The marijuana industry is booming and with California legalizing it, more medical marijuana dispensaries are popping up. With the industry in its fastest rate of acceleration, it’s a good time to get involved.
Times have changed. Now that marijuana is recognized by esteemed authorities like the National Institute of Health, CDC and even, to a certain extent, the FDA, for its legitimate role in curing disease, the public demand for knowledgeable dealers who are qualified to advise customers about medicinal treatment options is at an all-time high.
In the same way, customers ask trained holistic supplement sales professionals at stores like Whole Foods to help them decide which unregulated homeopathic remedies are best to treat their health conditions, budtenders are being asked questions about which strain and doses are best to treat conditions ranging from cancer to anxiety. If liability weren’t of paramount concern for dispensary owners, the well-being of their customers certainly is. With more and more states adopting new legalization measures, we can expect a significant rise in the number of retail dispensaries that will need qualified budtenders to interface with curious newcomers, seasoned users and everyone in between.
It´s not always easy to get your foot in the door of a booming industry because naturally there is a lot of competition. Here is an introduction to some of the careers in this growing industry.
Budtender or Dispensary Technician
Dispensary Jobs and Budtender Jobs are the most sought after jobs in the industry for entry-level. Budtenders are the face of the dispensary! The ones whom patients interact with on a regular basis. They are responsible for greeting patients, orienting them about strains and use, methods of delivery and titration (dosage). They must know how each strain works to alleviate the different debilitating illnesses for which the cannabis was recommended. They must be keenly aware of the difference of Indica, Sativa and their hybrids. A Budtender will maintain records of the effectiveness of the strain for the patient for long-term study and future reference and maintain the dispensary legitimacy. The Budtender should be personable, groomed and knowledgeable about the industry. They will be trained by the Dispensary Manager and should attend formal schooling. There may be part-time positions available as well as full-time. A Budtender salary usually starts between $12-15 per hour.
A Cannabis Chef should first and foremost be a good cook and know the basics of culinary arts. Any infusion of edibles must be done in a commercial kitchen. The Cannabis Chef must be adept at baking, making tinctures, oils, cannabis butter, balms, extracts, and chocolates. There may be part-time positions available as well as full-time.
Companies with a medical marijuana dispensary license may be allowed to deliver products to patients who are infirm or homebound. The driver must be patient, kind and courteous with patients – this is a medical house call. They should like being around people and helping others, with a clean driving record. The Driver may never drive while impaired and should be knowledgeable of the area they will be covering. The order will be called in with a Budtender who will suggest which strain of medicine should be delivered, based on the patient’s history and illness. There may be part-time positions available as well as full-time.
The face of a dispensary. The manager must interface with staff, law enforcement, vendors, and landlords. The main responsibility of the dispensary manager is to coordinate and facilitate transactions of the dispensary. They must maintain records, have contact with the grow sites, embrace patient education and understand marketing. They will train employees and decide which products to carry and determine the best pricing based on market conditions. They are responsible for keeping up with all changes in local and state law regarding operation of the facility. The most important job of the dispensary manager is to ensure that only the best and safest quality medicine is available at the dispensary.
This is one of the most sought after, highest paying, and dangerous jobs in the Medical Marijuana industry. An extractor is the one that takes marijuana (trimmings and/or flower) and makes hash and/or concentrates using different methods such as CO2 or Butane. An extractor must be extremely knowledgeable in this process to avoid the possibility of explosions, especially when dealing with large quantities at once. They must be aware of things like the room venting and how to monitor alarms for gas leaks, in addition to knowing the proper techniques to maximize the extraction potency.
Testing is one of the growing sectors in the Medical Marijuana Industry. More and more testing labs will be opening each year as local and state governments vow to make marijuana as safe as possible for patients. If you like working with the science end of marijuana then this may be the place for you. Laboratory Workers will be dissecting and testing marijuana to ensure there or no pesticides, no heavy metals such as lead, and that the proper amounts of cannabinoids, especially THC and CBD levels exist.
Marketing and Sales
Just like any other industry, your company will not succeed unless people know you exist. Many dispensaries have started hiring marketing and sales teams to assist with getting their name and brand out there. The Marketing and Sales Team will also assist with creating logos and sales to bring more attention and patients to the dispensary.
The Master Grower oversees the construction and design of the grow operation. He/she maintains the environment for the room and trains the Apprentices and/or Supervisors to do the job while he/she is away. The Master Grower is mainly there to see that the schedule and method advocated is followed according to specs and protocols. Daily records must be kept that document changes in chemicals and lighting for future reference, guidance, and consistency. The cultivation site will have a log that is maintained by the Master Grower. They will monitor each harvest so medication and alteration patterns can be studied. A Master Grower Salary can range from $80-$150K, depending on location and size of growing operation.
Cultivation Supervisor or Assistant Grower
The Cultivation Supervisor oversees the Grow Crew and Trimmers. They are there to fill in for the Master Grower when they are unavailable. They are the equivalent of an understudy – they must know everything the Master Grower knows, and maintains the day to day operations of the cultivation site and trains the remainder of the crew.
Trimmer or Cultivation Site Worker
Trimmers are responsible for manicuring and preparing of the medicine. They must be able to take raw material and prepare it for curing. This entails cutting the buds off the branches and getting the ready for the Master Grower to cure. The Cultivation Site Worker maintains the plants, ensuring the chemicals and lighting are monitored according to the cultivation site schedule. Also includes harvesting which entails cutting down, hanging, planting, pruning, feeding, etc. There may be part-time positions available as well as full-time.
There are many different needs for Security in the medical marijuana industry. Some dispensaries and cultivation centers will have on site security guards, just to make their employees and patients feel safer. At times Security will be needed to ride along with the manager to the bank, to make large cash deposits. With Medical Marijuana being an expensive commodity and an almost completely cash business, security is a must!
Setting High Standards for the Cannabis Industry
Legitimizing the business of cannabis is a priority for business owners who want long term success. Ultimately, nationwide legalization depends upon public acceptance and that depends upon removing the stigma and stereotypes associated with marijuana. Since budtenders are front and center in dealing with the public, they have a responsibility to present themselves as both professional and knowledgeable. To keep the legalization movement strong, marijuana business owners are setting high standards for their staff. Short of experience, independent studies and formalized training is the best way for job applicants to show the effort to meet those high standards.