In Colorado and Washington, where marijuana cultivation and sales have become a legitimate part of the statewide commerce, a wealth of non-traditional career opportunities have opened up that have the potential to earn those without a college degree a comparable—or even higher—annual salary than those of their academically endowed counterparts.
A recent report by The Columbian indicated that the average bud trimmer, whose job is to meticulously prune pot leaves from buds using a pair of tiny scissors, earns a starting wage of anywhere between $12 to $15 per hour. This already pays better than the majority of jobs available to the unskilled workforce.
More importantly, however, as these workers gain more hands-on experience within the industry, their earning potential can significantly increase with a promotion to gardener or concentrate developer, allowing some of these work horses to reap a salary of anywhere between $50,000 to $90,000 per year.
It’s for this reason that many individuals, at least those who have found themselves burned out from the corporate grind, have thrown their jackets and ties in the garbage in pursuit of a career within this burgeoning industry that comes with steady work and a rapid opportunity for advancement.
Bud trimmers are one of the most highly sought after laborers in both the legitimate and black market cannabis trade. In fact, it is common to see people from all over the world migrate to places like Humboldt County, California to cast a bid on the seasonal bud trimming jobs that become available during the fall harvest season. Some reports suggest that freelance bud trimmers in these areas can earn anywhere from $300 to $500 per day, which varies depending on the efficiency of the worker. These positions are paid at a higher rate, however, because many of the grow operations are illegal and the job comes with the risk of some occupational hazards.
A report released last year by the Marijuana Industry Group found that in Colorado alone, at least 10,000 new jobs were created during the first few months of legal sales—making weed one of the most lucrative industries in the state. Since then, Washington state’s retail pot market has managed to get up and running, and Alaska and Oregon recently passed initiatives to launch cannabis industries of their own. It stands to reason that as statewide legalization becomes more widespread, there will be a tremendous demand for entry-level bud trimmers looking to get their foot in the door of the next industrial revolution.