One of the most frequently top-ranked jobs in the cannabis industry is a marijuana grower. It’s easy to see why. On top of getting to turn your passion into a job, being a marijuana grower comes with a salary of anywhere from 80k-150k+—about 50k-120k more than a non-THC producing flower grower earns. Plus there are perks like, well, knowing your work is improving the lives of your customers and getting to be hands on in the foundation of the legal cannabis market. As the industry expands, growers constantly have to adapt and fine-tune their methods. By becoming a grower now, you’re essentially writing the book for years to come, potentially creating growing techniques that could eventually be applied to industries like vegetable cultivation in the food sector.
But getting a job as a marijuana grower can be tricky. “It takes a lot more than just being able to make a few plants grow really well. A professional marijuana grower has to manage a team, understand scaling, and work with sales and marketing people,” says Rudy Ellen, CEO of Verde Natural, who helped design the 25,000 sq ft, soil grow that supplies the brand’s recreational marijuana dispensaries, medical marijuana dispensary and wholesale business.
Running a team of 10+ people who cultivate 3,500 plants in a multi-room, raised bed grow for two and a half years has made Ellenbogen an expert at hiring. He knows that mimicking a real ecosystem is tough, so he’s says there is plenty of opportunity for growers interested in soil methods to bring new ideas to the table. For aspiring green thumbs looking to make a profession out of growing, he has these eight pieces of advice.
1) Be Easy to Find
Create a LinkedIn profile. Having a public professional persona not only shows that you are serious about pursuing a career as a grower but helps you stand out amongst the countless resumes grows receive.
2) Become a Caregiver
Many potential marijuana growers run into issues when it comes to legitimizing their experience. If you live in one of the 29 states with a legal marijuana market, becoming a licensed caregiver lends accountability to your resume and gives you the experience of working within the regulated system.
3) Master a Style
Do you want to work in a soil garden? A hydroponic warehouse? A greenhouse? Outside? Knowing about a range of growing styles won’t hurt you, but possessing a detailed understanding of the complexities of at least one will entice businesses to invest in you as an employee more readily.
4) Get Your Foot in the Door
If you can’t land your dream job as a marijuana grower right away, be strategic and spend some time bud tending or trimming. While these jobs only pay about $12-$15 and don’t fully utilize your true skills, for ambitious types, many of these entry-level jobs offer a way up the ladder.
Attend marijuana grower meet ups, go to grow conferences, and hit up industry parties—cultivate relationships within the industry just as well as you would a warehouse full of cannabis. The cannabis industry is very tight knit with many jobs come via personal referral.
6) Move to a Legal State
Plenty of people apply for grower jobs from states with no legal marijuana markets, but they usually aren’t considered. Moving to a state like Colorado will put you at the forefront of the industry and give you effective experience.
Staying current not only shows your commitment to the job, but it will make you much better at it. By keeping up with growing innovations, trends, science and technologies you’ll increase your power to get the job done.
8) Be Ready to Start
Know the unique laws regarding cannabis employment in your state and make sure you pass all requirements.