Business is booming in the cannabis industry, and the number of jobs in cannabis is steadily climbing as more states move toward legalization. Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in 31 states, while nine states and the District of Colombia have passed legislation legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Dispensaries are popping up in cities across the country, and food, beverage, and wellness brands are incorporating THC and CBD into new products.
This ‘green rush’ shows no signs of slowing down. Over the past 18 months, listings for jobs in cannabis have increased by 690 percent. Approximately 125,000 to 160,000 full-time workers are currently employed in the cannabis industry, and this figure is projected to increase to 300,000 by 2020. As the industry grows, so do salaries for jobs in cannabis — over the past year, the average salary for cannabis jobs has increased by 16.1 percent. While wages can vary based on employee qualifications, experience, and company funding, these positions provide comfortable salaries and opportunities for advancement in a new and innovative industry.
1. Director of Cultivation | Average Salary: $88,000
The Director of Cultivation is responsible for managing cannabis growing operations and establishing standard operating procedures for the company in order to produce healthy, potent plants. They’re in charge of pest control, monitoring the nutrient content in the soil, and implementing the growing schedule. They also hire and train new employees, and ensure that the company is complying with all state and local regulations. Salaries for this role start around $47,000 annually, while highly qualified directors can earn over $250,000 annually.
2. Director of Extraction | Average Salary: $72,000
From designing extraction facilities to developing standard operating procedures that comply with regulations, the Director of Extraction oversees all aspects of cannabis extraction and refinement. They are also responsible for keeping laboratories up to date on health and safety codes and training employees. Starting salaries for the Director of Extraction role typically hover around $47,000 annually, and top employees can bring home up to $191,000 per year.
3. Compliance Manager | Average Salary: $62,500
The Compliance Manager is primarily in charge of ensuring that the company follows all state, local, and federal regulations. In addition, they track seed sales, perform internal compliance audits, and stay up to date on any changes in legislation concerning marijuana. They also educate staff on new regulations before they come into effect. Salaries for compliance managers can range from $45,000 all the way up to $149,000 annually.
4. Outside Sales Representative | Average Salary: $58,000
Sales Representatives create strategies for increasing company sales and handle account management. They also focus on customer relationships, devising new marketing initiatives, product branding, and connecting with new retail partners that can bring their products to more consumers. Starting salaries for sales representatives in the cannabis industry generally begin on the lower end at $28,000, but with top sales representatives earning $150,000 and up, there is plenty of room for growth.
5. Dispensary Store Manager | Average Salary: $56,250
The Dispensary Store Manager ensures that daily operations at their medical or recreational marijuana dispensary run smoothly and efficiently. They track sales, order new inventory, and keep up with new industry trends. They are also responsible for hiring, training, and managing the retail staff and ensuring that their dispensary operates within the limits of all regulations from the local to the federal level. Dispensary Store Managers can expect to start with salaries just over $41,000, and experienced and productive managers can earn up to $98,000 annually.
Jane Harkness is a freelance writer who provides blogging, copywriting, and proofreading services to startups, small businesses, and nonprofits. She works with clients in a variety of industries, including food and travel, and she also contributes political essays to several digital publications.