For those seeking a career change or a shift within the cannabis industry, several occupations are in high demand. Cannabis companies seek budtenders, edibles producers, and master growers to fill open positions.
According to an analysis by USA Today of cannabis job openings on Indeed.com and Vangsters, a company that operates a cannabis job board, dispensaries across the country are seeking budtenders. Budtenders interact with customers and patients and provide product descriptions and recommendations. In a sense, they are on the front lines of a cannabis dispensary.
In Ohio, where medicinal cannabis dispensaries have just begun to get started, there are over 50 shops seeking budtenders.
“In Ohio, you’re basically talking about providing medical services,” Tom Adams of BDS Analytics, a data firm that analyzes the cannabis industry said. “Even at the budtender level, cannabis companies are looking for smart people who can learn a lot in a hurry about cannabis’ uses as medicine and can effectively communicate that to their customers.”
Although these positions are essential, they are not particularly lucrative, at least not initially. Budtenders typically ear between $12 to $15 per hour. But the position provides employees with a chance to learn and develop essential skills and knowledge that can help them go on to become managers or even start their own company. Managers tend to earn north of $40,000 per year. Chances for advancement for budtenders may increase in the future cannabis companies grow and start to emulate traditional corporate structures. There will likely be even more opportunity for those who put in hard work on the ground level.
Cannabis companies are also seeking experienced growers. Even if cannabis flower is becoming less popular, it still drives the products of the industry. Masters growers and extractors can earn up to $100,000 per year. Often, there are demanding requirements set for earning these positions. In Ohio, master growers are expected to hold advanced degrees in biochem and engineering fields.
Pay for cannabis positions does vary from state to state. In California, where recreational cannabis was legalized earlier this year but medicinal use was approved in 1996, potential employees stand to earn higher wages than other states. According to Sacbee, dispensary managers can earn as much as $60,000 per year.
Overall, the job numbers are looking up for the cannabis industry. According to BDS Analytics, there are 38,233 cannabis employees in California. That number represents about one-third of all cannabis jobs nationally. But with recreational sales just taking shape in California, BDS expects California to employ approximately 100,000 in the cannabis industry by 2021.
BDS also predicts a substantial rise in the number of cannabis jobs nationally. Currently, there are about 120,000 individuals working in cannabis. By 2021, as additional states are expected to legalize, BDS expects the number of those working in the industry to double.