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Medical Marijuana Grower: Jobs, Salary & License Requirements

Medical marijuana is now legal in half of the United States. As a medical marijuana grower, you will need a strong background in horticulture and excellent attention to detail.

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Career Definition of Medical Marijuana Growers

In your role as a medical marijuana grower, you will be responsible for the actual growth and care of marijuana plants. You can choose to operate as an independent grower or join an established medical marijuana dispensing company. If you join an established dispensary, you may be entitled to a portion of the dispensary's profits.

Your primary focus as a medical marijuana grower is the health of the marijuana plants. Your job duties may include ensuring the plants are protected from pests, watering and adding nutrients to the plants as needed, creating clones from existing plants and relocating them. You will also be responsible for harvesting the plants when they have reached maturity. In addition to plant care, you may also be tasked with cleaning, maintaining, and inspecting growing equipment. Master growers are typically responsible for large scale production and may oversee other cultivators and assistants.

Educational Requirements Bachelor's degree
Job Skills Horticulture knowledge, ability to work independently, attention to detail, physical stamina, and management/supervision
Median Salary (2018)* $50,346

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Required Education

As a medical marijuana grower, you will usually need a bachelor's degree. Applicable fields of study for this career include physical science disciplines or horticulture. There are currently twenty-nine states in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, where you can become a medical marijuana grower.

Each state is able to set its own requirements for becoming a licensed medical marijuana grower. You will likely need to meet a minimum age requirement and pass a criminal background check. In Colorado, for example, master growers require an MED key badge; the age requirement is 21, applicants must be state residents, the application includes a criminal background check, and the fee is $250. Felony convictions often prohibit employment is this industry.

Required Skills

As a medical marijuana grower, you will need an excellent knowledge of horticulture, especially medical cannabis and genetics, to design growing systems, ensure the health of plants, and maximize harvests. You must have the ability to work independently as this can be a solitary job. In this role, you should also have excellent attention to detail and analysis abilities to perform your job duties. Maintaining and harvesting marijuana plants is a precise science which requires careful processing. You will need physical stamina in this career as it is active work that can involve heavy lifting and equipment operation. Master growers may be responsible for supervising and coordinating other cultivators.

Career Outlook and Salary

The career outlook for medical marijuana growers is not covered by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as more states and regions legalize medical cannabis, demand for growers, particular master growers, is likely to be strong. In 2018, PayScale.com listed a median yearly salary of $50,346 for medical marijuana growers.

Related Careers

A career as a medical marijuana grower requires an understanding of pest management, plant lighting systems and growing cycles. Take a look at three alternative careers that make use of these skills and may spark your interest.

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