Florida’s legalization of medical marijuana began in November 2016 with the passing of Amendment 2 to the State Constitution. The amendment passed with 71% of the vote and established the basis of Florida’s medical marijuana system.
Under Amendment 2, Florida residents who suffer from a qualifying condition may be eligible for medical marijuana. Since the passing of this legislation, state residents have been able to legally purchase and consume medical marijuana. However, there has been another benefit to legalization; jobs.
The legal growing and distribution of marijuana have created thousands of jobs across the state whether you are in Naples or Sarasota. From growers and trimmers to dispensary budtenders, the seed-to-sale process requires the effort of numerous marijuana professionals. Here are just 4 of the medical marijuana jobs that legalization has brought to the state of Florida.
Head growers are responsible for coordinating a grow room’s daily operations and processes. As such, they perform arguably the most important role in the seed-to-sale process.
The head grower’s responsibilities can include, but are not limited to: potting, cloning, transferring, feeding, watering, mixing, spraying, maintenance, harvesting, and cleaning. The head grower is ultimately responsible for the quality of work being done inside of a grow operation, and the quality of the final buds produced. They will be responsible for closely monitoring progress and making recommendations or changes as necessary.
A head grower must also function as a manager, overseeing the work of production assistants, and other employees working on the grow, or handling the plants. In their role as manager, a head grower will occasionally need to perform the duties of production assistants and other staff. As such, a head grower must understand every process and operation that takes place inside a grow room.
Head growers may also be responsible for training production assistants or other grow staff. They will be tasked with ensuring that the production staff receives the proper guidance, training, and development that will allow them to consistently produce high-grade marijuana. Head growers must be prepared to mentor grow assistants as they learn on the job, all the while doing their own job.
Growing marijuana can be a rather complex process, especially when doing so commercially. When growing high-grade retail marijuana, the problem quickly becomes one of quality, not just quantity. The enormous number of plants being grown in commercial operations must be carefully cared for and tended to in order to produce the highest-quality cannabis flower possible.
Production assistants work with plants at all stages of the growing process. At any point in time, they may be responsible for duties such as feeding, watering, monitoring growth, and harvesting.
Some are also responsible for the training and trimming of plants. These assistants are in charge of directing plant growth and removing any plant matter that may be inhibiting growth. After harvest, trimmers are also required to remove excess leaves and prepare flower buds for final presentation and packaging.
In addition to grow houses and warehouses, production assistants can also be found in the back rooms of dispensaries. These ‘back of house’ staff work to prepare the dispensary’s flower buds for presentation and sale in the storefront. These positions can include late-stage trimmers, employees responsible for packaging and display, and ‘pre-rolled’ joint rollers.
Production assistance positions are great for employees who want to get their foot in the door of the cannabis industry without having to engage in customer service. While these positions may be more labor-intensive than retail posts, they are great for employees who wish to avoid dealing with people.
Laboratory positions are relatively rare in the cannabis field, however, they are also some of the best-paying and most coveted. These positions serve a wide array of purposes and can include everything from third-party lab testers to extraction technicians.
Lab technicians work with plant matter to extract terpenes and cannabinoids. They are instrumental in the production of various cannabis products such as oils, distillates, capsules, topicals, and isolates. Instead of working directly with dispensaries and customers, lab technicians are usually employed by brands and businesses that develop marijuana products.
Lab technicians may also find work testing marijuana products. In order to determine the exact cannabinoid content and terpene profile of a plant, it must be carefully tested for. As a result, certain laboratories now hire technicians specializing in marijuana testing to test the products of their clients in the cannabis industry.
Working for a dispensary is the quickest and easiest way to get your foot in the door of the marijuana industry. Retail dispensary staff can include everyone from the budtenders that process sales to the security watching the door. According to the recruiting service Glassdoor, budtenders, sales associates, and brand ambassadors are currently 3 of the most in-demand jobs in the cannabis industry.
Retail positions are a great way for inexperienced workers to get their foot in the door of the cannabis industry. Typically, these positions do not require much training and are not particularly stressful. Dispensaries and brands have developed training and education programs that can effectively prepare just about anybody to fill these positions.
However, many employees may actually find themselves doing most of their learning on the job. In addition to learning more about cannabis products and the marijuana industry, employees will also develop a thorough understanding of customer service through their interactions with retail customers.
Brand ambassadors do most of their work outside of the dispensary at trade shows, events, promotional opportunities, or other dispensaries in the brand’s chain. These can be both short-term and long-term positions that vary in scope and responsibility. Since they can also give employees valuable experience working with customers, these types of positions may be more suited to employees looking to pivot into promotional or experiential marketing roles.
Managers and assistant managers are usually the best-paid dispensary positions available. However, they also come with more responsibility. Many managers are actually front-end staff that have been promoted through the ranks, but many actually come in from other industries. Workers with strong sales and management backgrounds are ideal candidates for retail management positions.