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What is a Master Weed Growers Salary?

Bryan McAllister

By Bryan McAllister

July 16, 2020

top of cannabis plant

top of cannabis plant

So you’ve read through our article on

and you think you’re ready to step into the grow operation spotlight – One important piece of information you’ll need is exactly how much you can expect to make being at the top of a cannabis farm’s agricultural operations.

Master growers usually make a good living for their knowledge and efforts, though salaries can vary from area to area. We’ll talk about what pay rates are like on marijuana farms in our article below.

What is an Average Master Growers Salary?

We’ll get to the major point first – In the United States, a master grower working at an industrial cannabis farm commands an averaged salary rate of $75,000 – $85,000 per year. Now note: We used the words “averaged salary rate”, which are key in this paragraph.

Different states and provinces offer different rates of salary, some much higher than others and all depending on what the master grower can bring to the table. While a master grower with years of experience might make $85k in California, master growers with very little experience might only make $65k in Oklahoma. In some cases, master growers are paid a percentage of what they grow.

The figure of $100k is averaged out among all the states in the U-S-of-A, meaning an expectation of reaching that $100k a year might either be unobtainable or considered low-end; it all depends on where you live and how much education/experience you have.

What Does a Master Grower Do?

Far beyond simple cultivation and care, the Master Grower on a cannabis farm is ultimately more of a managerial job than custodial.

Beyond choosing the varieties and methods for growing the crops, the Master Grower must also ensure adherence to local law, follow compliance and regulations set by the state, and oversee all growing-related employees.

Benefits of Working as a Master Grower

For some, the work itself is the reward they seek – being able to tend to such unique and special plants such as cannabis is a passion for many, and working in the growing and cultivation field gives that passion a chance to grow (pun mildly intended).

However, for those seeking careers in cannabiz, working in a grow op can also present opportunities that don’t require customer interaction, and can come with financial bonuses as well, depending on how good a harvest may be.

How Can I Make the Maximum for a Master Grower Salary?

When it comes to getting the best salary you can experience and education tend to be the biggest deciding factors. We go over a lot of good information and tips in our aforementioned “How to Become a Master Grower” article but we’ll put some of our most pertinent tips at maximizing your income potential below.

  • Show experience & qualifications: An educational background in horticulture or agriculture helps, and any experience you can bring to the table in working at a commercial farm or from other prior jobs will give you a leg up, even if your experience isn’t directly related to growing cannabis.
  • Show up professional and ready to work: Though it’ll probably be assumed (if not expected) that any master grower also enjoys sampling their product that isn’t an excuse to show up to your interview dazed and blazed. At the master level growers are given a lot of responsibility – prove you’re ready for that responsibility in your interview by not showing up stoned and looking slovenly.
  • Show interest.: Your interviewer not only wants you to demonstrate knowledge but also curiosity. Asking the right questions can be the difference between an “OK” interview and one that really leaves an impression – study up on the farm you’re applying to, know their mission statement and corporate culture, and try to engage your interviewer as you talk.

Remember: Your interview is where a hiring agent makes a judgment call on how much they think you’re worth. The more you can give them in terms of education, experience, knowledge and curiosity, the more likely you are to reach the maximum range of your earning potential.

Will Training or Certification Increase My Salary Potential as a Master Grower?

College education is not always required at the Master Grower level, but many in the industry do have degrees in agriculture or other botanical studies. One way to help yourself stand out against the crowd of competition can be cannabis-specific certification. But do these actually help?

Ultimately, this depends on both the training/certification taken and the farm you are applying at. If you are already at the level of master grower? Odds are any certification or training you receive will just be another drop in the bucket on your list of qualifications – Nice to have, but not essential.

If you’re still trying to work your way up the ladder to reach the position of master grower, though, taking a few extra courses on marijuana cultivation and how to run an industrial grow operation couldn’t hurt.

Our article discussing

talks about several marijuana & cannabis industry schools that also offer courses that can be of help in your quest to become a grower, and we recommend taking a look if you’re unsure where to begin with your search for knowledge on how to raise cannabis.

Just remember: the concept of “one true master grower certification” does not exist (at least at the time of this article’s writing), and while there will always be new things to learn from a variety of different sources, taking an eight-part online course about how to grow marijuana isn’t a substitute for experience at a real, working industrial cannabis farm.

How to Find a Job as a Master Grower

Of course, first and foremost, if looking for a job as a legitimate Master Grower, living in an area with legalized cannabis laws is somewhat of a prerequisite. Legality and requirements vary from state to state, so make sure to check on your local regulations, and be prepared for a potential move if need be.

Assuming location is no issue, the standard routes of looking through online job boards (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, etc.) apply as much here as they would for any other profession; though postings for Master Grower positions may be infrequent, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Even then, as close-knit as the cannabis industry can be, the best way to get an “in” can be via networking. Meeting people and getting to know others in the space can be an excellent way to open doors and opportunities; seek out local cannabis business expos, gatherings, and monthly meetups in your area as a way to expand your network of contacts (and job options).

The Highest Paying Cities for Master Growers

Though these salaries can differ wildly across the nation, these are the highest-paying cities for Master Growers across the United States (as according to

):

  • San Mateo, CA: $86,983 ($41.82 per hour)
  • Boston, MA: $86,364 ($41.52 per hour)
  • Daly City, CA: $85,429 ($41.07 per hour)
  • Berkeley, CA: $85,383 ($41.05 per hour)
  • Renton, WA: $85,164 ($40.94 per hour)

How Does a Master Grower Salary Compare to Other Jobs in the Marijuana Industry?

A master grower is considered one of the top

, and is certainly one of the most respected. While that respect (and responsibility) typically comes with a nice paycheck it’s good to know what your other options in the marijuana industry are, in case you might be interested in something a bit less “involved”.

Marijuana Harvester Salary:

Harvesters (or “trimmers”) are considered low, entry-level jobs and don’t command a fairly high salary. In this position workers are responsible for, as the title says, harvesting and trimming the flowering bud from the grown marijuana plant.

Expect somewhere an average salary between $18,000 – $30,000 per year for this often physically-demanding job.

Assistant Marijuana Grower Salary:

Working directly underneath the master grower these positions are assumed to have both technical competence and skill alongside a solid foundation on cultivation – Assistant growers must usually have at least some fashion of education or experience in horticulture/agriculture/etc., preferably marijuana related.

Considered further up in the hierarchy than your basic harvester position, assistant growers work directly with plant cultivation and care taking, ensuring the plants remain healthy and hearty up to harvest; being an assistant grower is often the first step to becoming a Master Grower.

Salaries for these positions usually start at somewhere around $32,000 per year, and can reach up to $60,000-$70,000 with time and experience.

Marijuana Extraction Technician Salary:

These are the individuals at a farm who handle turning the raw cannabis product into either extracts or edibles. Those working as an extraction technician will likely be handling large, expensive machinery and equipment as part of their day-to-day activities, using industrial means to turn plant matter into concentrates and other such goods.

There are varying levels of seniority within this field of jobs, and both experience and education can make a difference on how much your average salary will be; an entry-level technician can expect earnings of between $40,000 – $75,000 per year, while senior/lead technicians can make salaries on par with the master grower, at $85,000 a year or higher.

Dispensary Budtender Salary:

Mostly but not entirely an entry-level position a good budtender can definitely make a comfortable living working front-end at a dispensary. A good budtender has to blend both knowledge, product familiarity and stellar customer service skills, and if you excel at your craft you’ll also be able to command a higher price for your services.

Budtenders are “front of house” positions for dispensaries, giving (and ultimately selling) customers cannabis bud, concentrates, and edibles alike – in many ways as much of a polar opposite from the more quiet, contemplative, solitary work of a horticulturist.

Salaries in this position start out somewhere around $25,000 a year but expect that to rise up to $35,000 or more as you gain greater experience. This is also a great position to be promoted both into and out of, and a lot of cannabis growers have become budtenders and vice versa.

Dispensary Owner Salary:

The big bucks. As we talk about in our article on

this is an intense job, one that requires a lot of work and some seriously long hours. But if you can tough it out, have a solid plan and can get the sales this is one position that will likely see you set for cash.

Though “salary” can be a bit of a misnomer expect to pull down anywhere from $250,000 to over $2,500,000 per year on your dispensary’s profits.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately it’s important to remember that while there is money in the cannabis industry, for both growers and other positions, it’s best to do something that you truly love and feel passionate for. Not all jobs in the cannabis world will be for everyone, and if you’re just looking to tend a few plants in a small sized grow the world of master growers may not quite be for you.

But if you have the chops, the knowledge, and the drive to grow the best darn cannabis plants the world has ever seen then this might just be the career you’ve been looking for. And somewhere out there? Is a “Growers Wanted” sign with your name on it. Best of luck!

Bryan McAllister

About The Author

Bryan McAllister

HIGH THERE MISSION

WE’RE A CREATIVE COMMUNITY — EXPLORING THE SCIENCE, CRAFT, AND CULTURE OF CANNABIS.
WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS ERADICATING THE STIGMA, MISINFORMATION, AND INEQUITIES SURROUNDING THIS PLANT, SO WE CAN UNLOCK ITS TRUE POTENTIAL FOR ALL.