Marijuana Job Opportunities – Alaska Cannabis Institute


The Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development predicts Alaska is
on track for its first year of job losses in seven years as the price of oil continues to slide. However, those who want to land a job in the marijuana industry are going to have plenty of opportunities.

From cultivators to processors and retailers, there is plenty of work to go around in the marijuana industry. To get an idea, take a look at these jobs that cannabis businesses will be hiring for in the near future.

Demand for trimming labor – or “trimmigrants” as they are called in the lower-48 – is expected to spike in August as the first licensed marijuana growers harvest their first crop for retail. Trimmers are responsible for trimming away all the small leaves away from the bud; and it’s a really important job because consumers’ purchasing decisions are swayed by the appearance of the bud. Trimmers are generally paid by the weight of the finished products, which is approximately $15 per ounce.

Cannabis Cultivator
A lot of people applying for a marijuana cultivation license admittedly don’t know enough about growing top-shelf marijuana as they need to know to compete. That’s why a lot of marijuana license holders will hire or contract a professional marijuana grower; because consumers are only going to buy the best cannabis available. But being a professional grower is a lot of responsibility. They need to know everything about nutrient requirements, mediums, light sources, temperature control, air flow; plant diseases, insects and fungi, and plant treatment; and marijuana genetics and breeding.

Clone Manager
Alaska has some fine cannabis genetic breeders, and a lot of these breeders need help managing production of their mother plants and clones. Clones managers are responsible cutting and labeling clones, maintaining inventory tracking, organization, and cleanliness – so it’s an involved position. For people interested in this kind of job, expect to be paid a minimum base salary with favorable sales and marketing incentives.

Edible Baker
The MCB changed the rules and regulations in the final hour to allow consumption on-site at retail stores. Many people don’t know how the state’s indoor smoking laws and the on-site consumption allowance are going to co-exist, but most agree edibles are no problem. Marijuana product manufacturers are going to be busy, and will need help making products. People interested in this role need to have their food safety permit in addition to their marijuana handler’s permit. A beginner cook can earn $15 per hour while a more experienced chef can earn closer to $30 per hour.

Extraction Technician
Extraction Technicians really are specialists in the marijuana industry. Concentrates are the new new thing, and people who know how to produce the best concentrates are going to be in high demand. Good, quality concentrates can retail for as much as $80 per gram; and a top-quality extraction technician can yield 25% to 30% on “nug runs,” a technique where the technician processes buds instead of trim or shake. Somebody who works as an extraction technician needs to have a solid background on a variety of extraction techniques, including CO2, dry ice, water hash, butane, propane, and others. Extraction technicians can expect to start at $25 per hour, while more experienced techs can earn as much as $50 per hour.

Arguably the most important job in the industry, the budtender acts as a sales person, credible resource, and gate-keeper of all cannabis products. For example, budtenders are consistently asked for recommendations, and if they aren’t up to speed on a particular brand’s product, then that product doesn’t sell as well. Budtenders need to be well versed in the types of marijuana products for sale, methods of ingestion, and how to ring up customers in compliance with state rules and regulations. People wanting to work in this position can expect to earn $15 an hour to begin.

Whether you want to own a marijuana business or work in the marijuana industry, there are going to be plenty of opportunities available beginning in the Summer of ’16.

For more information, remember to check back each week to follow this series of blogs at

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