Job report identifies ‘the easiest to secure and highest paid jobs in the cannabis industry’
Here’s how you can enter the fastest-growing (and most fun!) industry in the US — and make good money along the way
A decade ago, buying marijuana for recreational use was illegal in all but two states, but times are changing. Now legal in 21 states and counting, the budding weed industry ranks as the fastest growing in the US.
In 2017, the cannabis sector employed just 122,800 people. By last year, that had tripled to almost half a million. The industry now employs more people than there are hair stylists, barbers and cosmetologists combined in the US, and has three times as many workers as there are dentists.
The market’s exponential growth is expected to continue as states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut implement retail sales. In 2023 alone, the industry will create 108,000 new jobs and, once legalized nationwide, it could support as many as 1.75m workers across the US.
Yet, much like the tech industry, the cannabis sector’s relative youth causes it to suffer from a shortage of talent and an urgent need to attract workers from alternative fields. That’s good news for those seeking a new role in an exciting and dynamic industry, as not only are there plenty of opportunities for those with ‘regular’ workplace skills, but there’s also good money to be made.
To identify the easiest to secure and highest paid jobs in the cannabis industry, WEEDAR analyzed vacancies on LinkedIn and salaries on Glassdoor. For those weighing up a switch to the cannabis sector, here are the best roles to consider:
1. Cannabis Sales Manager
Sales are the engine of any business — and in the cannabis industry, they are growing rapidly. US retail sales topped $33 billion in 2022 and are tipped to grow to $52bn in 2026.
To sustain their momentum, cannabis companies are seeking sales managers who can oversee sales department personnel, processes and procedures. This includes office-based roles such as data management and order fulfilment focused on optimizing functionality and efficiency across the sales department.
Currently, there are nearly half a million sales managers trekking across the US, trying to sell building materials and household appliances that few people actually want. If you’re one of them, why not try something new? The pay and commissions on offer in the cannabis sector will undoubtedly top your current role.
Key requirements: 2+ years of outside sales experience; knowledge of cannabis industry regulations, market trends and competition; proven ability to execute a sales strategy; knowledge of Microsoft Office tools; and experience using sales management systems.
Average salary: $113,660
2. Cannabis Marketing Manager
As more and more US states soften their stance on cannabis, the industry has claimed its place as the fastest-growing American consumer product vertical in recent years. However, it’s still illegal at the federal level and faces heavy regulation even where it’s not, which creates complications in the marketing department.
Therefore, the industry is in constant need of specialists who know which tools and strategies to use to produce optimal results. It’s a challenging field, but incredibly rewarding work for the creative mind.
Key requirements: 1-2+ years of marketing experience; exceptional project management, organization and communication skills; knowledge of graphic design processes; strong critical thinking skills; and an understanding of industry standards and regulations at a local, state, and federal level.
Average salary: $83,637
3. Cannabis Business Operations Manager
Keeping retail operations running smoothly, operations managers handle day-to-day tasks such as hiring, onboarding, scheduling, cash handling, and inventory and compliance management.
That late shipment that has gone missing? It’s their responsibility to chase it down. Dealing with facility bottlenecks? That too. Getting new hires up to speed, talking to regulators, and managing employee vacations… It’s like a HR, legal, finance, and management job all rolled into one, and a great way to start your budding career in cannabis.
Key requirements: A degree in business administration or a related field, strong leadership and interpersonal skills, ability to multitask, and knowledge of marijuana laws and regulations.
Average salary: $73,360
4. Cannabis consultant
Can you tell indica strains for sativas? Are you well-versed in edibles and concentrates? Maybe you should monetize that knowledge.
Cannabis is a new industry that many will be exploring for the first time, while every year, dozens of new strains are cultivated that offer distinct flavors, aromas and effects. Cannabis consultants keep up to date with the latest development in the market and share their expertise with clients on the dispensary floor and over the phone.
Key requirements: Experience in retail sales, passion for the cannabis industry, communication skills, and a willingness to learn.
Average salary: $67,716
5. Cannabis Delivery Driver
Connecting customers and cannabis, delivery drivers provide a valued service to thousands who need weed for medical or recreational use. Offering the flexibility to work on your own schedule, this is one of the most popular entry-level positions.
With many openings combining delivery work, budtending and customer service roles, workers can get to grips with a variety of industry functions and make use of networking opportunities to secure advanced positions in the space, such as dispensary or distribution manager. It’s the perfect match for those just starting their professional journeys and are still searching for a role that gives them the right buzz.
Key requirements: Valid driver’s license, flexibility and organization, ability to pass background checks, excellent interpersonal skills.
Average salary: $39,877
Bonus: the highest paid cannabis job
Medical Marijuana Physician
Without its highly-qualified and knowledgeable doctors, the medical marijuana industry would never have blossomed into the budding industry it is today.
Medical marijuana physicians provide professional, compassionate, and confidential evaluations for patients seeking to obtain medicinal cannabis cards, and demand for their expertise will only continue to grow. With more states realizing the benefits of weed, the global medical cannabis market, valued at $13.8bn in 2022, is tipped to increase by a further 21.8% by 2030 — so there will be plenty of work going for qualified medical professionals.
Key requirements: An MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) qualification, a license to practice in the appropriate state, and unrestricted Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) verification to be a supervising physician.
Average salary: $240,000
To create this study, we examined the average salaries of the most popular and in-demand jobs in the cannabis industry, and totaled the number of open vacancies on LinkedIn for each role.
Glassdoor (average salaries)