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6 jobs that can earn you a 6-figure salary in the $85 billion cannabis industry


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  • In thecannabis industry, there are opportunities to make six-figure salaries in some of the industry’s top roles. 
  • The cannabis-industry recruitment firmVangstrecorded a 79% increase from 2018 to 2019 in total available jobs in the field.
  • We’ve rounded up the six top-earning positions in the cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, and retail sectors of cannabis, according to Vangst’s salary report.
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Despite a wave of recent layoffs at big cannabis companies and venture-backed startups, the industry still has an exciting future ahead. 

Wall Street analysts say cannabis could become an $85 billion industry by 2030, and most Democratic candidates for president have advocated for full-scale legalization.

If you’re looking to work in cannabis, whether it’s selling a new product or making a complete midcareer change, you can find opportunities to earn a high salary in some of the industry’s top roles. 

The cannabis-industry recruitment firm Vangst partners with more than 600 companies to place candidates in jobs across 14 US markets. The company recorded a 79% increase from 2018 to 2019 in total available job opportunities.

Vangst’s annual salary guide showed how much money candidates could expect to make in various positions. Based on the report, Business Insider rounded up the jobs that could earn you six-figure salaries. 

In 2019, the cannabis industry employed about 200,000 people in the US, and that number is expected to increase to more than 400,000 by 2021, according to Vangst’s guide.

“We’re coming out with this report as a lot of companies are laying people off, and people are reluctant about cannabis employment opportunities,” Vangst CEO Karson Humiston said in a November interview. “But look at the actual facts: There are 211,000 people employed in cannabis right now, and this number is expected to reach over 400,000 by 2021. The industry is growing; the number of jobs is growing, and that’s a fact.”

The report includes only vertically integrated sectors of the cannabis industry. These jobs are also known as “touching-the-plant” roles and involve cultivation, lab work, extraction, manufacturing, and retail.

Jobs “not touching the plant,” such as marketing and web development, were not included in the report because their salaries are generally the same as in other industries. 

The numbers given are averages of the highest and 50th percentile. These candidates typically have strong expertise and directly relevant educational backgrounds. The jobs are salary-based and highly competitive. We did not include jobs that pay hourly rates. It’s also important to note that salaries are relative to cost of living, so actual salaries may be higher or lower depending on the state you live in. 

Here are the jobs in cannabis that can earn you six figures.

Director of cultivation – $118,600

AP Photo/Steven Senne

A cultivation director is the highest position within cultivation facilities, which grow cannabis plants. They oversee facility operations and production goals, manage employees, and create standard operating procedures.

Compliance manager – $122,000

Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty

A compliance manager is responsible for researching and interpreting regulatory compliance at each level of the cannabis supply chain, from cultivation to retail.

Director of retail – $124,200

Wikus de Wet/AFP via Getty

A retail director leads a team in a store that sells the cannabis products. The director ensures stores have the best resources, policies, and standard operating procedures to cater to their customers. 

Vice president of manufacturing – $167,000


In the manufacturing sector, a vice president oversees projects from start to finish and is responsible for ensuring product quality and development.

Vice president of retail – $152,000

Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty

A retail vice president is responsible for the strategic objectives of a company, including compliance, budgets, business plans, scaling, and policies. This role also manages the company’s profit, loss, and inventory.


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