What is a Marijuana Master Grower?
Marijuana master growers oversee operations at cannabis production facilities. This typically includes sourcing, cloning, transplanting, and providing nutrients for various strains of marijuana plants; setting up and maintaining irrigation systems and environmental controls; and ensuring that the facility is pest-free. Marijuana master growers also might manage other cannabis production employees, including bud trimmers and extraction technicians, and keep track of their facility's inventory. Additionally, they must ensure that the production facility remains clean and organized, much like a laboratory environment, and that tasks are completed within budgetary and time constraints.
Marijuana production for medical and recreational use is a growing industry, with one or both uses legal in 30 states and the District of Columbia as of March 2018, so many marijuana master growers are charged with building facilities from the ground up. However, because marijuana hasn't been legalized in all states, marijuana master growers are limited to working in those areas where it is legal. Many facilities seek workers who are at least 21 years old.
|Educational Requirements||Minimum of a bachelor's degree|
|Job Skills||Leadership and organizational skills, written and verbal communication skills, greenhouse or indoor farming experience, knowledge of various strains of cannabis and plant genetics|
|Median Salary (2020)*||$15.50 per hour|
Marijuana master growers typically need a bachelor's degree or higher in horticulture, agriculture, agronomy or a related field. These programs generally include courses in soil science, plant biology, genetics and botany. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer certificate programs in cannabis science and/or medicine, which might cover topics like marijuana production and safety, law and policy, and biological effects of marijuana. Elective classes specifically related to the business of marijuana also are available.
Marijuana master growers likely will need to be licensed by the state in which they work. For example, in Colorado, master growers must hold a Key Employee Marijuana Enforcement Division Occupational License from the Colorado Department of Revenue. The application process for this license includes passing a criminal background check and paying a fee.
Since most cannabis production facilities are indoors (in fact, several states mandate that marijuana for dispensaries be grown indoors), marijuana master growers usually need experience working at a greenhouse or indoor farm. Additionally, the management portion of the job requires leadership, organizational and communication skills for activities including training employees and establishing schedules and workflow. Marijuana master growers also need extensive knowledge of cannabis strains and plant genetics to be able to track and catalog plants from the clone stage to harvesting.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have career outlook projections specific to marijuana master growers. However, as noted earlier, the marijuana industry is experiencing steady growth as more states legalize medical and recreational use.
PayScale.com reported that cannabis growers earned a median of $15.50 per hour as of May 2020. Many employers also offer master growers a percentage of the company's profits.
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