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7 Career Opportunities Involving Medical Marijuana

A high-end cannabis dispensary with job opportunities

With more states legalizing marijuana, the cannabis industry is in a position for exponential growth. In fact, according to recent estimates, the legal cannabis market could be worth a whopping $52.6 billion by 2026. It’s no wonder that so many people are looking into medical marijuana career opportunities. If you have a passion for holistic medicine and natural remedies, here are seven pathways to medical cannabis jobs worth considering.

1. Dispensary Manager

As support grows for legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use, there is an increasing demand for dispensaries. A dispensary manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of a cannabis dispensary, from ordering and stocking products to managing employee schedules. If you are considering medical marijuana career opportunities, have strong leadership skills, and can develop marketing and promotional strategies, now is the time to get your foot in the door.

A dispensary manager must be organized and detail-oriented with a strong focus on customer service. In addition to these qualities, a successful dispensary manager should also have extensive knowledge of cannabis strains and their effects. Although medical cannabis requires a doctor’s prescription, part of the dispensary’s job may be to recommend particular products.

Many employers look for a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, but you may also become a dispensary manager based on relevant industry experience. Sometimes that experience is even more valuable than a degree because dispensary managers must be well-versed in state and local laws. On average, this position earns between $39,000 and $54,000 per year.

2. Marketing Directors & Specialists

The demand for experienced marketing professionals is increasing quickly as the number of medical cannabis jobs continues to grow. Cannabis marketing is unique in that advertising restrictions are stricter than in other markets. That makes creativity with cannabis descriptions and products essential. Marketing directors and managers with experience navigating these waters will be in high demand as more companies enter the cannabis space. 

Marketing salaries can range from $40,000 to $90,000 or above depending on seniority and responsibility, and a business degree or marketing experience is always a plus. Here are three marketing positions to consider if you are seeking medical marijuana career opportunities.

Marketing Director

Marketing directors are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies that promote their company's products or services. In the cannabis industry, this may involve working with advertising agencies to develop safe, compliant ad campaigns or partnering with dispensaries to get your products on their shelves. Individuals pursuing medical cannabis jobs such as this must have a deep understanding of traditional and digital marketing techniques and an intimate knowledge of the retail cannabis industry.

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager oversees all aspects of a company's promotional campaigns. That includes developing budget proposals, setting deadlines, and coordinating with different teams within the organization to ensure flawless execution of ad campaigns. In the cannabis industry, marketing managers must stay up-to-date on ever-changing state and federal regulations to stay compliant. A successful marketing manager will need top-notch organizational skills and experience with product management.

Digital Media

Digital media managers focus primarily on managing an organization's online media presence. That can include blog content creation, web development, email marketing, social media management, and other online content. In the cannabis industry, it is critical to have someone well-versed in digital media because it is a rapidly growing industry with a lot of competition. There are also medical cannabis jobs in digital media as many states—like Texas—offer secure virtual appointments with medical marijuana doctors.

3. Budtender

Budtender distributing medical cannabis in a store

A budtender is a professional who dispenses cannabis in a retail setting. Their primary responsibility is to provide customer service and assist customers in choosing the right product for their needs. To do this, they need in-depth knowledge of cannabis strains, their effects, and consumption methods. They also need to communicate effectively with customers to build relationships and trust. Whether a customer is purchasing medical cannabis or a recreational product, this job requires adherence to strict regulations. To become a budtender, you must be at least 21 years old and complete a training program that covers state and federal laws.

In addition to helping customers, budtenders may also be responsible for stocking shelves, taking inventory, and processing payments. In some respects, this is similar to working in any retail setting, but this career opportunity offers a firsthand perspective of the growing fields of recreational and medical marijuana. 

4. Cannabis Trimmer

A cannabis trimmer's job is to remove unwanted leaves and buds from the plant. This process is also known as "defoliation,” and it is a critical part of the cannabis production process. Trimmed plants are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also cure better and produce less waste. Cannabis trimmers need a keen eye for detail and a steady hand, as they need to complete this task without damaging the buds. Cannabis trimming is a time-consuming process, done mostly by hand.

The job can be physically demanding, as trimmers may have to stand for long periods or crouch down to reach the lower parts of the plant. Trimmers typically work in teams of two or three people that trim several pounds of medical cannabis daily. As a result, trimming is a fast-paced medical cannabis job where you'll need a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. Even though it may sound labor-intensive, trimming is a rewarding medical marijuana career opportunity that provides a higher quality final product to help people improve their lives.

5. Extraction Technician

It's no secret that the cannabis industry is booming. And with this growth comes a demand for new medical cannabis jobs, like extraction technicians. An extraction technician is responsible for safely and efficiently extracting cannabis compounds like THC and CBD to create products such as oils, waxes, and shatter.

Because of the nature and complexity of the position, extraction technicians must have a thorough understanding of chemistry and the science behind extracting cannabinoids from plant material. Since complex machinery is required, it is also helpful to have previous experience in laboratory settings and be familiar with lab safety procedures. In addition, you must be able to work quickly and efficiently under pressure. This is one of the more lucrative medical marijuana career opportunities. With experience, this career path can earn upwards of $100,000 per year.

6. Master Grower

A commercial greenhouse full of cannabis plants

If you're considering medical cannabis jobs but don’t necessarily want a clinical setting, a master grower is perhaps the most vital position in the industry. A master grower is responsible for overseeing the cultivation of cannabis plants from seed to harvest. In this role, you must have a deep knowledge of the plant life cycle. A background in biology, biochemistry, or botany is helpful. The master grower must develop and implement efficient growth strategies, ensure quality standards and yield goals meet expectations, and control costs. 

This is one of the fastest-growing career opportunities for both medical marijuana and recreational strains. What does it take to be a master grower? First and foremost, you need experience working with cannabis plants. This experience can be gained through work in a commercial grow operation or through personal cultivation. In addition, you will also need formal education in horticulture, agriculture, or a related field and be well-versed in state and federal regulations governing the cannabis industry. 

While there are many challenges associated with this job, if you have the experience and education required, a master grower can earn more than $60,000 per year in Texas.

7. Edibles Chef

For those individuals with creative spirits and a passion for baking, the position of edibles chef is one of the most intriguing marijuana career opportunities, again for both medical and recreational uses. An edibles chef is responsible for creating THC-infused food products. That involves infusing various oils and butter with THC and cooking and baking unique and delicious creations

In addition to infusing food with THC, edibles chefs are also responsible for packaging and labeling their products in compliance with state and federal regulations. All packaging must have labels including the THC content and other relevant information such as allergies or dietary restrictions.

To become an edibles chef, you'll need both a culinary background and knowledge of the cannabis plant. Those interested in becoming an edibles chef should consider pursuing a degree or certification in culinary arts. In addition, it is also helpful to have some experience working in a professional kitchen. While having a culinary background is not a requirement, you will need to be able to create flavorful and potent cannabis-infused products. With medical cannabis in particular, many people prefer edibles over inhalation, giving this job a unique opportunity to create delicious pain-relieving products.

There are many medical marijuana career opportunities available for those with the proper training and experience. To learn more about medical cannabis, visit our blog.