After reading this definitive guide on the top five entry-level cannabis jobs, you should feel much more confident in what it takes to apply to a new position, win an interview, leverage skills from your previous experience, and grow your own knowledge on what cannabis can offer professionally and medically.
Before we dive into the top five entry-level cannabis jobs for the soon-to-be cannabis growing expert (you!) or cannabinoid consultant (again, look in the mirror!), the industry today, although booming, still comes with loads of volatility.
Think back to those folks who just so happened to open up dispensaries or who started farms in 2013. Sure, they bet big, but now many of them are fighting for their livelihoods as many markets, especially in Colorado, California and Canada, are saturated. Thus forcing them to contend with lower and lower marijuana prices.
So, how do you insulate yourself from such unpredictability while still making the move from Corporate America or leaving that cozy 9-to-5?
Easy: Stick with what you’re good at or commit to something brand new as an apprentice.
Regardless of what might pique your interest, always remember to do your homework, and maybe even consider getting education before committing yourself fully by starting your own grow op or cannabis business.
Now with that on the table, let’s see what’s smoking hot for cannabis jobs!
5 Entry-Level Cannabis Jobs That Will Start Your Cannabis Career
Bud Trimmer and Packaging Laborer
This might be the most tedious and basic entry-level position in the cannabis industry, but still pays wages $12 to $13 per hour.
Note: Some farms and operations pay by the pound (which can average about $30 per hour) so there are performance-based incentives for some if you are willing to work hard enough, earn your keep and grow your reputation.
As a marijuana trimmer and packaging laborer, days will be long with tons of manual labor (think using scissors to sheer off flowers from stems). But don’t write this ‘labor-intensive’ job off as it’s one of the best way to learn the business and climb the cannabis ladder. However, just like with any job, do your due diligence when it comes to the employer, as shady practices can still exist!
– Bud tenders can ‘graduate’ to higher-level positions (think craft beer) and in so doing become master growers, grow master, grow technicians, quality technicians, compliance and safety officers, and other cultivation experts
– What’s more, these post-apprentice positions move you back into salaries bands of $100K per year
In keeping with the craft brewing theme, just as there are bartenders, there is a demand for bud tenders. These folks recommend different strains for medical and recreational users as well as ensure top-notch customer service and patient education.
The salaries for these folks max out at $42,000 per year (depending on location of course), but that’s not saying you couldn’t, again, take the opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes operations of a retail store and take your own dedicate consumers with you should you start your own shop
These next few entry-level jobs are certainly one step removed from laboring in a field, but they can result in very long hours and a lot of hard work managing associates and employees.
A shop manager, be it for a medicinal or recreational store, will have to focus more on the ‘conventional’ side of operating a storefront, which is to say making sure accounts balance and generating revenue.
NOTE: Some stores already net $3 million to $6 million annually, so this is no small task
Salaries will range around $75,000, but there is certainly a lot of ‘franchise’ and growth opportunities for the leader who can prove an ability to consistently generate year-over-year profit.
NOTE: There are, of course, assistant manager positions for the nascent cannabis employee or the individual who wants to start out on the register or point-of-sale machine; just be aware that the hourly rate will be on par with a state’s minimum wage
Cannabis Warehouse Operations
In remaining relatively removed from the nitty-gritty of cultivation, the cannabis industry still needs a lot of those ‘conventional’ jobs and skills that you may already have.
Warehouses, delivery, transport, and other logistics are brand new to the marijuana business and could be a natural transition for someone still worried about career suicide, but wanting to pivot into this green field.
What’s more is there is nearly no difference in salary between the warehouse associate ($12) picking, packing, and delivering CBD-based products versus that same individual slinging shoes or car parts.
NOTE: Necoming a general manager or assistant general manager at a cannabis-oriented fulfillment center is equally as lucrative with a salary around $103,000 per year
Partner, Invest, or Own Outright
Setting the cannabis industry aside for a moment, anyone who is business savvy (and has a bunch of capital just lying about) might be interested in simply investing in an already flourishing retail location or farm.
Not only could the stocks or return on investment payout almost immediately, but the amount of cross-industry interest (think Molson-Coors or Big Pharma or Big Tobacco) means you could be on the very winning end of a huge bet.
Again, we strongly suggest that you do your homework first and foremost as well as reconsider just what you might be interested in.
Starting at the grassroots level may be just the reinvention you need to go from trimmer to tender to grow master to master grower! There are, of course, other alternatives to breaking into this industry at or above the entry-level, but the costs could be considerable with the changing winds around legalization and decriminalization.
That said, stay tuned for another set of positions that could light a fire (!) under you and help you kick start a new, greener career!
Your Californian Marijuana Providers,