The cannabis economy is booming, and people are clamoring to secure lucrative jobs as budtenders, master growers, and extraction techs. But there are a number of less obvious but nevertheless promising jobs in this growing market that are also worth consideration.
This isn’t just about guarding a dispensary—though that’s an excellent entry-level way to get a foot in the door. Cannabis security actually encompasses numerous positions and responsibilities, from establishing surveillance systems to transporting money and cannabis in armored trucks. Because weed is still a cash business, there’s a tremendous need for high-level security solutions, and this fast-expanding field is perfect for those who crave excitement on the job.
Companies like Canna Security America, Helix, and CannaGuard provide end-to-end physical and security solutions for marijuana businesses, with services that include on-site security, cash and product tracking, alarm and surveillance monitoring, and transportation. CSA even owns a fleet of bullet-resistant Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans that are used to make collections and deliveries.
The average salary for a dispensary security guard is over $40,000. And while the starting pay is often as low as $12 per hour, there’s plenty of room for growth. Only a high school degree is required in most cases, though some companies may require a postsecondary degree or certificate in security training. This can often be a stepping stone to working for a dedicated cannabis security company like those mentioned above, as security experience is the most common prerequisite for these jobs. For those who continue their career and work their way through the ranks of organized cannabis security, six-figure jobs are achievable.
The complex regulations surrounding marijuana disposal have contributed to a whole new industry: cannabis waste management. Unused marijuana can’t simply be thrown away; it must be made “unusable and unrecognizable.” Then it must be combined with at least 50% non-marijuana waste and properly incinerated, composted, or transported to an authorized landfill. The whole disposal process must be tracked and traced.
To make matters worse, there are no clearly defined guidelines as to what constitutes “unusable and unrecognizable,” so the whole process must be handled with tremendous caution. The average dispensary and cultivation facility has neither the time nor the expertise to fulfill these requirements, so cannabis waste disposal companies like GAIACA have come along to provide this invaluable service. These companies provide cannabis businesses with a complete waste management program, providing their clients with appropriate disposal containers and offering complete removal and tracking services.
These companies need waste management officers, technicians, drivers, supervisors, managers, and compliance specialists. Salaries often start around the $40,000 range but can peak above $100,000 for those at the management level.
A career as an edibles chef may be a dream come true for the culinary-minded cannabis enthusiast. The job involves developing and cooking cannabis-based foods and baked goods to be packaged for sale in dispensaries. As more states ease their marijuana regulations, we’re also seeing cannabis cafes and restaurants pop up. This presents opportunities for experienced canna-chefs to craft and market real gourmet recipes for the public.
But whether the goal is to become a head chef in a restaurant or simply bake magic brownies for local dispensaries, a secondary education in the culinary arts is usually a prerequisite. Most successful edibles chefs have pre-existing kitchen experience, and many have a bachelor’s or at least an associate’s degree. That’s because creating high-quality edibles is an intricate process. The finished product needs to be pleasing to the taste buds without having an overwhelming cannabis flavor. Special care must be taken to track the nutrition information and THC content, and the quality must be consistently maintained with every batch or product created.
An experienced edibles chef stands to make between $50,000 and $100,000 per year on average, so it’s a lucrative opportunity for those with the talent and the passion. Salary potential goes hand in hand with education and experience, so anyone interested in becoming an edibles chef should start pursuing their culinary education immediately.
The legal cannabis industry is the new frontier, and there is a wealth of jobs available to satisfy every talent and interest. From cannabis insurance providers to product reviewers and quality control specialists, there’s something for everybody. If you want to become a part of this exciting industry, the best thing to do is assess your talents and determine where those talents would best be served in the market.
The time to get started is now. Some researchers estimate that cannabis will be made legal nationwide as early as 2021 and no later than 2023. Are you ready for the gold rush?