often transition into the logistics field.
An ancillary job includes all support people that do not work directly with the plant. As a result, there are usually fewer expectations regarding knowledge of the products (there are some exceptions you'll see later in this list). Ancillary cannabis industry jobs require experience and knowledge in other areas. Below, you'll see some examples of what we mean.
Cannabis accountanting, bookkeepers, general accountants, and accounts payable specialists are all examples of opportunities to work within the accounting space in cannabis.
An accountant must have a bachelor's degree and an accounting certification (CPA). More advanced accountants require more education and experience to help them grow.
Although any accountant could theoretically work in the cannabis space helping a client - there are a lot of specialized tax laws in this space - so specialization is preferred.
Security services are in high demand because there is a lot of value in cannabis products. Security specialists can include those who specialize in installing security systems to those who patrol and defend budtenders against more unruly customers. Either way, experience in the business is a must.
Jobs in cannabis technology or "cannatech" help build, sell, manage and support cannabis software companies.
Dispensaries and cultivation spaces alike need a lot of cannabis technology to succeed - including dispensary POS systems, website-based software, business management software, and people management solutions.
Now that we mention it - KayaPush cannabis software is hiring! KayaPush offers payroll, hr, time tracking, and scheduling software specifically for cannabis dispensaries. There is a lot of growth opportunity for members of the cannabis industry.
There is a lot to sell in the world of cannabis, and due to regulations, it takes a special kind of sales or marketing person to succeed in the industry.
Marketing teams need to understand the customer's needs and the federal regulations that limit them from making unwarranted medical claims.
Sales representatives might work on behalf of independent growers to sell their products to dispensaries. Not all dispensary store owners also own the farms that produce the product.
Cannabis consultants assist dispensary owners with understanding how to set up, launch, or succeed in the cannabis space. Consultants are experts in their field because of their business or cannabis-specific experience. These experts are among the highest paid in the cannabis field.
There are a few website builders who specialize in the cannabis industry. Because cannabis websites must meet regulatory restrictions, website builders are typically paid well for their expertise.
Cannabis website builders will likely have experience in eCommerce, as many cannabis businesses are embracing online ordering. However, those eCommerce specialists will also need to help establish ways the buyer can avoid selling to people who should access these products.
Cannabis content writers are writers who have experience in the cannabis industry. They are often hired as contractors and current (or former) budtenders. These people might also assist the marketing team in making materials that appeal to a broad audience.
Office assistants are those who work alongside owners or high-ranking individuals to manage secondary tasks of the business. They might help the owner or manager directly by scheduling meetings, setting up events, or sending emails. An office assistant is a generalist title, making each job description unique.
The highest-paying cannabis industry jobs are dispensary owners and operators. Dispensary owners make an average salary of between $250,000 and $500,000 yearly from running a dispensary. The second most high-paying jobs are extraction technician specialists and cannabis consultants, making around $100,000 annually.
The more expertise and responsibility you have, the more you will be paid.
Studies show that the best cannabis industry jobs include edible chefs and growers. Why? Because both positions can make a lot of money and are relatively low-stress. But in reality, the best job is subjective to your interests and skill set.
Yes, remote jobs include product testers, writers, and remote auxiliary company team members, like the staff at KayaPush team. However, most positions in cannabis, like budtenders, growers, and dispensary managers, will need to be there to keep the business running and can't work remotely.
For many jobs, it starts by understanding what certifications you need to join the industry. Once you get the required budtender certifications or professional certifications, it becomes no different from applying for a regular job. Reach out, research, and show up to the interview and you will do fine.
“KayaPush has it all in one platform where you can kind of build what you need. Especially as a start-up, that’s important to us to be cost-friendly. You have the best price for what you’re offering. ”
-Marry Ann from Riverside Wellness-