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Are These Really Six Great Jobs in the Legal Cannabis Industry?

By K.G. Trout

Pay Scale recently published an article that listed 6 Legal Marijuana Jobs and How to Get One.

It was OK, as far as it went, but it barely scratched the surface of the kinds of jobs that you’re reading about in the profiles of various Cannabis Industry businesses here on CBE.

For instance, there are surely a lot greater variety of jobs at places like the Northwest Patient Resource Center, or Medicine Man, Inc. (aka, the “Costco of Cannabis”), or Julie’s Natural Edibles. Those are just three of the cannabis businesses recently featured on CBE, and there are clearly a lot of great industry jobs at those places and many of the others we have written about here.

The point that is this list of six jobs on Pay Scale is interesting only because no one else is really writing about the many varied legal marijuana jobs that are out there.

More on that in a bit, but first, here are the jobs Pay Scale listed with a bit of their commentary as well as my own.

1. Edibles Manufacturer.

What Pay Scale says: “Residents of states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use can tell you about the unbelievable array of edible products available in their markets. … But creating, labeling, and marketing them in a competitive market that’s still trying to work out regulations isn’t easy. But, if you have the know-how, this is a very lucrative aspect of the business to consider.”

My 2 cents: Pay Scale is right on the money that this is a growing (and lucrative) part of the Cannabis Industry, but they don’t say anything about where you might acquire the “know-how” to get into marijuana edibles. You don’t just pull that kind of experience out of the air. They also don’t get specific about the various job options in the edible space.

2. Delivery driver

What Pay Scale says: “One available job in the industry that doesn’t require a lot of prior knowledge or training is the job of courier. One company in Los Angeles, SpeedWeed requires that all of their drivers are legal marijuana patients, that they have a reliable vehicle, a clean driving record, a valid driver’s license, and insurance.”

My 2 cents: Yes, a marijuana delivery driver IS a place you can get into the industry without much training or knowledge. But … the market for drivers in general is extremely competitive, especially given what places like Uber and Lyft are paying for drivers. Just what are some typical pay rates for marijuana delivery drivers in various markets? I wish Pay Scale had gotten into that.

3. Trimmer

What Pay Scale says: “This job doesn’t pay as well as the others in the industry, but there are many positions available in states where marijuana has been legalized for trimmers. … The process can be a bit tedious, but considering the availability of the positions and the little training required, this is work that many find desirable.”

My 2 cents: If your name is Pay Scale, shouldn’t you be a little more specific than just saying “this job doesn’t pay as well as others?” With a quick Google search, I found a number of people claiming to get $10-$12 per hour, and some as much as $15-$16. Pay Scale should have dug into that.

4. Glassblower

What Pay Scale says: “Glassblowers can manufacture pipes or other products to clients through local merchants, or by running their own shop. This job requires a tremendous amount of skill and artistry, and takes years to master.”

My 2 cents: Again, what exactly do these glassblowing jobs pay? It’s a fair question that this Pay Scale story should have given some insight into, and as I said before, a simple Google search will give you some perspective for what you might earn as a glassblower.

5. Dispensary Security

What Pay Scale says: “Because state laws don’t align with federal laws and regulations, dispensaries are unable to deposit their money in banks. All the more reason these jobs are springing up everywhere marijuana has been legalized. … This type of security work does differ from other jobs, but prior experience in the field would certainly be a huge benefit to someone seeking a position.”

My 2 cents: As with delivery drivers, this is a very competitive market. Here’s a story from Rolling Stone that we featured recently at CBE. It doesn’t dig into salaries, but it does give you better perspective for the jobs that marijuana security industry has available.

6. Budtender

What Pay Scale says: “A new word? Yes. (At least, according to some.) A new concept? Not so much. Budtenders are basically just like bartenders, or baristas, but with marijuana. They work the counter at dispensaries and offer expert advice on cannabis strains, edibles, and other products sold at their shop. You need a great deal of expertise for one of these positions, and excellent communication skills as well.”

My 2 cents: This was a little more useful than what they wrote about the other five jobs, but Pay Scale seems chronically unable to list any kind of a pay scale for any of the jobs on this list. You can do your own research again and probably get a good sense of the market in 10 minutes.

Why don’t you tell CBE what these jobs pay?

All of this nonsense with Pay Scale not wanting to list any marijuana industry pay scales made me think that the CBE readership probably has a great take on the hot, up-and-coming marijuana industry jobs, and, what they pay.

So here is my CBE challenge: Send me your comments on the marijuana job market — add them to the end of this post, or send them to me here — and I’ll write another column about it.

I am looking for anything you might have: What are good jobs to break into the industry, lucrative positions people can work up to, hot jobs that are just ramping up as the industry grows, and of course, what people wanting these positions can expect to get paid.

Let me know and we’ll see if we can’t do a little bit better than Pay Scale did here by adding some specifics and real Cannabis Industry know-how.

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