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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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The Green Jobs Rush

The growing industry has a growing demand for talent. Is your dream job listed?

The multi-billion dollar medical cannabis industry in California has more jobs to offer than just growing and pruning weed.

There are also corner offices and executive positions to fill – and more will follow as the legal industry grows another 74 percent this year.

At the Bay Area Cannabis Career & Job Fair, recently held in Oakland’s New Parish and sponsored by Bloom Farms, dozens of marijuana startups, established weed companies and “ganja preneurs” laid out the welcome mats and helped with signs to attract the strain. of the workforce needed in today’s legal cannabis industry.

More than 1,000 job seekers showed up to wait in lines hundreds of applicants deep. And most of them have solid career prospects.

“2014 was the year of hiring,” said Kristi Knoblich, co-founder of Kiva Confections. The brand’s medicinal chocolates can be found all over the Bay Area, and that demand requires a skilled workforce. Last year, the company hired a CFO, a director of marketing and a director of business development, all at salaries competitive with corporate America.

You don’t get a performance like this fresh off the street. If you are brand new to the cannabis industry, the most readily available jobs are as brand ambassadors and delivery drivers. But if you’ve developed one or two cannabis-related skills over the years, you may have great options as a salaried worker with benefits or an expensive consultant.

Looking for pro in jar? Let’s take a look at the range of jobs and wages currently provided by the legal medical marijuana industry in California, starting at the entry level and moving up to the top.
(REMARK: The wage rates shown reflect the general market value, not the wage scales of the specific companies listed below. Rates and salaries for each job may vary.)

Brand Ambassadors


Nearly every legal cannabis company is looking for brand ambassadors: basically handing out the old job of “handing out flyers” but digitally modernized to find out which demographic you want to fit in best with.

You hand out ‘your brand’s message’ (in the form of shiny handbills) at events, pharmacies or among your cannabis social connections. The cards have codes that will give you $5-10 for every referral you get. The brand analyzes sales to pay regularly and promote top sellers within the company.

This job works very well for very sociable students. “It’s pretty easy as a supplemental income,” said a brand ambassador for the delivery service Eaze.



Drivers are needed all over the Bay Area cannabis industry, be it supplying medicinal buds, edibles, oils or waxes. Companies that regularly hire delivery drivers include SPARC, Eaze, Meadow and new farm-to-smoker startup Flow Kana. Drivers need a valid California driver’s license (duh) and a clean driving history, plus a medical cannabis recommendation and car insurance.

Many delivery services offer accurate, short delivery times, so the delivery speed of the drivers is essential. Some of the better-funded delivery services offer full-time driver salaries plus medical and vacation benefits.

Budget holders


Budtender, who barely lost out to “vaping” as the 2014 Oxford Word of the Year, is tasked with dispensing weed at a licensed pharmacy behind the counter.

But what is a good budtender?

“High level of customer service, understanding you are there to help people find something that works for them and helps them manage their disease,” said Roger LaChance, operations manager at Berkeley Patients Group. “A resource, someone who is really familiar with the different products. Especially with all varieties that come in season after season.”

So: part sommelier, part healthcare consultant and full-time customer service. Think of sales with a passion.

“You don’t just sell any product,” LaChance emphasized. “You build a relationship.”


$15-25/hr or by weight output

If you’ve cut into a grow before, there are pharmacies and other specialty businesses that often require that skill on a short but intensive freelance basis.

Grooming companies offer teams of groomers for hire, and they will train you if you haven’t trimmed before.

Mookie Walden is an operations manager at NorCal Trimmers, a dedicated cannabis trimming company.

“A few weeks ago we had a customer in Bakersfield who had to shred three pounds that weekend. so we sent a team there, got in, got out.” said Walden. “We had another client who wanted £800. We knocked it out in three weeks, below the timeline.”

Chemical cannabis tester

$60,000 – 70,000/year

cannabis tester? I’m taking that job! I can’t do that alone, because I don’t have two scientific credits to work together. If you do, be prepared for a long day in the lab, sober as a scientist.

Chemical cannabis assessment requires a fundamental knowledge of chemistry and modern chemical measurement tools. Pharmacies and collectives hire chemists to test their drugs to prove that their product is safe and effective.

“There are quality control tests, which detect mold, bacteria and pesticide levels,” says Daniel Towns, who runs web jobs for the delivery service Meadow. “Then there is a potency test that measures the concentration of THC, CBD [cannabidiol], THC-A [tetrahydrocannabinolic acid] and other unique cannabis chemicals.”

The testing industry is only getting more sophisticated, with labs providing a flower’s terpene makeup, as well as detailed analysis of cannnabinoids.

Photo by Gabrielle Lurie

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