Building a Career in Cannabis: Unique Ways to Make Money While Growing Marijuana

The legal cannabis industry has been exploding in both value and popularity in recent years. As the widespread march toward cannabis normalization and legalization continues, more and more entrepreneurial-minded individuals are hoping to get their hands in on the action. Whether you love cannabis for its recreational benefits or its medicinal value, building a career out of your passion can be a great way to lead a well-lived life.

While there are many ways to make money in the world of cannabis, we wanted to take a moment to focus on two of the most enjoyable ways, in our opinion: growing and selling both the product and your expertise.

Making Money by Growing Cannabis

At the time of this writing, the global cannabis industry is estimated to be valued at more than $46.8 billion by the year 2025. With rapid expansion into a variety of new sectors, there is more opportunity than ever for savvy-minded individuals to take advantage of. For most cannabis enthusiasts, this means starting at the ground level as a grower.

What is a cannabis grower? How can you build a profit with this hobby?

Let’s explore! 

How Do I Become a Grower?

A cannabis grower is someone who professionally cultivates legal cannabis for the purposes of selling to a business, such as a licensed dispensary. Cannabis cultivators can grow on open farms, indoors through hydroponics, or in greenhouses. Most professional growers prefer to utilize the indoor growing option as it allows them the most time and control over how their crop manifests.

At its most basic level, anyone can be a grower so long as they follow the right steps, both legally and practically, to learn and master their craft.

Most cannabis cultivation facilities want their growers to have a degree in horticulture or botany, though these are flexible concepts. Later on, we will delve into a few of the starting gigs that you can enjoy at a cannabis cultivation center to get your feet wet in the industry.

Can I Sell to Dispensaries?

While it may seem simple to grow cannabis (it isn’t), that is nothing next to the legal and regulatory steps you must take to begin earning a living through the product. 

To become a grower and to begin selling to dispensaries, you must first earn a cultivation license. These licenses and certificates show that you have the expertise and the regulatory permission necessary to cultivate cannabis. Once this license has been acquired, you can begin growing and selling your very own cannabis to dispensaries throughout your state.

As regulations will vary from one state to the next, be sure to maintain close communications with your state’s regulatory board to ensure compliance.

How Much Will I Make Selling to Dispensaries?

How much you make selling your cannabis to a dispensary will depend on your product, location, and the type of dispensary that you are selling to. On average, the Top 10% of cultivators earn an average of $1.05 million in annual sales. 

Let’s delve into the different positions that you can anticipate working within the cannabis cultivation field.

Starting Gigs in Cannabis Cultivation

Listed below, find the most common positions available in the cannabis cultivation world. We’ll provide estimates on salaries with the caveat that they can fluctuate greatly between areas depending on demand.

  • Trimmer – Considered the entry point for cannabis cultivation, Bud Trimmers work directly with the plant to prune away fan and sugar leaves while leaving behind beautiful bud to dry and cure. Trimmers earn, on average, between $30 and $35k per year.
  • Grow Assistant – A Grow Assistant, or Assistant Grower, will work closely under the Master Grower to ensure that all tasks are accomplished. A grow assistant will learn the ins and outs of the job while accruing the experience necessary to take the next step. On average, this position pays between $43k and $53k per year.
  • Master Grower – With the right experience level and growing expertise, this is the position that most individuals aspire to claim. Master Growers have intense knowledge of cannabis, horticulture, and the work required of a dispensary. Master Growers are charged with maintaining gardens, addressing horticultural concerns, and maintaining a roster of employees. Master Growers are also charged with ensuring garden safety and federal/state compliance.

Becoming a Cannabis Influencer

In an age where the vast majority of people are connected to the internet at all times, it makes sense to try and present yourself and your business ideas to them on that platform. Cannabis growers and enthusiasts can shift to the digital sphere to make money with cannabis by embracing their role as an influencer.

An influencer is an individual with popularity and authority in an industry. These individuals can specialize in a variety of different concepts, from lifestyle branding to politics. For our purposes, we are focusing on the cannabis growers among us.

Influencers aren’t just individuals with millions of followers, they are regular everyday growers like you and me.

Focus on Your Niche

Getting into the scene as a cannabis influencer can be as intimidating as it is difficult. Cannabis is popular and finding a way to carve out a space for yourself can be a tough task. Utilize your skills as a grower to offer something new and exciting to your audience.

As a grower, you can share direct insights from your work and photographs of your final products, and you can even link to monetized versions of your expertise – such as through an eBook or Guide!

Blog and Monetize Your Experiences

As a cannabis influencer, you don’t need 50,000 followers to start monetizing your work. Influencers come in all shapes and sizes in terms of their following. 

  • Nano Influencer – 1,000 to 10,000 Followers
  • Mid Tier Influencer – 10,000 to 50,000 Followers
  • Macro Influencer – 50,000 to 500,000 Followers
  • Celebrities – 1,000,000 Followers

Depending on where you are at on this influencer scale, the opportunity to make a sizable income is there. As a cannabis grower, it is up to you to put together ways to stand out from the crowd. One of the best ways is by monetizing your experiences through growing guides.

Write and Sell Guides on Growing

If you are a master grower, it is time to take advantage of the skills and knowledge you’ve accrued. Compile your growing knowledge into a digital e-book for sale on the internet. By utilizing your baked-in skills, you can create a series of passive income streams that continue to grow as you continue to hustle. 

Develop Affiliate Marketing Skills

As you continue to build your audience through timely posts and dynamic content, you will become increasingly profitable to companies looking for affiliate marketers. Utilize your skills and your reach to begin affiliate marketing, sharing links from companies you believe in to make more money on the back-end.

With the right mindset and motivations, a master grower can earn a living while trimming their plants, writing their books, and selling to dispensaries all at the same time.

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