The legal recreational cannabis market is growing each and every year. By 2025 it’s estimated to be worth anywhere from $26 to $43 billion dollars. Now is a great time to enter the cannabis cultivation job sector.
With a quick search online, you will find that there are hundreds of cannabis cultivation jobs ripe for the picking.
Whether you are new to the industry or have years of experience, a career in cannabis cultivation is fairly easy to attain- if you have the skills.
This article will cover the basic requirements, career types, and tips on how you can lock in your spot within this growing industry.
Cannabis Grower Jobs: Basic Requirements
If you’ve never worked in the cannabis industry before, the easiest jobs to get would be a trimmer, novice grower, or packaging finished flower.
Living and working in a cannabis-rich environment can be very rewarding.
No matter your skillset or experience there are always basic requirements.
For starters, you’ll have to be the legal age of majority in your state/province.
The number one requirement for any cannabis cultivation job is knowledge of laws and regulations in your state, province, or country.
In Canada, you will need to complete and pass a background check that gives you clearance to work in the cannabis industry.
These legal requirements vary from place to place, so be sure you understand and follow the guidelines set out where you anticipate working.
While higher education in horticulture is considered an asset, a lot of cannabis cultivation jobs will hire you without a bachelor's degree.
It is experience, a willingness to learn, and a solid work ethic that will get you hired and enhance your cultivation career opportunities.
Entry Level Cannabis Cultivation Jobs
A willingness to learn, being able to communicate, putting in the hours (working hard) and having a positive attitude are basic skills that you should have if you’re looking for an entry-level cannabis cultivation job.
Most entry-level positions are hourly pay and can range from $10-$25 per hour.
Once you get in the door, you can work your way up to higher-paying opportunities.
Trimming, packaging, and transplanting are some of the basic duties you can expect to undergo with an entry-level position.
While the tasks may seem simple, they are essential to successful cannabis grow operation.
Being an entry-level cannabis cultivator means you’re going to smell like weed. So, be prepared for that.
The pay range for this position will vary depending on the company and your experience level. You can expect to make anywhere from $10-$20 per hour.
Daily tasks include:
Starting out as a beginner cannabis cultivator means you can learn about the industry while getting paid.
Having a good attitude, being coachable, and showing up ready to complete the tasks at hand are what you should do if you want an entry-level gig.
To be a cannabis trimmer you don’t need much horticulture experience.
In fact, trimming buds is one of the easiest cannabis cultivation jobs to attain with little to no experience in the industry.
Core skills of being a cannabis trimmer include:
- Sitting or standing for 8-10 hours
- Maintain a sanitary workspace
- Have an eye for detail
- Be a team player
If you have your high school diploma (or equivalent), are the age of majority, and can pass a basic clearance test, you’re most likely qualified to start your cannabis cultivation career as a trimmer.
Knowing how to cut feeder leaves, crown (cut the top off) cannabis, and cut buds off of stems is all the horticultural knowledge you need for this beginner position.
Cannabis Packaging Associate
Just like trimming weed, cannabis packaging is another entry-level position where you can be hired with only a high school degree (or equivalent) and a willingness to be coachable.
The necessary qualifications are the same as trimming or entry-level cannabis cultivator positions.
Most positions are hourly pay and standard 4-8 hour shifts.
With a positive mindset, an open mind, an eagerness to learn, and a passion for the cannabis industry, there’s no reason you won't be able to snag a job packaging cannabis.
Advanced Cannabis Grower Jobs
Director of Cultivation
A role as a director of cultivation takes a decade of experience, education, and dedication to cannabis cultivation.
You will be responsible for every aspect of the industrial crop from mentoring and managing, to plant oversight, R&D, and the financial aspects.
The key qualifications to get a job as a director of cannabis include:
- 10 years of large-scale cultivation experience (recreational and medical cannabis
- Creating/maintaining important documents (schedules, budgets, SOPs)
- Maintenance of equipment (mechanically inclined)
- Leadership and mentoring abilities
You can expect to earn anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000 annually as a director of cultivation.
If you have an excellent understanding of cannabis plants and how they grow, you should consider a position as a master grower.
In this role, you will be overseeing almost every aspect of cannabis production.
This is an advanced-level position in the cannabis cultivation industry.
You will most likely report to the director of cultivation and other senior members, but when it comes to growing, you’ll most likely be the decision-maker.
This is where having strong leadership skills and several years of cultivating experience comes into play.
Checking crops for diseases, coming up with cultivation plans, and managing all aspects of the industrial equipment used for cultivation are only a few tasks you’ll be overseeing.
A few requirements for this position include:
- 2-4 years in a managerial and lead cultivator role
- Experience managing large industrial cultivation facilities
- Experience with water management, plant health, and facility cleanliness
- Be solutions-orientated with an eye for detail
Depending on your level of experience you can expect to earn anywhere between $45,000 to $100,000 annually as a master grower.
As a greenhouse supervisor, you’ll be wearing many hats. Not only do you work with upper management (director of cultivation) and corporate staff, but you will also work closely with the entire greenhouse team from maintenance to cultivation.
Your goal is to oversee the entire operation to ensure consistency, cleanliness, and large yields.
This job is perfect if you have several years of experience in both a leadership role and as a cannabis cultivator.
You will have a solid understanding of:
- Pesticides and fertilizers
- Plant diseases and keep them healthy
- Leading a team
- Transplanting, cloning, harvesting cannabis plants
- Cannabis laws in the state/province you’re working in
Implementing SOPs for cultivation standards, and training cultivation staff to ensure a healthy harvest is your key role.
On top of full health benefits, you can expect to earn anywhere from $80,000 to $110,000 annually.
Final Thoughts: 3 Tips to Get Hired in the Cannabis Cultivation Sector
Regardless of your experience working in the cannabis cultivation industry, there are five key things you can do to enhance your role and experience level.
These tips can help you gain an entry-level position, or help you level up and take the next step from an hourly employee to a management role.
If you see a task that needs to be completed, go ahead and complete it. If you’re trained and you know your role, do your tasks without being told to do them.
Is the floor dusty? Give it a sweep.
Taking initiative and doing what you’re supposed to do without being asked to shows that you have the work ethic and the willingness to continue learning what it takes to work in the cannabis cultivation sector.
Understand the Industry
There is endless information on the internet.
Having a basic understanding of all aspects of the cannabis cultivation industry is what will help you gain your first job, or grow your opportunities into a flourishing management roll.
Not sure where to start? Check out your government’s (state/province/country) regulations and guidelines regarding cannabis.
There are also courses you can take to grasp a better understanding of the cultivation industry.
Having a positive attitude and being coachable is the key to successfully entering or growing your role in the cannabis cultivation sector.
Sure, it may not be the most fun packaging weed hour after hour, but if you keep a smile on your face and a friendly demeanour, it shows you are happy to be a part of this thriving industry.
About the author: Heather Burton
Heather lives with her husband and two children in beautiful British Columbia. Her passion has always been to enhance the lives of others by helping them reach their business goals.
Content management is her specialty, and writing is what she does best. Working specifically in the cannabis market, Heather strives to help dispensaries, patients, doctors, manufacturers and recreational users by giving them the voice they need. When she is not writing, you can find her anywhere outdoors and away from the screen.