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Cannabis recruiting company Vangst just released its 2019 annual salary guide and as expected, as more states legalize medical or recreational cannabis sales, and nascent markets continue to mature, the cannabis job market is strong.
Total cannabis job opportunities increased 79% from 2018 to 2019, and an estimated 211,000 full-time employees will make up the legal cannabis industry in 2019. Expected growth estimates in the report predict that 414,000 new jobs will be created in the US in 2021.
High-demand positions in the industry currently include Cultivation Technicians, Trimmers, Budtenders, Brand Ambassadors, Directors of Cultivation, and Delivery Drivers. A significant portion of the jobs however will not be full-time or year round. Seasonal employees and freelancers, also called, “on-demand talent,” will likely make up about 40% of the average company’s workforce by 2020 according to the report.
Vangst’s overview examines four main components of the industry, plant cultivation, lab testing and THC/CBD extraction, product manufacturing, and retail sales. The report details the best paying and most popular jobs in each area, and lists adjusted salary averages and a benefits overview. For example, in the lab or extraction segment of the industry, extraction, quality or compliance managers make around $68,000. On a cannabis farm, the grow director is likely to make around $87,000. The report includes salary multipliers to adjust for experience levels and business location.
The legal cannabis marketplace does have a number of employment-related challenges according to Vangst. The turnover rate of hourly workers like retail employees and bud trimmers is high so company owners may need to pay more than they were expecting, and managers are spending more time training new employees. Some CPAs, lawyers and others are still hesitant to join the industry because it is still federally illegal. Plant-touching businesses trying to offer matching federally-backed retirement and health insurance plans find it can be very complicated.
Despite cannabis remaining a Schedule 1 substance which puts state businesses in a precarious legal position and significantly restricts the amount of medical research happening, the industry is on track to expand to new markets soon. Nine states have cannabis on their 2020 ballots. The adult use votes will happen in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, New Jersey, North Dakota, and New York. The new medical states may be Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
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