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5 Real (and 100 Percent Legal) Cannabis Jobs

Topics: Career Profiles
cannabis job
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As of early 2018, nine states plus Washington D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. In 30 states, residents can use cannabis to treat certain medical conditions.

Twelve more states considering either recreational or medicinal legalization of marijuana in the coming year. The question is: how can you get in on the booming business of cannabis? The answer, even if you live in a state that has not yet legalized marijuana use, is to look for jobs like these.

How to Work in Weed (Legally)

The fact is, the business of marijuana is still a business (and a fast-moving one at that). If you live in one of the nine “legal” states for marijuana, you can find cannabis jobs fairly easily. (Note: the federal government still considers marijuana an illegal drug.) You might land a job as a “budtender” working at a dispensary, as a marijuana grower, or as a strain “taste” tester trying out types of bud and logging your reviews on sites like Leafly.

But if you just want an everyday job in your field — along with some room for (wait for it) growth — try one of these options.

1. “Green Stock” Analyst

These are the crystal-ball readers who advise anyone who wants to invest in the cannabis industry. “Green stocks” are those related to the marijuana industry. People who want to invest need savvy analysts to keep an eye on the market.

(The Motley Fool notes that Canada’s soon-to-be-legal cannabis industry players, including Canopy Growth Corp. and Aurora Cannabis, are publicly traded.)

PayScale’s salary data show that an investment analyst can earn a median salary of $62,000 per year, while a portfolio manager can earn a median salary of $84,000 per year.

2. Food Safety Analyst for Edibles

Weed isn’t just about smoking marijuana flowers. It’s also about a growing (and not-yet-well-regulated) weed “edible” industry. In a now notorious column, writer Maureen Dowd related her bad experience eating WAY more than the recommended dose of a weed-infused candy bar on a trip to Colorado shortly after marijuana became legal there in 2014.

Food safety analysts, the same ones who keep our regular food products up-to-snuff, prevent these problems. They test for potency, appropriate labeling, dosage notes and quality control.

“On the technical side, labs working on infused products, such as sweets, pizza or even gourmet food, need scientists and technicians who can help with product development and test the finished products,” writes Irina Ivanova at CBS News.

A food safety inspector typically earns a median salary of $50,000 according to PayScale’s salary data.

3. Cannabis Product Designer

With California uniting the entire west coast in a solid swath of legalized cannabis states, there is now a huge industry full of competing suppliers. With little advertising, and even less name recognition to new customers, companies relay on eye-catching labels and product marketing.

Our data show that product designers are well paid, earning a median salary of $74,000.

4. Cannabis Marketing/Consumer Research/Data Crunching

Analyzing data on cannabis markets and consumers is key to staying ahead of the ebb and flow of this industry.

“Businesses like software management company BioTrack THC and cannabis delivery company Eaze are taking their data and creating custom cannabis consumer reports. The requirements from states to track plants from seed-to-sale have spawned a new industry of software development, while the lack of market data has opened the door for ancillary companies to tap their customer information and then, in turn, sell it,” writes Debra Borchardt at Forbes.

PayScale’s salary data show that a data analyst earns a median salary of $57,600 per year.

5. Cannabis Website Developer

Every business needs basic a web presence, including a website. Just as with any other start-up business, there are theories about how you should build a website for your cannabis business, debates about appropriate e-commerce platforms and look-and-feel discussions.

No longer relegated to word-of-mouth advertising behind the bleachers, the cannabis industry has the same online marketing concerns as any other legitimate commercial concern. With state and federal regulations still in play, oftentimes counter to each other, you need to keep on top of what’s not only possible but legal, too.

Web developers earn a median salary of $57,800 per year, according to PayScale’s data.

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