The Top 5 Cannabis Careers of 2016
Looking for a new line of work? Try a career in the cannabis industry.
It’s said the cannabis industry is growing so rapidly that working in it for just one year is equivalent to three years working in any other industry. Currently, 25 states plus Washington D.C. have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. Four of these states have legalized cannabis completely, while five more intend to vote recreational cannabis use into existence in November. This means half the United States is now home to a burgeoning cannabis industry replete with jobs and opportunity, while nearly one-sixth of the country is experiencing an all-out cannabis “Green Rush.” These five careers are currently leading the charge.
Cannabis edible production is based on formal culinary practices like baking, chocolate and candy making and other compounding techniques like infusions, extracts and emulsions. As the industry grows and regulations loosen, chefs and apothecaries alike are creating edible cannabis products in functional and exciting new ways. From the hottest new candies, topical oils and edible ointments, to private chefs and elite supper club parties hosted by five-star chefs, skilled culinary artisans the world over are bridging the gap between a plant once known as “Weed” and the discerning gourmand.
As cannabis farming practices and subsequent branding and marketing efforts toil to line dispensary shelves with everything from vape-pen cartridges filled with strain-specific terpene oils, cannabis flower grown organically and biodynamically, and edibles of premium cannabis paired with some of the world’s finest chocolate, the demand for knowledgeable and sophisticated budtenders staffing the dispensary frontlines is on the rise. In previous years, basic marijuana knowledge would suffice. Now, budtenders learn tasting notes, pairing knowledge, and historical perspective, to ensure products are properly represented and successfully suggested to demanding consumers, from farm-to-table.
There’s a bit of a war being waged over which cannabis extraction techniques are the best, purest and hardest hitting of them all. A clean, high yielding, consistent extraction is paramount to creating successful cannabis products and extraction technicians are becoming rock-stars of the cannabis industry by innovating proprietary extraction methods all their own. Extraction labs are often tightly regulated and require a deep understanding of chemistry, physics and mathematics from their technicians. In-demand lab technicians often net respectable salaries plus benefits and sometimes company equity, especially if the technician brings to the table highly innovative and marketable methods of extracting sought after terpenes and cannabinoids.
Like fine wine, cannabis is becoming a connoisseur commodity. Master cultivators know how to produce cannabis with all the aesthetics of a masterpiece: fragrant bouquet, well defined calyxes, and glistening trichomes. They are paying close attention to elevated terpene profiles, looking for whether the smoke or vapor satisfies discerning customers, and providing CBD strains that calm the most upended patients. Even more so, master growers know how to produce these results consistently…and to scale, all the while producing a product free of molds, pesticides and fungus that simultaneously appeals to the sight, smell, touch, and taste senses of a demanding consumer base. It’s incredibly difficult. Pests threaten. State and local regulations dictate energy and water consumption. Master growers are both agile and determined…and quickly becoming captains of the cannabis industry. Rightfully so.
Harvesters & Trimmers
A harvest can be tossed into bulk trimming machines, but it’ll immediately lose shelf appeal…plus a countless number of beautiful pistils and gleaming trichomes. Professional trimmers hand pick each flower, carefully cutting away excess leaf, shaping the plant into curvaceous frosty buds while preserving trichomes and allowing pistils to maintain their lightning-like extend into the air. These aesthetics help premium cannabis sell-through and a certain trim style is often the hallmark of a master grower. Trimmers typically work in harvest cycles and earn bonuses for completing their work quickly, without sacrificing quality. Working on trim teams is also a great way to learn the ins and outs of large scale cultivation and cannabis processing.
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