These $100,000 a year jobs in the cannabis industry are luring away highly skilled employees from other industries.
While many may assume that the cannabis industry is staffed by an army of unmotivated, red-eyed stoners, the truth can be quite different. The six-figure positions on this list require years of experience, specific skill sets, advanced degrees, and a unique business savvy to be successful.
Everything in the cannabis industry begins with the growers. They produce the “raw material” that is then used throughout the industry. Whether consumers buy cured cannabis flowers, extracted cannabis oils, or infused edibles, it all starts with growers.
As the legal cannabis industry expands, it is scrambling to hire growers with the experience to provide enough to meet demand. The most sought after professionals in the legal cannabis industry might just be grow masters, and the best grow masters get to name their price, often over six figures. There has even been a rise in designer cultivators working to grow the most potent and fragrant cannabis possible.
Just like in any retail outlet, cannabis dispensaries need managers to run the day to day operations. In charge of everything necessary for the store to function properly, dispensary managers must handle, the following (amongst a number of other business decisions):
- Stock flow and inventory
- Product placement
Managers of successful cannabis dispensaries can earn over $100,000 a year and may enjoy perks such as paid medical coverage and vacation time. Performance bonuses tied to store sales may bump salaries for retail managers even higher.
Testing Lab Technicians
Since most state medical and recreational cannabis regulations mandate safety testing of all cannabis products, including marijuana flower, extracts, and edibles, the services provided by testing lab technicians are in high demand by cannabis producers, with one lab in California earning $1.5 million in revenue in 2015 alone.
Most lab technicians in the cannabis industry hold advanced degrees, giving them the knowledge in chemistry to properly test cannabis products. Due to the high demand for skilled technicians and the specific training necessary for the job, testing lab technicians can earn six figures or more in the cannabis industry. This number jumps significantly if the technician owns his own lab.
Whether as part of a larger firm, working for themselves, or hired for an individual company, the best cannabis lawyers can expect to earn up to six figures a year, depending on their clients. Cannabis industry lawyers specialize in:
- Ensuring cannabis-related regulatory compliance
- Assisting in license applications
- Navigating tax laws
- Securing insurance for cannabis businesses
Cannabis lawyers may also provide trademark and copyright services for the growing number of cannabis businesses creating their brand identity.
Finally, some lawyers focus on defending clients in criminal trials. It is rare for lawyers to cover all aspects of the cannabis industry alone, so you may wish to specialize in land use and zoning, commercial litigation, or intellectual property or patent law to name a few.
Sales reps in the cannabis industry are responsible for visiting medical and recreational dispensaries in their territory to forge relationships between them and the sales rep’s brand. Sales reps must be well versed on the products in their brand to be able to sell their advantages to a dispensary’s product buyer. Just like in any industry, sales representatives in the cannabis industry work largely on commission, so there is immense earning potential for driven salespeople.
The pot brownie has come a long way, and now cannabis can be found in a wide range of food and drink products, including gummies, cookies, ice cream, chocolate bars, and frozen pizzas. Some of the more creative chefs are even creating gourmet culinary experiences with multi-course infused dinners.
However, the job of a marijuana edibles chef involves more than just cooking. It often revolves around the careful infusion of cannabis extract into specific doses for safe and measured consumption. Even just a few milligrams variation in any one part of an edible can leave a consumer with an uncomfortable experience.
It’s little wonder then that the most talented chefs in the cannabis industry earn upwards of $100,000 a year by creating bestselling edible brands or hosting exclusive cannabis culinary events.
Cannabis Oil Extractors
When most people think of marijuana, they have in mind smoking the plant’s flowers. However, cannabis oil extracted from cannabis is now being used to create a number of different products, from edibles and topicals to vaporizable concentrates. In fact, marijuana extracts are a growing side of the business, causing many companies to seek out cannabis concentrates to create the products in their brand.
Additionally, some states, like New York, don’t allow smokable cannabis as part of their medical marijuana program, further increasing the need for cannabis oil to create non-smokable products like tinctures and capsules.
With high purity of oil being the end goal, there is a premium on consistency and quality, and the most skillful oil extractors can earn over $100,000 a year. With this growing demand for cannabis oil, extractors have found themselves in high demand. Many successful cannabis oil extractors have PhD’s and bring experience with them from the botanical extract industry, which requires many of the same talents.
The public opinion on cannabis is shifting and the legislative changes opening new markets is catching the eye of the business elite. With the immense growth potential of the cannabis industry, many CEOs from other sectors, like banking and technology, are being lured away from their companies to join the green rush seen around the U.S.
Again, the same skills necessary in leading large companies are transferable to the cannabis industry, and the smartest seem to have already recognized the billion dollar opportunity in this ground-floor industry that is growing faster than the dot-com boom.
Of course, the biggest chance for reward in the cannabis industry is to become an entrepreneur and start your own business. But many may see the risk as not worth the reward, no matter how great. Most business owners don’t reach the millions of dollars in revenue they hope for, and many never even break even in their ventures.
For those who do create a profitable company, work days are full of regulatory hurdles and the fear that the legal atmosphere that is currently fueling the green rush doesn’t shift unexpectedly.
Doing business in the cannabis industry can also be prohibitively expensive. There are high-cost licensing fees, mandated product testing, and security concerns centered on an all-cash industry. On top of these costs, cannabis business owners are unable to claim the same standard business deductions other business owners enjoy.
Many cannabis business owners front millions of dollars of their own money for years before they ever get to see any profits. However, the shot to be the owner of the Amazon, Apple, or Google of cannabis is enough to draw savvy entrepreneurs to this exciting industry for their chance at being the next cannabis unicorn.
Start Your Cannabis Career
Of course, for many, the first step to starting their cannabis career is going to obtaining an entry level job. You can learn more about getting potential jobs in the cannabis industry HERE.
Another way to gain the skills necessary to succeed in the cannabis industry is by furthering your education.