As more countries and states legalize cannabis, the industry offers increasing numbers of job opportunities from budtenders to Master Growers. With no signs of slowing heading through 2021, there will be employment opportunities as the industry attempts to keep pace with that growth and as there are expansion and change.
One of the positions that are now in high demand in the cannabis industry is that of Master Grower otherwise known as the Director of Cultivation. This is a position that is not open to just anyone. It is a legitimate, specialized position that requires an educated background and a solid understanding of the cannabis industry.
Master Grower is a new term and position that comes with this new industry. As more governments change their laws to allow both medical and recreational use of marijuana, the position of Master Grower is becoming more legitimized within the industry and beyond.
A person who holds the title of Master Grower is someone whose career goal is to make the cultivation of cannabis the best that it can be. A Master Grower usually has an educational background that includes a Master’s Degree (Masters of Science (MSc) in Botany or horticulture). This is not always the case but as the competition for these jobs increases, a master’s degree will become required for most of the Master Grower positions.
If you don’t have that level of education, it is still possible to become a Master Grower with a BA or certain other educational specifications along with at least 5 years or more of cultivating experience in a large legal grow company. This will change as more individuals enter the job marketplace.
Know Your Stuff
Lots of people in the cannabis industry talk a good game but to be a Master Grower, there must be a complete understanding of the industry. It isn’t good enough to just know the language and terminology but knowing all the basics about growing, cannabis strains and the marketplace is critical.
A Master Grower must be well versed in all the details around cultivating cannabis. Understanding the stages of growth and propagation including cloning if being used, seeds, veg and flower stages are crucial. These are not terms that can just be tossed around. They are critical to the job and good production.
A Master Grower must know details beyond the plants themselves. An understanding of ventilation, temperature, the timing of lights, type of lights, water and humidity are all central to being in the position.
Further understanding is needed regarding nutrients, possible pest issues, pH levels and any other problems that can play havoc with the plants a grower is responsible for.
Along with plant care, a Master Grower must have a solid understanding of all regulations, legislation and laws that apply to the company. They will have to deal with inspectors and law enforcement, so it is critical to know all the legalities. Paperwork needs to be maintained and submitted to meet requirements and guidelines. If it isn’t, the company can be fined, have recalls or be shut down. A company can’t have someone in the Master Grower position who us unable to meet these standards.
If you want to be a Master Grower, then hard work is a must as is continuing education. The job is not about just growing a few cannabis plants in the backyard, these are major legal grow companies that are 10-50000 square feet. The days will be long and full and require a Master Grower to be dedicated and informed.
Master Growers work hard and some of that work can be tedious. Being a Master Grower means you must spend time with each plant and track details such as growth cycles, nutrient levels, water makeup and any other health problems that could affect a crop. It’s a wonderful feeling to bring a harvest in but it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point.
Master Grower Responsibilities
Becoming a Master Grower means understanding the responsibilities that the job entails. Companies looking to hire a Master Grower are searching for someone who has a strong horticulture background but is also a good manager. Their skills need to include:
- Extensive understanding of crop maintenance as well as grow and trim space
- Good collaborative skills to work with other company experts
- HR skills for hiring and firing
- Expert knowledge about soil, nutrients, pH levels and other required plant growth needs
- Extensive knowledge of plant pests and how to deal with them
- Understanding about types of lights, different phases and timing
- Evaluating and maintaining proper temperature, airflow, and humidity
- Expert in local and area legislation and law
- Able to run and maintain inventory and POS systems
A salary range for a Master Grower can range from $90K – $150K in bigger companies.
Be Willing to Start at the Bottom
If you don’t have a master’s degree in botany or horticulture, that doesn’t rule out being a Master Grower. You can start farther down the employment ladder and work your way up. Become a trimmer, grow assistant, or even a budtender to get experience and build the networks that help you work your way up the ladder to Master Grower. Many of these jobs pay well and are a good start in the industry.
The two most helpful positions will be a bud trimmer and grow assistant. Bud trimmers offer hands-on experience in the company as well as with the product. Working with a product that has been harvested means you learn about it and the growing area. A bud trimmer manicures the bud that is going out to a customer.
A further step to be a Master Grower is being a grow assistant. This is someone who has moved up from bud trimmer or has some education or experience. An assistant works with other cannabis growers. This is a great job to work at to learn about growing and experiencing the processes. There is a lot to learn from the other growers.
There are lots of employment and educational opportunities in the ever-growing cannabis industry. Master Grower is a great one to have as a goal. You can go the route of traditional learning and get the appropriate master’s degree or work your way up through the industry with additional training and education. Either way, it is a good job to apply for and certainly is in demand around the industry.