According to New Frontier Data, a national research firm, by 2020 the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs.
Comparable statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that will be more jobs than the manufacturing industry.
If you want to be part of this industry but don’t know much about growing or selling, consider starting as a budtrimmer.
This entry-level position in the growing and processing side of the industry provides a foot in the door for cannabis career opportunities.
Budtrimmers are asked to take every harvested and dried marijuana flower, and cut off any stray leaves to make every bud look nicely rounded and symmetrical. This makes it look more uniform when it is packaged and sent to the retailers, and hopefully more appealing to customers.
While some machines are able to perform automated trimming, many producers and retailers think humans performing hand-trimming can make a significant difference in appearance and quality, plus generally gives a perception that a company puts attention on high quality and attention to detail.
The process of trimming the plant to make it attractive is even considered an art by some.
“While most of our budtrimmers are entry-level, we certainly do appreciate those with experience also,” said Chris Leeper, head grower at GrowState, a Spokane producer. “Our budtrimmers demonstrate proficiency, organization, and attention to detail in a fast-paced environment.”
It’s not necessarily an easy job – trimmers usually sit for a full shift with nothing but scissors and buckets or bags of buds that keep on coming. It’s generally a good idea to wear thick gloves to protect from getting cut or poked and to avoid any skin exposure to the marijuana product.
“Dexterity is a helpful trait,” Leeper said. “Cosmetologists can make great budtrimmers.”
He said it’s also important for budtrimmers to be resourceful and work well both independently and with a team. GrowState generally employs at least six team members on staff for budtrimming. The company typically runs one eight-hour shift a day, but some busier companies may have longer or multiple shifts.
For some, a career working with legal cannabis can be a dream come true. GrowState budtrimmer Bobby Adams has been enjoying the process.
“Being able to wake up every day knowing that I get to come to work to work with legal marijuana is something I have always dreamed about and there is nothing better than that,” he said.
Crest Greco, another budtrimmer at GrowState, shares that hand trimming is important.
“I love being a bud trimmer for the love of the product and to ensure the customer has an excellent experience,” he said.
Leeper says that there is always room for growth and advancement for budtrimmers within the GrowState operations.
“An employee interested in advancing their employment responsibilities must show devotion to their current position and their ability to work beyond their current skill-set,” he said. “We have an excellent staff here at GrowState, so employee referrals are quite common.”
Wages vary by company and experience, but in Washington the going rate for a full-time position is around $11-14/hour. Some companies also offer health benefits.
Curious how job openings are posted in the industry? There are job posting sections on many industry websites, and you can often ads for trimmers on common job boards too.
Currently many local operations offer hands-on training for those new to the industry. For those who want to go the extra mile, there are a variety of online training courses, such as Cannabis Training University, which offers various courses including a Master Certificate program. This a private online training program and not related to any accredited college or university programs.