Best-Paying Jobs in the Cannabis Industry Today
Times sure have changed with marijuana. Less than 10 years ago, if you made pot brownies, you'd be doing so with the curtains drawn and incense burning. If you wanted to drive your slamming new strand of ganja to customers across town, you'd get arrested. Today, you can put "edibles chef" on your LinkedIn, get hired as a brand ambassador or be a cannabis delivery driver.
Marijuana laws are changing rapidly across the entire United States, with many states fully legalizing or decriminalizing the plant. And where it's legal, there's money to be made — legally, and with benefits.
The cannabis industry has provided all kinds of new positions, and many of them are high-paying. And as the cannabis industry grows, so, too, does the number of job openings in the field.
These 25 cannabis industry jobs are some of the coolest, highest-paying and most in-demand ones in the field. We've included entry-level job openings as well as executive positions for a wide range of marijuana industry careers so you can get a high-level look at just how much this burgeoning new field has to offer.
25. Assistant Grower
What they do: Assistant growers help the master grower on their daily operations. These tasks can include watering plants by hand or tending to irrigation lines, pulling and spraying weeds, collecting soil samples, moving fertilizer bags and carrying plants.
According to Glassdoor, the average annual salary for an assistant grower is $35,700. However, this job provides experience working in a greenhouse, and could open up paths to being a master grower one day.
Note: Rankings are based on minimum salary per year.
24. Brand Ambassador
What they do: Brand ambassadors spread awareness of a cannabis company through various events, spreading the word on social media and gathering customer feedback.
They attend trade shows, pop-up events and conventions. The goal is to keep people aware of the product and hopefully get them to try it.
According to the most recent Cannabiz Team's Industry Salary Guide, brand ambassadors in the cannabis industry make $28,000 to $39,000 a year, with a median salary of $33,5000.
23. Bud Trimmer
What they do: Bud trimmers head out to the field and cut and trim the sticky icky by hand. It's essentially farm work. Bud trimming jobs are typically entry-level positions since they require no education and you can be trained on the job.
You'll need to be healthy, though, as the work can be a bit strenuous. Becoming a bud trimmer is the easiest way to get your foot in the door in the cannabis industry.
22. Budtender/Cannabis Consultant
Salary: About $35,000-$37,200 per year, plus tips
What they do: Budtenders — sometimes called cannabis consultants — are retail workers who talk with customers and recommend various types of strains depending on their needs.
Budtenders need to know a lot about marijuana and be passionate about the plant.
21. Delivery Driver
What they do: Forget driving for Uber or delivering pizzas. If you're located in a place where the cannabis industry is booming, a delivery job driving weed to customers pays pretty good.
According to Cannabiz Team, delivery drivers make between $40,000 and $50,000 per year and are in high demand. Vox interviewed one woman who worked for a California company called Caliva that paid its workers between $15 and $17.50 per hour, plus benefits, mileage reimbursements and sick leave.
That sure beats having to drive home drunks at midnight. Pays better, too.
20. Field Sample Technicians
What they do: Field sample technicians are employees who go to a location — like a field or a customer facility — collect samples, and bring them back to the lab for study.
Workers in this field need a relevant science degree and usually need a valid license since the position requires travel.
According to the Sacramento Bee, this position pays $40,000-$55,000, depending on experience.
19. Cannabis Extraction Technicians
What they do: Cannabis extraction techs extract THC from the marijuana plant. This is a chemist's job, and as such, the highest-paying workers can have doctorates in chemistry, biology, laboratory technology or other related fields.
It all depends on the workplace, though. A bachelor's degree can also be acceptable.
18. Edibles Chef
What they do: Marijuana doesn't taste good on its own. Edibles chefs are tasked with creating food that tastes good, while also being able to safely measure out just how much marijuana concentrate to use in large batches of food.
A bachelor's degree in chemistry helps get your foot in the door here, as does culinary management experience and batch cooking experience.
According to CNBC, edibles chefs can make $50,000 to $100,000 per year.
17. Cannabis Sales Rep
What they do: Cannabis sales reps work just like other sales reps — they're there to establish a partnership between the grower and the distributor. Sales reps visit storefronts, mingling with business owners and store managers, working to get their company's product ordered and on that businesses' shelves.
Like other industries, cannabis sales reps can be paid a base salary, be 100 percent commission-based, or both. Typically, though, sales reps make most of their money through commission (around 5 percent of sales) as well as bonuses. Travel is required. We've seen cannabis sales rep jobs offering as little as $20,000 to jobs offering $100,000 or more, although that's commission-based and theoretical.
According to Cannabiz Team, cannabis sales reps made between $50,000 and $69,000 in 2020.
What they do: The cannabis industry has a large demand for chemists.
There are many different roles a chemist can take on, like heavy metals testing, sample preparation, solvent testing and various laboratory work. Chemists need a background in chemistry with at least a bachelor's degree in the field.
According to Fortune, cannabis chemists can make $51,600 to $81,500 per year.
15. Tissue Culture Technician
What they do: Tissue culture technicians perform micropropagation to clone plants.
Tissue culture cloning is established in the broader agricultural industry and is becoming an increasingly popular propagation method among commercial cannabis growers.
As such, those skilled in tissue culture cloning from other industries may very well find work in the cannabis field.
14. Plant Breeder
What they do: Marijuana plant breeders breed male and female plants to develop new kinds of cannabis strains, developing new kinds of aromatics, potencies and highs.
Plant breeding on an industry level is highly technical and requires some serious industry know-how, but it might be one of the most rewarding cannabis industry jobs out there.
13. Integrated Pest Manager
What they do: Integrated pest management (commonly known as IPM) is a crucial cannabis industry procedure, because insects can chow down on your buds and produce diminishing returns.
Also important is the implementation of safe and natural pest control methods. Pest managers have to mitigate crop loss of thousands and thousands of marijuana plants safely, while understanding worker protection standards, local and federal requirements and various other compliance regulations.
12. Staff Accountant
What they do: Every business needs someone to keep track of their money, and the cannabis industry is no different.
Accounting jobs in the cannabis industry grew during the pandemic, as sales boomed when people were stuck at home and looking to pass the time. Accountants are helpful in the pot industry because they can give compliance and advisory services, which are super helpful to cannabis businesses.
Often, accounting work can be done remotely.
11. Territory Sales Manager
What they do: Territory sales managers work with potential business clients, train other sales employees and report on sales-related data and activities. They also usually have to travel to dispensaries and retail locations, facilitating events and figuring out what products are working and what aren't.
These cannabis sales managers will need to know a lot about the marijuana industry, as well as competing cannabis businesses. Sales managers typically need a business background, with business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales experience, as well as management skills.
10. Extraction Lab Managers
What they do: Large-scale cannabis companies can employ a good number of people who work in the labs. That company might then want to hire an extraction lab manager.
These highly paid cannabis industry workers manage the day-to-day operations of the lab. Companies typically require at least a bachelor's degree in chemistry, engineering or other related fields, as well as relevant experience working as a lab director.
And, of course, you'll need to be familiar with cannabis extraction and all compliance laws.
What they do: Cannabis microbiologists analyze samples, evaluate data and interpret those findings to management and other team members.
Microbiologists need at least a bachelor's degree in microbiology or a related science.
8. Compliance Manager
What they do: One of the most important aspects of cannabis production is making sure everything is done lawfully and according to local and federal regulations.
Compliance managers keep team members up to date on all legal and regulatory matters that can impact operations. They also make sure everything is being done to compliance and implement new rules or make changes where necessary.
Compliance managers need an in-depth knowledge of cannabis laws and regulations, and preferably have compliance-related experience.
7. Tissue Culture Manager
What they do: Tissue culture managers are in charge of other tissue culture techs and are responsible for overseeing all aspects of micropropagation.
They also have to document proper practices, track tissue culture inventory management and provide direction and supervision for those on the micropropagation team.
These jobs require at least a couple of years of tissue culture experience as well as a couple of years worth of management or supervisory experience.
6. Cannabis Dispensary Manager
What they do: Pot shops need retail managers just like any other brick-and-mortar business.
Dispensary managers train and hire (and fire) employees, manage inventory, interact with customers, implement and enact company policies, and make sure that everything going on inside the shop is prim, proper and legal.
Dispensary manager jobs typically require previous retail management experience and knowledge of the marijuana industry.
What they do: Agronomists are expert growers. They're soil experts and know how to grow, cultivate and genetically alter marijuana plants for new kinds of strains. Also known as "crop doctors," (or in this case, "weed doctors"), they're responsible for improving crop yield and durability.
Agronomists need a strong knowledge of chemistry, biology, earth science and other related fields. According to Cannabiz Team, agronomists had a 7 percent increase in median salary from 2019 to 2020, from $80,500 to $86,750.
4. Chief Scientific Officer
What they do: The chief scientific officer position is an executive role that oversees all science, research and tech operations at a cannabis company.
CSOs usually have a master's or Ph.D. and extensive industry experience (this is one of the top positions across the entire field, so expect high requirements).
CSOs need to train and supervise all laboratory staff and keep up on the latest marijuana industry research and insights.
3. Master Grower/Director of Cultivation
What they do: Master growers are in charge of the cultivation of marijuana plants. Essentially, a plant's potency, its ability to thrive and everything else related to growing and cloning the plants are up to the master grower. They're vital to a company's operation, so they're paid well.
Master growers must have a background in horticulture and usually need experience managing a greenhouse. Smaller operations, where there might be a yield of only 20 pounds a month, will pay less for master growers. Large-scale operations at an established company are the way to go.
According to Cannabiz Team, this job had 16 percent median increase in salary from 2019 to 2020, making it one of the top cannabis industry jobs with the most salary growth.
2. Manufacturing Director of Operations
What they do: Manufacturing directors oversee production operations, making sure everything is running smooth and in accordance with industry requirements. They also need to hit sales targets, negotiate material prices with sellers, track projects and establish long-term strategic plans.
This is a high-paying, executive position that requires a substantial amount of related experience. Think at least 10 years of experience in things like manufacturing, maintenance, facilities and inventory control, as well as leadership experience and an in-depth knowledge of industry practices.
1. Chief Financial Officer
What they do: The chief financial officer position is a highly skilled one. CFOs need to drive the company's financial planning, manage vendor relationships, implement investment strategies, evaluate cash flow and manage all other financial analysts and controllers underneath them.
Since they're directly in charge of how the company spends its money, CFOs are typically paid very, very well. They're even paid more than master growers.
But that shouldn't be a surprise. Across every industry, when you work in a position that works with money, it typically pays well.