Marijuana is uprooting laws everywhere and set the United States on fire with intrigue. Currently, 33 states have legalized marijuana in some form, whether it’s recreational or medicinal. At this rate, by 2021 the industry is projected to net $31.4 billion.
With such exponential growth, dispensaries are now popping up everywhere, and everyone wants a piece of the profits. Growers are starting to cultivate fields of the plant in hopes that they’ll reap more green than just marijuana.
If you’re watching the marijuana industry expansion, and you’re thinking of starting your cannabis cultivation, read on to learn the numbers of a marijuana grower’s salary and more.
Planning to cultivate marijuana for a living, planting marijuana outdoors is still the cheapest way to go about it.
People who grow marijuana tend to be known as cannabis cultivators or marijuana growers. Cannabis is the technical term for marijuana.
In short, cannabis cultivators oversee the growth and production of marijuana. Typically marijuana is grown in a greenhouse. These greenhouses range anywhere from small-scale to several thousand feet.
Even though cannabis is a relatively easy plant to grow, there are certain aspects that are needed to produce a quality product. Cultivators become experts in marijuana. They understand the details that go into growing a healthy crop, such as soil, water, lighting, temperature, and more.
The responsibilities don’t stop at growth, production, and oversight.
Cultivators potentially manage an array of different tasks related to their business. One day they could be inspecting their crops, another day they could be dedicated to marketing, meeting with buyers, combing through finances, or maintaining strict guidelines.
At this time, the market is vast for growers and opportunity is plentiful.
Marijuana cultivation is where everything begins. This is where you’ll find some of the highest-paying marijuana jobs. However, working in cultivation also requires a special set of skills.
Cultivation requires in-depth knowledge of growing techniques and the latest technology. You’ll also need to know the various strains of marijuana and the unique demands of each.
The most common jobs in marijuana cultivation include Master Grower, Junior Grower, and Bud Trimmer.
The master grower is often one of the highest-payed position in the industry. This person is primarily responsible for overseeing the cultivation of these high-value plants. They’re also responsible for an array of critical tasks including:
- Managing all grow house employees
- Dealing with compliance inspectors
- Interacting with DEA and local law enforcement
The average salary for a master grower ranges from $80,000 to $150,000. This often well exceeds the average botanist salary for non-marijuana-related jobs.
A junior grower or a master grower in training works directly under the master grower. This person is primarily responsible for successfully growing the plants. Duties include planting, cloning, feeding, and proper watering.
Junior growers can expect to earn salaries in the range of $30,000 to $70,000.
Bud trimmers are responsible for manicuring the plants. This includes hand-trimming the buds during harvest season.
Bud trimmer is an excellent entry-level job. It’s a great way to break into a marijuana cultivation career with plenty of room for upward mobility.
No formal education is typically required for this position. The average bud trimmer salary is $20,000 to $25,000 per year.
The Relationship Between Growers and Dispensaries
Selling to a dispensary isn’t as clear-cut as it sounds. There could be some humps to overcome, especially when it comes to legalities.
For starters, you’ll need a license to sell, and licenses can vary depending on which state you live or want to market to.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to sell to a medical or recreational dispensary. This is probably one of the most vital decisions you make when choosing to cultivate cannabis for a few reasons.
First, the standards for medical marijuana are higher than recreational. Even though each dispensary will have their requirements, marijuana that’s sold to medical dispensaries must be of strict medical quality.
Second, again, each dispensary will have their requirements and preferences on which type of marijuana they will purchase.
Some want organic, or specific strains. Knowing which dispensary you’re aiming for when growing, narrows your choices down so you can focus on producing a stellar crop.
Profit In Cultivation Of Marijuana
The range of pay for growers fluctuates according to location, size of crops, where and how marijuana grows, and the laws in your area. An average annual salary could be between $50,000 and up to $100,000 or substantially more.
The best way to illustrate how much you can actually profit from marijuana cultivation is to show you the profit of some marijuana companies. The amount of money that farmers earn by supplying various dispensaries in the US is affected by the size of the company’s operation.
To help you imagine the amount of profit you can earn, let us take the state of Washington as our sampling site.
The top 5 producers of marijuana in the state of Washington as a sample, the fifth placer actually made $28,031,838 in 2018. The number one company made $200,662,980 in 2018. On average, in that year, all the 990 growers in Washington State earned $1,057,383. The top 10% of companies that operate farms for marijuana on the other hand made $8,232,026 on average. For the bottom 90%, the average profit for 2018 was $268,253.
How is Cannabis Grown?
Cannabis sativa L. has been selectively bred for years to retain certain qualities and lose others. When referring to cannabis cultivation resulting in the sale of high-THC products to consumers, the goal is to optimize cannabinoid concentration in the flowers. Cannabis flowers from feminized, unfertilized plants contain trichomes–resinous glands, which secrete cannabinoids THC and CBD, as well as terpenes.
In order to grow cannabis effectively, master growers use their knowledge to devise methods for hydroponic or traditional soil methods of cultivation. In either case, growers are responsible for making sure that seeds are properly germinated, transported, fed and given adequate nutrition. As plants get older, growers must make sure to keep the crop safe from pests and bacteria, while growing it under the most optimal environmental conditions possible.
Once matured, growers must decide whether or not they are going to flush the plants and when is the optimal time to harvest. When considering how much do master growers make, it’s important to realize that the job involves a lot of personal commitment to the operation and high stress. The success or lack thereof of a crop primarily rests on the shoulders of the master grower, making it one of the most high-pressure careers in the industry.
How Do I Become a Grower?
Becoming a cannabis cultivator is much more complex than just buying a few plants and hoping for the best.
Having a license is a must, but before that comes many other factors.
A degree in horticulture or extensive knowledge and experience in the field of botany can help tremendously.
Realize growing cannabis is an opportunity to grow and learn in your craft more than you already do. Resist the urge to call yourself ‘a master grower’ and instead showcase your product.
Growing cannabis is hard work. Most likely, you’ll be responsible for the health of more than 100 plants at a time.
If you have trouble maintaining houseplants or even a garden, seriously reconsider pursuing a career as a grower.
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