Marijuana Industry Entrepreneurs Enjoy Hottest Career Opportunities

By John Levy

The marijuana market is among the fastest growing of all time. It is also becoming more socially acceptable, and as such, many young people are opting for a career in the cannabis industry. According to Forbes, the pot sector will create more employment than manufacturing by 2020. There are many job opportunities in the cannabis industry and thousands are taking advantage of them.

Job listings are available abundantly online. People are flocking to cannabis job fairs in droves. Companies employ many attendees at a time, but more people are just trying to get into the space. Most have little to no experience working with marijuana, but they believe wholeheartedly in the product and because these jobs are typically unique, there is place for anyone willing to learn.

The cannabis industry is not only attractive to the youth. Older folk are also involving themselves, particularly those too old for the traditional workforce, yet with bachelor’s degrees. Store managers are not especially unique, but marijuana industry entrepreneurs can choose from other job positions found nowhere else.

These are currently the top five job opportunities in the cannabis industry:

  1. Store Manager
  2. Grow Master
  3. Bud Trimmer
  4. Extraction Technician
  5. Owner

1. Store Manager

Managers play a crucial role in any retail environment, including recreational outlets and medical dispensaries. Store managers earn a very good salary in the cannabis industry. At the very least, they can make upwards of $75,000 per year, and they can expect a bonus based on gross sales.

Commission can be particularly lucrative when you consider how some Californian dispensaries turn over up to $10 million annually, which adds up to a very healthy bonus. As with traditional jobs, these employees also get health insurance and vacation pay. There is also room for job growth, as many managers become supervisors overseeing several stores.

2. Grow Master

You need a unique skillset to become a cannabis grow master. This person has the responsibility of cultivating the different marijuana strains. Much like a master chef, it is a seller’s market for grow masters. There is a very high demand for people with growing skills, and because of this, they can command their own salaries. Some earn a basic wage of $100,000 per year and a profit percentage.

Currently, the best cultivators originate from states with the longest legalization period, such as California and Colorado. They are already used to earning exceptional wages and working by themselves, and they have had the time to perfect their skills and solidify their reputations. The future will likely have celebrity cultivators, much like the celebrity chefs we have today.

3. Bud Trimmer

Bud trimming is an entry-level position, but it will get you into the cannabis industry. These employees earn the lowest wages. In California, bud trimmers typically make approximately $13 per hour, but there is always work available for them. Some earn according to the pound, which adds up to between $100 and $200 for every pound of bud they trim.

In medical marijuana dispensaries, bud trimmers are valuable. They remove flowers from stems and it is paramount that they waste as little as possible, cut only what is necessary, and ensure buds are in pristine condition. They also separate and weigh leaves, stems, and buds. Although it is certainly a tedious job, bud trimming is one of the easiest ways to work your way into the cannabis industry.

4. Extraction Technician

When people think of marijuana, they picture the flowers. However, cannabis extracts are becoming increasingly popular, accounting for as much as 40 percent of sales at some outlets. Considered “extract artists,” these employees typically have PhDs and unique skills. Salaries are as high as $125,000 in profitable dispensaries.

Some states only allow patients to use medical marijuana extracts. According to the New York State Department of Health, patients in New York may not smoke pot. They may only use it as an extract. Although expensive machines have the actual job of extracting, technicians have the expertise and knowledge to make them work, as well as the experience to provide consistent quality to patients.

5. Owner

Owning a marijuana business is not as fun a job as it sounds. It comes with one headache after another. People think owners make millions, but this is untrue in most cases. There are banking and legal worries, as well as a constantly shifting regulatory environment. Marijuana business owners cannot claim the same deductions other businesses can, making expenses extremely high.

For many cannabis business owners, it takes years for revenues to pay off initial capital investments. They fork out millions of dollars and only see profits years later. Even so, the marijuana industry is in its earliest phase, and with forecasters predicting decades of explosive growth, owning a cannabis business can be both lucrative and far more pleasant than the daily grind of traditional jobs.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering a career in the cannabis industry, then there are plenty of job opportunities already available. If you take the time to hone specialized skills, then you can command the best salary in a market desperately looking for you. Consider taking a cultivation or extraction course if you are serious about joining the ranks of marijuana industry entrepreneurs.


John Levy blogs for Pot Valet, a leading company to provide cannabis delivery service in Los Angeles.

 

Guest Post: Cannabis Working Conditions Vary, Need Better Controls

By Edmonde Franco

Guest Editorial

WASHINGTON: I remember sitting on my living room floor smoking a joint with friends while watching Saturday Night Live. Laraine Newman was doing an ad for the American Dope Growers Union. We laughed so hard tears were running down our cheeks.

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It was April 1977. Looking back on it now maybe it isn’t so funny after all. Maybe it is an idea whose time has come.

One evening I was talking with friends about the possibilities of investing in the new cannabis industry. We wondered if it would be a good bet for the future, since the clone to customer chain seemed to be where the real money was to be made.

So I took a job at a Washington State producer/processor. No better way to see and learn an
industry than from the bottom up.

I lasted less than a month. Not because the job was hard but because I was asked to work in a closed room with an non-ventilated propane heater. Carbon monoxide poisoning is not on my list of ways I want to die.

When my concerns were brushed aside I quit. I wasn’t there because I needed a job. I could easily walk away.

Sadly that is not the case for the many people still out there working in conditions just like that.  “Just go outside if you start to feel dizzy” is not the proper way to handle the situation.

Recent articles on pesticides found on retail samples of cannabis raise a larger question for me.   Do you think the worker who was told to spray that pesticide was wearing anything more than a paper mask? Was he wearing even that?

I began to wonder if what I was seeing was typical of the industry so I talked to other workers from producer/processors around the state. I was not surprised to find conditions ran the full gamut from serious laboratory conditions to down right sweat shops.  Most seem to fall somewhere in between.

I did hear a fair number of people who complained about problems with getting paid. Some had to wait past scheduled paydays for their checks and a number complained of checks bouncing but eventually getting paid.

I did notice a large number of people were hired as contract agricultural workers, not as employees.   This leaves the worker open to paying their own taxes and payments. It also gives them none of the protections given to employees.

Trimmigrants Flock To California To Process Marijuana

CALIFORNIA: Except for traffic passing through on Highway 101, this northern Mendocino County city is relatively quiet much of the year. But for three months in the fall, it gets an influx of world travelers lured by marijuana-trimming jobs, temporarily swelling the town’s population of under 5,000 and instilling it with an international flavor.

They’re called trimmigrants and they are an integral part of the North Coast’s lucrative marijuana industry, estimated to be worth billions of dollars and widely considered to be a major economic driver in Mendocino and Humboldt counties. But, like the pot industry itself, reaction to their presence is mixed. The migrant workers contribute to the economy, but many effectively are homeless. Though the growers who employ them typically provide housing or a place to camp, when not working, they camp illegally in parks, alleys and along railroad tracks and rivers. Some can’t find jobs and turn to panhandling and frequenting food banks.

The annual march of migrant marijuana workers has occurred for years throughout the pot-rich North Coast, from Sonoma County to the Oregon border and beyond during the traditional fall cannabis harvest season, which runs roughly from mid-September through the end of November. The phenomenon has gained a worldwide reputation, and now draws an international crowd to rural places that are not on the usual tourist guide list.

 

This Newspaper Is Looking for a Marijuana Critic

OREGON: The employment outlook is looking up for cannabis aficionados.

The Oregonian, the main newspaper in Portland, is looking for a critic to review marijuana strains and other weed-related products. The job listing for the freelance position demands an “experienced cannabis consumer” with deep knowledge of the strains of marijuana available in the state.

The role will also include writing about the state’s “robust cannabis culture and marketplace.”

 

New MJ Research Report: Washington Canna-businesses Plan To Grow Organizations By 200% In 2015

Last month the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) hosted the first ever cannabis job fair in Spokane, WA.  As part of our MJ Research’s effort to provide business intelligence to participants in the legal cannabis industry, we surveyed more than 110 hiring managers, employees and job candidates online and at the event.

From analysis of this survey, conducted by Analytically Correct and the MJBA, we learned that the Washington State companies who responded to the survey plan to grow their companies by 200% in 2015.  The majority of these positions will be operations positions such as growers, trimmers and bud tenders.  Over 50% of these positions will pay under $30,000 per year.

Washington State companies who responded to the survey plan to grow their companies by 200% in 2015.

Analytically Correct CEO Joe Armes presents the MJ Research Jobs Report to industry participants at the Marijuana Business Association

 

Managing HR For Your Cannabis Industry Business

By Aubrey Armes

WASHINGTON: These are exciting and turbulent times in the cannabis industry.  With more and more states legalizing cannabis, the possibility and potential for business growth just keeps getting bigger.  Whether you are in the industry because you are a passionate activist, you simply see dollar signs or anywhere in between, it doesn’t change the fact that the cannabis industry is a target for scrutiny.

Unless you have training in Human Resources, there’s a good chance you are in violation of some employment law(s) and are risking the financial well-being of your company.

Employees are both your greatest asset and your greatest pain.  Sourcing and retaining talented staff who are passionate about your mission is vital to your success.

I’ve heard countless stories of employees embellishing or flat out lying about their skills and previous work experience.  Not only is this annoying and a complete waste of time, it also opens up potential financial risk.

Jobseekers:  Don’t lie.  Really.  You are more likely to have a career in cannabis if you are honest about your skills than if you lie.  Plenty of employers are willing to train staff if they have an aptitude for learning and a personality that matches the company culture.  Nothing will save your job if you lie about your experiences.

Employers: Do you have clear written job descriptions that are ADA compliant so you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the employee knew what was expected of her/him?  Do you have copies of your interview questions and answers that prove that you asked all the proper questions and the employee misrepresented their talent?  Are you retaining these interview notes for the appropriate period of time?  Are you clearly outlining your company culture that addresses employee expectations, team work, your mission, etc?

Do you absolutely need to have all of this?  No.  Will it save you immense amount of time and money?  Yep.

Are you able to fire the employee that lied or misrepresented themselves?  The real question is: can you prove it?

The burden of proof lies on the employer, not the employee.  At the very least, you will incur Unemployment Benefits cost.  For businesses operating on a start-up shoe string budget, paying unnecessary Unemployment Benefits due to lack of documentation or poor hiring and on-boarding practices can have a huge impact and is certainly worth avoiding.

All it takes is one pissed-off employee to make your life miserable and jeopardize your business that you’ve worked so hard for.

Let trained professionals assist you in creating best practices that will reduce your risks, keep your business in compliance and save you time and money.

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Aubrey is the Director of HR Services for Analytically Correct and is a certified Professional Human Resources consultant with over 15 years of human resources and leadership development experience, specializing in fast-past small and medium sized businesses including start-ups and established businesses.  Her passion lies in helping organizations identify and communicate their company culture, leadership training and development and keeping companies in compliance and out of trouble.  Aubrey can be reached at aubrey@analyticallycorrect.com.

 

 

 

 

Will Work For Weed

WASHINGTON: Start practicing your elevator pitch — the 60-second speech to land you a dream job in the cannabis industry.

The Marijuana Business Association is hosting a job fair and networking event featuring up to 50 cannabis employers and keynote speakers from across the state. Spokane is host to the third MJBA job fair to date. MJBA co-founder David Rheins says upward of 100 jobs were filled at last year’s job fair in Bellevue.

“You can’t find a cannabis job on Craiglist or Monster.com,” he says. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to meet this many employers who are hiring in one room.”

So bring your résumé.

Employers including BioTrackTHC, Triple T Farms, Blue Roots Cannabis and the Walla Walla Cannabis Company will be on hand, alongside speakers like Eden Labs CEO AC Braddock, who will address cannabis business models and the gender pay gap. Both skilled and unskilled workers in industries as varied as web design and agriculture are encouraged to attend.

“This green rush is unlike other economic booms,” Rheins says. “There are more opportunities in this new market, and employers are looking for workers across the spectrum — from insurance salesmen, to growers, to bankers, to security guards.”

MJBA is a Seattle-based trade organization founded in 2012. The organization is 420 businesses strong, with chapters across Washington, Colorado and Oregon. MJBA provides networking and business platforms for the recreational marijuana industry, with sponsored banking seminars, meetups and job fairs.

“We have a very mature cannabist culture, but an underserviced industry that doesn’t have the tools to function,” Rheins says. “When voters approved the commercialization of cannabis, it didn’t provide a framework for real estate, or insurance, or the very basic business principals that this emerging industry needs to flourish under such scrutiny.”

The association essentially teaches “Business 101” to the hundreds of mom-and-pop stores that have opened since I-502 passed. The job fairs aim to not only highlight, but normalize professional trades in the marijuana industry, and bring together the once-underground community.

“Our disadvantage — our lack of infrastructure — is also our biggest advantage,” Rheins says. “We can build a more intentional market.” ♦

Spokane Cannabis Job Fair • Sat, June 20, from 10 am-4:20 pm • Free • 21+ • Spokane Convention Center • 334 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. • mjba.net • (425) 892-9221

 

Best Job Posting Ever Seeks Sex-Loving Pothead

COLORADO:  Do you like sex and marijuana? Well then this job is for you.

Last week, The Denver Post’s marijuana news site The Cannabist posted what may be the best job description — and job — ever.

Sex columnist, with weed focus (apply by Oct. 1),” the headline for the job listing reads.

And of course the punning for such a position has already begun on Twitter:

"Sex Pot" Trending Meme

“Sex Pot” Trending Meme

The Cannabist launched just days before Colorado’s legal recreational marijuana dispensaries first opened their doors to sell weed to adults on Jan. 1, 2014. It has since covered all things marijuana — from business to politics to strain reviews — and will now, apparently, cover sex.

So, what exactly will a “sex columnist, with a weed focus” write about? Here’s what’s required for the job:

Our new freelance columnist will write about sex, relationships, intimacy, gender issues and more as it all relates to a world where marijuana is becoming legal — and oftentimes present in the bedroom. Our columnist will write about his or her own history, address trends, review related products and answer reader questions. This is a paid freelance position, and our ideal candidate will truly put him or herself out there.

Cannabis Employers Seek Workers Of Weed At Seattle Job Fair Sat, Sept 27th

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of job seekers will join dozens of employers as the first crop of Washington’s legal cannabis businesses go to market at “Job Fair Seattle,” presented by the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA) and cannabis industry job board Weedhire.com.

“More than 70% of Washington’s legal marijuana businesses are planning to hire, according to our MJ Research report,” said David Rheins, MJBA CEO and founder.  “The new industry is predicted to create more than 35,000 new high paying jobs in the next year — agricultural jobs, retail jobs, warehousing and transportation jobs, sales jobs, security, legal, accounting and technology.  The Green Rush is expected to reinvigorate communities around the state.”

Vendors at the industry event will include many of Washington State’s top employers who are actively seeking to fill immediate openings in the fast-growing recreational  marijuana, medical cannabis and industrial hemp industries.

“Bring your resume — or better yet, sign up for a free Weedhire.com profile —  and come for a full day of job hunting tools, tips. training, and  face-to-face time with employers seeking to fill immediate openings,” said David Bernstein, CEO of Weedhire.com

“We are very excited to be a Founding Corporate Member of the MJBA and to work with the “chamber of commerce of cannabis” to sponsors these events as an onramp for anyone interested in working in the legal marijuana industry,”  Bernstein said.

When: September 27th, 2014

Where: Red Lion Hotel, 11211 Main Street, Bellevue, WA 98004

Who Should Attend: Cannabis Industry Employers, Recruiters, and Job Seekers

Advanced Admission: $20; $25 Day of Show

HIGH PAYING JOBS in WASHINGTON’S LEGAL MARIJUANA INDUSTRY. GREEN RUSH starts here

‘Bud’-ding Pot Industry Lights Up A Whole New Economy

NEW JERSEY: The budding pot industry is creating a tech boomlet.

Entrepreneurs David Bernstein and Vlad ‎Stelmak are two of the growing number of businesspeople to get a whiff of the possible profits as more than 20 states have now passed pot-friendly laws.

Their brainstorm? A website and app — WeedHire.com— devoted to helping people find jobs in the expanding marijuana industry.

The Fair Lawn, NJ, duo launched the site in May after seeing news footage of people waiting for hours to get into a marijuana job fair in Colorado.

“We were sitting together and we saw this story come up and we were just like, wow,” said Bernstein, who likes to call the dot-com boom surrounding the pot industry the “pot-com boom.”

The pair are hoping their site, which lists more than 250 jobs — including a photographer for WeedMaps and a lawyer for the Arizona Medical Marijuana Certification Center — will save their struggling business AnythingIT, a penny stock company that lost $1.3 million last year.

They aim to charge employers to post jobs, as well as to access users’ résumés and to conduct background checks on potential job candidates.