[US] The Cannabis Economy Jobs In Highest Demand And What They Pay

Cannabis recruiting company Vangst has released its annual salary guide for 2019 and it demonstrates that with more states legalising medical or recreational cannabis sales, and newly emerged areas of growth maturing, the cannabis job market is strong, Forbes reports.

Results show total cannabis job opportunities increasing by 79 per cent from 2018 to 2019. In 2019 an estimated 211,000 full-time employees will be part of the legal cannabis industry. A predicted 414,000 new jobs will be created in the states in 2021, according to expected growth estimates in the report.

Industry positions in high demand at present include Cultivation Technicians, Trimmers, Budtenders, Brand Ambassadors, Directors of Cultivation, and Delivery Drivers. However, a significant amount of these jobs will not be full-time or year-round. By 2020 seasonal employees and freelancers - also known as “on-demand talent” - are reportedly likely to account for around 40 per cent of the average company’s workforce.

The overview offered by Vangst considers four main components of the industry: plant cultivation, lab testing and THC/CBD extraction, product manufacturing, and retail sales. The report breaks down the best paid and most popular jobs in each area and provides adjusted salary averages and a benefits overview. 

In the lab or extraction segment of the industry, extraction, quality or compliance managers earn approximately $68,000. The grow director on a cannabis farm is likely to earn around $87,000. The report includes salary multipliers to allow adjustments for experience levels and business location.

The legal cannabis marketplace faces many employment-related challenges according to Vangst’s findings. The high turnover rate of hourly workers such as retail employees and bud trimmers means company owners may end up paying more than they had expected and managers are spending additional time training new employees. 

Some lawyers, CPAs and others remain hesitant to join the industry because it remains federally illegal. Cannabis businesses can encounter complications in their attempts to offer to match federally-backed retirement and health insurance plans.

The industry is on track to expand to new markets soon, even though cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance; putting state businesses in a precarious legal position and significantly restricting the volume of medical research occurring. 

At present nine states have cannabis issues on their 2020 ballots. The adult-use votes will be taken in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, New Jersey, North Dakota, and New York. The new medical use states could potentially be Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, and South Dakota.