Jobs are growing in the legal marijuana industry at a pace far faster than other industries, and salaries are high, reports a noted cannabis employment agency.

The Cannabis Salary Guide, new from California-based Vangst, predicts that jobs and wages will continue climbing as the industry attracts capital and workers build the kinds of experience that lead to salary boosts.

With medical marijuana now legal in 30 states, plus the District of Columbia, and recreational marijuana legal in nine states, the numbers just had to blossom. According to the survey:

  • Job listings grew by 690 percent from Jan 2018 to August 2018.
  • Average salary jumped by 16.1 percent between 2017 and 2018.
  • Industry growth of 220 percent is expected in 2019.

Top jobs beckon

The cannabis industry is creating whole new levels of jobs, demanding skills new to the workforce. Depending on experience and skill, salaries range from good to extremely robust. The hot jobs and salaries are:

  • Director of extraction, responsible for cannabis extraction and refinement operations. Scope incudes facility design, laboratory setup, and regulatory compliance, all toward the goal of safe, efficient, and consistent production. Salary range: $47,000 to $191,000.
  • Director of cultivation, in charge of growing regulatory-compliant and high-quality cannabis. Duties include establishing growing procedures, nutrient and harvest schedules, and integrated pest management. Salary range: $47,000 to $250,500.
  • Compliance manager, the detail-oriented person who ensures that operations comply with local, state, and federal laws and regulations. The compliance functions company-wide, from seed to sale. Salary range: $45,000 to $149,000.
  • Trimmer, who manicures and prepares the harvested product for sale. Salary range: $11.50 an hour to $14.50 an hour.
  • Budtender, the customer service representative at dispensaries. Budtenders must be able to use point of sale systems to track all sales properly, keep up to date on regulations, and inform customers on their choices. Salary range: $12 an hour to $16 an hour.
  • Dispensary manager, supervising retail locations, developing the inventory and operating procedures that assure compliant operations, and hire and train staff. Salary range: $41,500 to $98,000.
  • Outside sales representative, who builds the sales strategies that create and sustain accounts. Manages accounts using customer relationship software. Salary range: $28,000 to $150,000.

Benefits can be good, too, with 71 percent of businesses offering medical insurance, and 46 percent offering medical, dental, and vision. Nearly one employer in three offers a 410K plan or employee stock options. Jobseekers should note that 21 percent of employers still don’t offer any employee benefits.

Bright future for cannabis-industry jobs

Salaries are most robust in newly legalized states where companies are well-funded and sizeable, Vangst reported.

“The industry is rapidly taking off, and cannabis companies continue to compete to recruit and retain the best talent,” Vangst reports. “We believe hiring and holding onto the best talent will be the differentiating factor between good cannabis companies and great cannabis companies.”

The young and flourishing industry offers a rare opportunity to build a diverse and inclusive workforce from the ground up, said Vangst CEO Karson Humiston. “Cannabis businesses need to build diversity recruiting programs and prioritize building highly diverse companies from the start. While we are seeing many companies do this well, there is room for improvement.”

Salaries will grow as funding streams in and workers build experience, Humiston said.