Marijuana Jobs: How Well Do they Pay?

Legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana came with a boatload of promises, only some of which have come true. One of the biggest presidential promises (that’s a joke) was that marijuana legalization would result in a lot of great paying jobs in the industry. While there are some more specialized positions that pay relatively well, and the average position doesn’t exactly pay poorly, industry analysts still expected better.

This waiter pay graphic shows what one might expect to make in a less-than-minimum wage profession. Remember that line about how table service is basically the one job anyone can do and still make a decent living — as long as people tip well? Marijuana isn’t that type of job, of course, but the pay is slightly less. 

Professional recruiting firm Vangst recently released a jobs report on marijuana positions. CEO Karson Humiston wrote: “To further help job seekers and cannabis companies, Vangst now offers new job searching and networking features which make it even easier for our community to learn, communicate, and grow with one another.”

She added, “It’s giving candidates and hiring teams a much-needed way to make genuine human connections at a time when getting the conversation started with more integral than ever.”

The survey includes information on jobs, job pay, and benefits for new employees.

According to the Vangst survey, around 83 percent of professions in the marijuana industry receive paid time off (PTO) and 73 percent receive medical benefits. Most jobs make at least $15 an hour, making them better than most positions in other “retail” industries. 

One of the top paying jobs is that of a “director of cultivation,” who might make around $115,000 a year. One of the lowest paying jobs is that of a “trimmer,” who might make $15 an hour. 

The person in charge — the “president of retail operations” — stands to make around $150,000 a year. Going down the hierarchy, managers will make around $65,000 a year while “extraction technicians” will make around $37,000 a year on average. Budtenders will also make around $15 an hour.

It’s worth noting that these are still strong numbers for a completely new industry in the United States. Cannabis job offerings will likely explode in the coming years — especially if the U.S. government were to, say, legalize marijuana at the federal level — and with those offerings the opportunity for increased growth in the industry, which will lead to better pay and benefits.

The last election resulted in successful marijuana legislation in five states. The wave is continuing to spread. 

Vangst believes that at least 26,000 new jobs will be added by 2025, with 21,393 of those added in New Jersey. 

Vangst head of content Sean Cooley wrote, “We consistently see high demand for gig workers, so trimmers, packagers, and budtenders are always needed, and over the past year there’s been a surge in delivery drivers and logistics coordinators. On top of that, we’ve seen a jump in cultivation directors, administrative and corporate employees, sales reps, marketers, lab managers, and directors of HR as hiring plans are ramping up to meet post-quarantine demands.”