Job Recruiters Say These 3 Jobs in the Cannabis Industry Command the Highest Salaries | Marijuana

Job Recruiters Say These 3 Jobs in the Cannabis Industry Command the Highest Salaries

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People can make a few extra bucks in the cannabis business — they just have to be willing to pack up and move to the eastern US.

Businesses in states with emerging medical and recreational marijuana markets are paying big bucks to attract experienced employees from states such as California, Washington and Oregon, where the cannabis industry and accompanying workforces are already well established, according to James Yagielo, co-founder and CEO of HempStaff, a medical marijuana training and recruiting company.

“East of the Mississippi is definitely paying a lot higher than West of the Mississippi,” Yagielo said.

Cannabis operators in East Coast states that are newer to legalizing recreational or medical cannabis are having to broaden their geographic search for people with cannabis business experience, forcing them to pay a premium to convince experienced employees to move, according to Yagielo.

His firm recently placed a manager from a California dispensary with a cannabis seller in Maryland. The owner of the business was looking for someone with at least 10 years of experience  managing dispensaries. Medical marijuana has been legal in Maryland for less than five years, making it impossible for anyone from Maryland to have that amount of experience.  

They negotiated an annual salary of $91,000 for the manager, well above the $51,000 he was earning at his California position, according to Yagielo. He had no shortage of west-to-east recruiting examples to offer.

Yagielo said he found a master cultivator in Los Angeles for the same job in Pennsylvania. The cultivator accepted $120,000 per year to make the move – a $30,000 raise.

Robin Ann Morris, CEO and owner of MaryJane Agency LLC in Sandusky, Ohio, listed the salary ranges for the top three jobs that companies need:

Data: Salary ranges provided by Robin Ann Morris, CEO of MaryJane Agency. Graphic: Allena Braithwaite/Marijuana.com

  • Grow master (master cultivator): $100,000 – $120,000
  • Extraction specialist (master extractor): $90,000 – $120,000
  • Dispensary manager: $80,000 – $120,000

Morris believes another reason for the high salaries is the small talent pool, which seems to force companies to compete with one another for top employees.

“I’m hearing that companies are finding it hard to keep good talent,” she said.

Yagielo, who has a list of top salaries that was similar to Morris’s, has found that master extractors are the most sought after and highly paid talent in the cannabis industry. He said most employers expect a PhD level of education in a discipline such as chemistry from a potential master extractor candidate.

“We’ve seen salaries for a master extractor go up to $180,000 a year,” Yagielo said.

Master extractors tend to garner big offers because their performance is directly tied to profits. They are charged with streamlining processes – helping a company get better and refining terpenes or cannabinoids – which in turn can earn a business more profits.

Yagielo’s firm has requests from employers looking for master extractors with experience working for big-name corporations, such as Johnson and Johnson, or from reputable pharmaceutical companies, such as Merck.

They also seek master cultivators who have been cultivating cannabis for at least five years. His agency has placed master cultivators with salaries as high as $150,000, while candidates with experience as dispensary managers are also in demand in the eastern US, Yagielo said, noting those managers have been landing $75,000 annual salaries in the newer markets.

Though experience in the cannabis industry tops the list of qualities employers are seeking for all candidates, dispensary owners may be willing to hire assistant managers with experience in other industries.

Yagielo has seen coffee shop managers leave their jobs to become an assistant dispensary manager to get experience before moving up to a management post.

Not all jobs are as lucrative. For candidates without in-demand experience,  there’s “a massive drop in salaries,” as they tend to be labor-related – working the fields, delivery, or budtenders, according to Yagielo.

Beyond seeking experience, Morris said her agency has been asked by employers to get them candidates with a passion for the industry. 

“This industry is like one big extended family with a common interest,” she said, “And we all seem to bond due to our love of cannabis.”

About Author

Don Jergler is the Regional West Editor for Insurance Journal and a veteran business and real estate reporter. He has contributed coverage for the Long Beach Press Telegram, Long Beach Register, Los Angeles Times Custom Publishing and a variety of trade publications.

45 Comments

  1. Sadly, the talent pool does have a good number of professional horticulturists that are overlooked due to their lack of professional experience with cannabis. These are the people that can look at a bottle of overpriced commercial cannabis fertilizer and see it for what it is. These professionals producing orchids, fresh market tomatoes already function under super thin margins based on producing superior quality crops turned in as many possible rotations with the fewest inputs. Lots of these horticulturists working with different crops have a real passion for cannabis too but the keeping it in the family mentality just drives up costs unnecessarily while keeping a lot of great people out of an industry that desperately still needs more professionals to achieve what is possible.

    • Part of the problem too is that many of the legalization laws prohibit people with experience growing when and where it was/is illegal.

      Eliminates those with the most growing experience.

    • hi I don’t know if I’m what you’re looking for but my name is Ramon and I have a really good head on my a strong head on my shoulders and I’m a family man and I’m looking for work right now I have a 4 month old daughter in a four year old that I’m fighting custody battle with and I’m really quick learner I catch on quickly and anyting I see I can see it one time have a constructive debate about it and then have it the first time I see it down and I like working hard to support my family even if I have to break my hands or to hard labor I just need a good paying job right now and I’m 22 years old I have a lot of job references and a lot of people will tell you how much of a good worker I am and they’re going to want you to send me either way because they’re going to want me to come back to work for them but I have my recreational card but I have my recreational card and I like but I have my recreational card and I like smoking weed but I have my recreational card and I like smoking weed my mom does on her own grow and she help out patients that really mean marijuana CBD cannabutter Canna oil edibles constraint so yeah maybe I can help your business as well because I don’t like to stay at the bottom I like to work my way up and I do is so quick and and well that people would want me to stay make it into a career so please hit me back up hit me up with your Gmail or add me on Facebook
      and I have to get right back to you about that job

    • Time for someone to start a training academy on everything cannabis. Including scientific studies for developing strains. Oils, edibles. Etc. This could be very beneficial before thw junior colleges tap into that educational market.

      • Valerie Favazza on

        Vicki, there was a sort of university for marijuana growing instruction and other classes concerning the industry. It was in Oakland, CA and it was raised and shut down.

  2. Timothy mason on

    High I have been smoking for 48 years I am 58 I have not work for 10 years I know I would be just the stoner you need I am a very nice to people and a happy person let’s talk😎

  3. The main thing about the ‘cannabis’ industry is the industry..,industrialists are only concerned with money and much less so with the potentials for true empowerment that completely freeing the cannabis plant for people (and not the market) could actually do.

  4. So interesting to me. I am a nurse and would love to help to educate and to assist those who benefit from the use of medical marijuana.

  5. Joseph Shelnutt on

    I’m just a stoner from the 70s. Im 61, retired and would love any part time job! Have many skills!

  6. I would like to be a reviewer. I have fibromyalgia and it has been an experience sampling strains and edibles.

  7. Given the opportunity, I would love to give unsure and interested dabblers a vivid experience with words. A critical perhaps, but more so, a guide or gentle persuader.

  8. I am a grower with 10 years experience, now I am learning how to do extractions, and I have an AA degree in business management . Want to learn the business

  9. Yes very interesting position available. I do have my NJ Medical card and I have MS. I would like to get involved with any of these positions or whatever is available. My State does not have edibles as of yet, I really hope soon. I would recommend ant sativa strain for uplifting,relief of pain and anxiety. Thank you.

    • Not any Sativa strain.

      ex. you never want to give a patient who suffers from ptsd a sativa. Sativa can increase anxiety and cause the heart to race. It can also trigger seizures to those effected by epilepsy.

      Jack Herer is one of the few Sativa strains known to not have a heart racing effect.
      Otherwise to I try to recommend a Hybrid Sativa Dominate strain. Allowing the awareness like a sativa but still really mellow at the same time.

    • Hi Robert K. I see where you mentioned that you have MS. I strongly suggest you search youtube for “juice plus and MS”. My sister has it and I’ve just recommended it to her. There are some amazing testimonials out there. If you know anyone in the business I believe you would benefit from it. I am a health coach and I truly believe in whole foods and natural remedies for healing. I know this is unrelated to the post but I try to take every opportunity I can to share good healing news with others.

  10. When preparation meets opportunity, you will be successful. I have been growing and refining cannabis strains for growers in North Dakota for over a decade. I also hope to do seminars and teach medical patients how to grow their own organic medicine.
    We don’t have a functional program yet. I donate cured buds to people that need it. State run program’s will never truly be helpful to patients. The states gouge licensed growers so bad, the immediately have to grow for quantity to cover expenses.
    While numerous tests are expensive and security requirements are outrageous. Quality genetics, practices and a proper cureing of buds is rushed or skipped all together. Craft cannabis growers must be allowed to compete in an open and fair market.
    Farmerlion. MedDakotabis

  11. Laytonville420 on

    No Grow master or Extraction specialist would ever really take these kind of jobs unless they just wanted to go the legal root even than they are still putting themselves at risk. If they really are that talented at what they do they make way way way more that that as a salary per year.

  12. I been digging graves and working in the funeral industry for the last 25years, I would love to help an up and coming business that’s just beginning in the Mary Jane industry, lol, I already leave in the southeast so would not have to travel far, I am 61 but I have a few working years left, I am willing and able and a fast learner , I also have some experience in farming when I was a youngster on my Dads farm

  13. I’ve been managing dispensaries in California for the past 7 years, and make around $135,000.00 a year. I made my first $100,000.00 at age 18 in this industry. $150,000.00 with bonuses. I paid my way through college with this job, and will be purchasing my first house at 25. Supporting 2 sons and still capable to live lavishly. Didn’t do anything with my RN license, because the cannabis industry is where the money is now. Really recommend this job for young entrepreneurs.

    • Gee how wonderful for you! I was born and raised in the state of California! I have been fucked by this state because when I was in a domestic abuse relationship cops didn’t give a F****. So I left this state for 24 years come back with two degrees and can’t get any employment! Yet YOU are young enough to be my child and making money and have the ability to by a home!!! Man I remember in the old days people like you were considered drug smuggler and you would have ended up in jail instead of enjoying the fruits of your labor and my money!!!!!

  14. Hello,
    My experience of being a business owner for 30 years, helping Clientele to take part in their treatment plan. Having smoked for the past 41 years and I have experienced all kinds of strains. I also know what it is to grow a healthy crop, break it down and process.

  15. I am hoping Trulieve will open a dispensary in Titusville, Florida and consider employing this 63 yr. old Disabled patient. (50 years experience)

    • Sorry but do t count on it! I’m in my 50’s and have two degrees and can’t even get employment as a F**** budtender because I’m considered too old! Which is what I have been experiencing for some time no matter what I apply for or get hired for! All these employers want babies! Not the Baby Boomers who have more intellect and responsibilities! We are closer to our retirement we are going to stick around because we need the employment!

  16. I think this is Bull Shit!!!! I have tried to get employment At dispensaries, but I’m considered too old! Hell I was smoking before all of these kids were born! I knew and know my priorities to the point I now have two degrees, an associates in Accounting and a Bachelors in Forensic accounting but the damn school I got my bachelors in didn’t assist me in finding the correct internship!
    So now I’m stuck paying on a degree I can’t use so that’s 60,000 I have basically thrown away!
    But they want people with 10 years of cultivation experience!!!! So please tell me how th F****** I’m supposed to obtain employment then!!!!!

    • Javier Ricardo Ramirez on

      It’s never too late to be an entrepreneur. Financial education in helping families to save money property and protection.

  17. John Langenfelder on

    I have great knowledge of marijuana, smoking for over forty years. I have business / retail management degree. I would love to work in the industry and be able to help others in Maryland with their ailments.

  18. I would love to get into the industry I have so much knowledge to it I believe they should start a campus or something and love this is Spencer he’s out in San Bernardino County they only hire girls and they asked to take pictures to send so it makes it hard to get into the industry

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