Pot is a big business and only destined to get bigger. Legal sales last year reached $5.7 billion, up more than a billion dollars over the previous year. Sales this year are expected to top $7.1 billion.
This fall, we're likely to see marijuana legalization initiatives win in a handful of states—Arizona, California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts—which would more than triple the size of the legal marijuana market in the county. The combined population of the legal states so far is about 16 million; the population of California alone is more than 38 million. If all five initiative states vote for marijuana this year, the size of the legal market would grow to more than 55 million.
The already existing growth in the marijuana market combined with the prospect of a huge expansion in the near future is making pot a very hot industry. And that means job opportunities for people thinking about breaking into the field.
A number of marijuana industry job hunter websites have popped up in recent years to take advantage of the booming sector, and one of them has now put out a list of the hottest pot jobs. The website, 420careers.com, bills itself as "the marijuana industry's job listing site," and here's its list of the most popular jobs in pot:
- Budtenders – assist dispensary customers with purchasing marijuana.Basically pot shop sales clerks. Knowledge about different pot strains and products and their effects will be helpful, but it's still not likely to pay too much above minimum wage. Some listings offer hourly wages of $11-12 an hour; others put annual salaries in the mid-20s.
- Sales Reps – sell products (vapes, technology, edibles, etc.) to dispensaries.Go freelance or get paid on commission for peddling products. A classic sales gig where how much you make depends precisely on how much you can sell. Willie Loman, call home.
- Extraction Technicians – make marijuana concentrates.These jobs involve working in laboratory-type conditions and operating sophisticated CO2 or butane extraction systems to turn weed into cannabis oil. Job listers tend to be coy about pay offered in this field, but it requires some skills that should make it more remunerative than selling buds.
- Edibles Makers – make marijuana-infused foods and drinks.This is an entrée to the industry for people with culinary skills, such as cooks, bakers, and nutritionists. Relatively low-skilled work like being a line baker isn't going to pay very well, but there are also openings for food scientists, food chemists, and managers, with salaries of $60,000 to $80,000 and beyond
- Dispensary Security – patrol dispensaries for illegal activity.Wear a spiffy uniform, maybe even carry a gun, and get paid low wages. Median security guard salaries in Los Angeles are around $30,000 a year, but at least one LA dispensary was looking for guards willing to work for less than $20,000.
- Marijuana Growers – cultivate marijuana for dispensaries.These are not independent farmers, but employees of the dispensary, and the money is good. "Master Growers," the folks in charge of big-time grow operations, are being offered $100,000 a year and more. The folks doing the grunt work of maintaining and harvesting the plants don't get nearly as much, with hourly wages of $15 to $20 or so.
- Trimmers – trim and package marijuana flowers for dispensaries.Snip, snip, snip, all day long. Trimmers are being offered relatively low wages, around $15 to $20 an hour, in the legal marijuana industry. In the black or gray market, however, they tend to get paid piece rate (50 cents a gram or thereabouts), and a good trimmer can make $200 a day or so. Tax free.
- Dispensary Managers – manage all or various aspects of dispensaries.Doing essentially the same work as any other retail store manager, except for the exotic product. The job requires extensive management skills, as well as pot knowledge, with compensation linked to the size of the operation. A part-time manager job was being offered at $25,000 in Scappoose, Oregon, while a full-time in Sacramento was going for $60,000. Dispensaries with larger volumes will pay even larger salaries.
There are also openings for marijuana-related businesses and professionals. The five most popular auxiliary jobs in the US marijuana industry are::
- Consultants (cultivation, business management, etc.)
- Web Developers/Designers