Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries, thanks to the recent surge in the legalization of adult and medical marijuana use in the U.S. Despite the economic devastation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, cannabis sales grew exponentially, and job opportunities in this expanding industry grew with them. Now, midway through 2021, the cannabis industry is worth more than $18 billion in the U.S. alone, creating more than 300,000 new full-time jobs and growing.
A few years ago, there were almost zero legitimate jobs in the cannabis industry, and the best many people could do was find a retail position in a smoke shop strictly for ‘tobacco’ use. Today, thousands are making a living from the cannabis industry in a wide range of positions. With demand for cannabis only continuing to increase, the cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing industries today.
So, you want to get in on the action and take advantage of this expanding market? Hemp Temps specializes in helping professionals find and get placed in the cannabis jobs of their dreams. We help our applicants earn the experience they will need to turn their passion for cannabis into a career. Hemp Temps has placed thousands of applicants, and can help you find a position that is right for you.
To help future cannabis professionals learn more about the industry and the opportunities available to them, we’ve created this guide to cannabis careers. Here, in part one, we’re taking an in-depth look at five common job titles in the cannabis industry, and sharing what it takes to earn each position:
If you are searching for cannabis jobs on a career website or database, the most common job title you’ll come across is “Trimmer.” Trimmers are typically hired without any previous experience as entry-level employees, so this is a great option if you are looking to get into the industry for the first time.
Trimmers have a simple, but slightly tedious job description: remove buds from stems, then trim buds to remove large leaves and extra material to improve aesthetic appeal and eliminate unusable waste. Trimmers must be fast, precise, and have a fine attention to detail to minimize waste.
Harvester or Cultivator
Slightly more technical than trimming, harvesting or cultivation are also entry level positions that involve physical/manual labor. Unlike trimmers who focus solely on the already dried cannabis plants, harvesters and cultivators help growers care for and harvest the growing crops. Harvesters/cultivators may spend extended periods of time outside, and should be comfortable getting their hands dirty. Many trimmers advance to become harvesters and cultivators, though some growers will hire harvesters with no prior experience.
Several positions are available for individuals who are interested in the production of oils and concentrates: extractor technicians and master extractors.
Extractor technicians operate the physical machinery used to separate the concentrated THC oils from the cannabis buds. Technicians may be required to maintain their equipment, place orders for related materials, and keep the extraction area clean, organized, and ready for use. Technicians are also required to have an understanding of laboratory safety and procedures, so many companies show preference to applicants with a background in science. Because of this, extractor technicians are considered mid-level positions.
Master extractors represent the management level of this position, and are some of the best paid cannabis professionals in the industry. Master extractors may take years to develop the skills and gain the knowledge needed to perfect extraction of cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Charged with overseeing and managing the process, master extractors may also be required to oversee extractor technicians, provide training and oversight, and enforce safety standards. Because of the technicality of this position, master extractors typically have a Master’s or PhD in a related field, plus years of experience as technicians.
If you enjoy cooking or baking, and want a career in cannabis, consider a career as an edibles chef. Required to be highly skilled in the culinary arts while also maintaining strict control over precise doses of cannabis-derived ingredients, edibles chefs have the responsibility of making sure their products are delicious, safe, and effective. Precision is key in this job, and only the most meticulous chefs find success.
Because of the importance of safety and precision, edibles chefs may be required to obtain a certificate in culinary cannabis and edibles. In these programs, students learn important information on plant anatomy, math and measurements, terpenes, the endocannabinoid system, safety, and more. If you do become an edibles chef, you’ll spend your time infusing cannabis into anything you can from drinks and syrups to baked goods, candy, chocolate, and even savory items.
Cannabis companies must abide by strict packaging rules, both to prevent contamination and maintain regular food safety regulations, and to keep cannabis products safe from children and vulnerable adults. Each and every product gets individually packaged, often by hand, before being shipped out to dispensaries around the country. Product packers are entry level employees that work closely with trimmers or edible chefs to package recently finished products for sale. A relatively simple position, product packers require little to no prior experience and only minimal training.
How To Apply for Cannabis Jobs
If a career in cannabis sounds like the right move for you, don’t wait: start the search for the perfect job with Hemp Temps. Hemp Temps has helped place thousands of professionals in positions like the ones we listed above, sparking exciting career opportunities for our applicants. Whether you already have some experience in cannabis or want to apply for jobs in cannabis for the first time, Hemp Temps can help you get started.