CANNAINVESTOR Magazine March / April 2017 - Page 96

The grow master, the individual responsible for cultivating cannabis, is often compared to a master chef in a restaurant. Grow masters tend to be in high demand, and in many states it's a seller’s market. In many cases grow masters can earn over $100,000 annually, but there is often a high employee turnover rate.

Bud trimmers take the freshly harvested cannabis plant and cut the flower from the stem, a tedious job, but more attractive to many than being a barista at Starbucks or working the counter at a McDonald’s. The Seattle Times recently stated that bud trimmers were being paid between $12 and $15 per hour. Contrast this hourly rate with that of Starbucks employees, who according to, earn an average of $9.43 an hour.

The Seattle Times also stated that gardeners and extract artists were earning between $50,000 and $90,000 annually, certainly a living wage that fits into Trump’s criteria for “good paying jobs.”

Extracts and concentrates provide the opportunity for higher-margin and proprietary products. In many somewhat mature cannabis states, with Colorado at the top of the list, estimates suggest that extracts and concentrates, or products derived from them, including vape pen cartridges, tinctures, capsules, and edibles are generating close to 40 percent of retail sales. While the number of jobs for “extract artists” are increasing at a fast-rate, increasingly many extract artists are finding themselves displaced by new employees with advanced college degrees including process engineering.

In states that allow edible cannabis products, there is an increasing demand for workers with experience and skills in food production including the manufacture of baked products and candies.

The large and growing number of dispensaries and retail stores also need employees, including both budtenders and store managers. Managers of dispensaries and retail stores are similar to managers of any other type of retail store, but they must have the skills and desire to work in a highly-regulated industry. Forbes estimates that a good cannabis dispensary or store manager could earn $75,000 annually.