While stoners love to smoke weed – be it as for medicinal purposes or to just get high, they also know that it is actually a business! Ever since the legalization of marijuana across various states, those states which have approved of it are earning billions in tax revenues. While the state earns quite a bit, those who grow weed are also making significant profits. People who are experienced in growing weed and handling teams of growers under them are called ‘Master Growers’.
We often talk about how to smoke weed and how to grow weed on our website, but today we focus on the other side of things – where the grass is greener – let’s talk money! People often ask us about how much does a master grower typically make. Today, we take a detailed look at this and we answer the question. We also take a look at the cost of growing weed on a personal scale so you get a better idea of how much it would cost you if you were to start growing today!
Who is a Master Grower?
A master grower can basically be compared to what a ‘head chef’ would be at a five-star hotel. She’d be in charge of leading a team of chefs under him, and is someone who oversees the entire process of food being prepared while also doing some preparations personally. The master grower plays a similar organizational role when it comes to growing weed in an industrial scale environment.
When you grow weed on an industrial scale, you are growing several thousand kilograms of weed every year and that requires a lot of care. The master grower oversees the entire process from selection of the seeds and the strains to ensuring that the right fertilizers and soil are bought, to checking the lighting in the grow rooms/greenhouses, and even oversees the post-production processes such as the harvesting and curing phases. While there are people appointed under him who do the actual physical work on most occasions, the master grower makes sure that all of it is done in the right way and that.
Coming back to the head chef analogy, it is ultimately the master grower’s responsibility that everything happening under her supervision is happening in just the right way and that those employed under him are not making any mistakes. She is someone who is highly educated in horticulture and has many years of experience behind him in the world of managing industrial-scale growth of plants and has all the knowledge required to grow cannabis plants. Master growers are specialized professionals who know the art and science of growing weed really well!
How Can I Become a Master Grower?
In order to become a master grower, the first thing that you would need is an undying love for growing plants. Not just cannabis plants, but all sorts of plants. You need to love tomatoes as much as you’d love to grow ornamental flowers and fruiting plants. You’ll need to be able to communicate with plants – in a way that one look and you know that something’s wrong with the plant (and know exactly what is wrong with the plant).
First off, you will need this extreme level of passion – to be a “plant whisperer”. Post that, you’ll need formal training in it – there are a number of undergrad courses in horticultural sciences that you can undertake in order to understand how gardening and farming work. Being from a family of farmers is always an added bonus as most of today’s prominent master growers belong to a family of farmers where they are taught farming right from their childhood before getting a formal training in it.
Most master growers start off at an early age and tend to grow some special hybrid varieties of plants which are unique to them. They are also experts when it comes to breeding between different strains of plants – especially the marijuana plant. This ensures that the farm that they end up working for gets a unique identity of its own – a strain specially created for their buyers. This is another skill that a master grower needs to master before taking the job.
While farming and growing skills are needed, a master grower also needs to be a good manager and a great communicator. These skills are important because he’s not the only one working on the farm. A master grower generally has a large team of people working under him – often dozens of people doing different tasks all through the day. She needs to not only be able to know what he’s doing but she also needs to be able to impart her knowledge to her team and to educate and inform them about what they are supposed to do – and do it the right way.
Communication and leadership skills are very important for a master grower and she needs to lead from the front. One mistake by anyone in her team could lead to the entire operation (which often costs hundreds of millions of dollars) going to waste! If you wish to become a master grower you need to master the art of management and leadership skills. A master grower also needs to be someone who can identify talent really well – an HR function! She needs to hire the right person for the right job and train them in a way that they do not make any mistakes!
Lastly, if you, the reader, is planning on becoming a master grower – the only advice we have for you is to start growing. Start growing today. Grow anything. Grow a cacti, grow tomatoes, grow strawberries, grow marijuana, grow whatever you like! But get into it – get your hands dirty and start climbing the rungs to reach the top. Besides, if you wish to become a master grower – it is also advised to find one in your area and start learning by working or interning under them! A guided training is always beneficial.
Master Grower’s Salary: How Much Does a Master Grower Typically Make?
Coming to the question which is the title of this article, how much does a master grower typically make. There is no objective answer to that question because it depends from grower to grower and based on the years of experience that they have behind them and also on the company that they are employed by and how much they are willing to pay them. In some states where the cannabis business is on a boom, they’d make more money – such as in California. However, in states where the business isn’t doing so well and there are a lot of government regulations, the amount they get might be lower.
A master grower might make more or less money based on the certifications and the degrees that she has. There are a large number of factors that one needs to consider before finally coming to the salary aspect. Last but among the most important of these factors is the fact that they also need to be great negotiators to get a great salary. This stands true for almost any business, but a master grower can have quite a negotiating power considering how essential they are to the marijuana business.
Coming down to the actual numbers now, an average master grower salary in America as of 2021 is somewhere around $120,000. This is a number that varies largely. For instance, as we pointed out above California might get you more money – sometimes as high as $225,000 to $250,000 a year – which is quite a lot of money. On the other hand, there are states where the demand for a master grower isn’t really that high due to state legislations or due to public interest being low, in places such as Oklahoma a master grower’s salary might be anywhere between $50,000 to $75,000.
Nonetheless, if you average out all the salaries of all the growers around the US, we are sure that you would come to something around $120,000 as an average salary. Those growers who wish to increase this number might want to switch from one firm to another after spending a few years. Another way to do that is to develop a special strain for the firm so that they know exactly how valuable you are to them. Besides all this, getting more degrees/certifications is another sure-shot way of ensuring that you are able to negotiate your salary further. However, an average master grower can easily make about $120,000 in America.
What Are Some Other Jobs in the Marijuana Industry Other Than Master Grower?
A master grower sits on the top of this food chain. However, it does not mean that she is the be-all and end-all of all the jobs that there are! There are several other positions that you can fill up in a corporate marijuana growing setup. A master grower is like the CEO under whom there’s an entire team of people who run the business!
There are two types of jobs you can get in the marijuana industry – first off you can be in the growing side of things, or you can be in the sale side of things by working at a dispensary. For being a master-grower, we have mentioned everything that you will need to do. However, there are other jobs such too. Here’s a closer look:
1. Assistant Growers: These people are the key members of the master grower’s team. Depending on the scale of operation there can be up to 5 of these people hired by an organization (in some cases maybe even more). These are the people who actually get their hands dirty – the ones who prepare the soil, plant the seeds, ensure that the nutrients are mixed well and supplied on time, make sure of the temperature and humidity being just the right amount at the right time, providing the right lighting during the different phases of a plant’s growth cycle, etc. All of this is of great importance and after working for a few years as an assistant grower, there’s a good chance once can move on to become a master grower. These growers earn anywhere between $30,000 a year to $60,000 a year.
2. Trimmers and Harvesters: These are another group of people involved with the growing operations, but they come into the picture only after all the growing part has been done. Harvesting the weed is a process that requires a great amount of precision and care and specialized harvesting professionals come into the scene when it comes to this. These people are usually highly skilled at their job and have been working in farming for decades. They work for short periods of time (only around the harvest season) but make upto $30,000 in that short time. Their primary job is to cut the buds, the cure, prepare them in the right manner – and to get them dried perfectly. Lastly, they also trim them by removing any leftover plant material on them so that they look good in a dispensary jar!
3. Marijuana Extractors: These people tend to be qualified technicians who are responsible for separating the THC and CBD from the marijuana buds and converting them into edibles or into oils/waxes/cartridges (however the stoners want to consume it). This is a scientific position and requires years of technical know-how. Simply a love for gardening and even decades of experience in just gardening won’t do much here because you need scientific knowledge to get this work done. An extractor earns about $75,000 a year (even higher in some cases if they are a senior technician).
4. Marketing and Legal Teams: We have clubbed them together because these fall under the corporate side of things. Marijuana firms need to have a strong legal team so that they are well protected against any lawsuits (which are quite common in the marijuana industry which has recently been legalized and there are many legal loopholes). Lawyers tend to charge quite a bit of money and are generally hired on a case-to-case basis instead of a full-time position. The marketing team is also an integral part of this system as the weed that the company has grown needs to be sold and promoted as the finest quality ‘stuff’ you can buy. B-school grads might want to look forward to these openings!
5. Dispensary Budtender/Manager: Now that we have seen all the corporate/farming related roles, here is a quick look at these retail roles. A budtender is like the bartender, except that she works at a marijuana dispensary where people come to buy weed. A budtender’s job doesn’t need a lot of qualifications but just basic skills and the ability to handle a sales counter. Budtenders usually make about $20,000 to $30,000 a year. A dispensary usually has about two to three budtenders and one manager above them. The manager manages the inventory and security, and makes sure that the budtenders are following all the legal guidelines while selling weed. A manager typically makes about $50,000 to $75,000 in a dispensary.
Growing on Your Own: Is it Expensive?
Now that you know everything that there is to know about the different roles of people who grow and sell weed and how much does a master grower typically makes, let us come down to you as a grower. Individual growers are also rising in a number of late and ever since the mass legalization drives, a lot of people have started growing their own weed indoors and have become quite self-reliant. While we are at the topic of how much a master grower earns and what are some other roles in the marijuana industry for people to work in, we thought we’d also take a look at how expensive it is to grow your own weed.
Here’s a quick breakdown of everything that you will need to grow weed and approximately how much it might cost you.
- You’d need a grow tent to grow your weed in, assuming you’re going for a small 2×2 setup, it would cost you about $60
- Up next you’d need soil to grow your weed in. A 12-quart bag would cost you about $20, so let us go with the minimum here and add $20 to this operation. The total cost so far is $80.
- Besides the tent and the soil, you’ll need lighting equipment. At the small scale, it would cost you somewhere around $80 to get a good quality LED grow light for your plants. The total rises to about $160.
- You’ll need to get some other basic equipment such as shears, scissors, gloves, sunglasses, nets, insect repellents, etc. Add another $100 to the mix to get these covered. You’re at about $260 now.
- A set of five marijuana seeds could set you back by another $150 (including the shipping). Let’s round off the total to $400 here.
- The cost of electricity over the next few months that you’d be growing your weed (includes the cost of air conditioning/heating to maintain the ideal temperature of your room) should be anywhere between $250-$500, let’s take an average of $325 here. Your total goes up to $725.
- You’d also need the right fertilizers over the months. The collective cost of that would be another $150 – your total rises to nearly $875.
- You will also need an air filtration kit to make sure that your plant gets fresh air and that the smell of the weed does not leak out. Add another $125 to the mix here and you’ve reached a grand total of $1000 while covering just the basics.
About $1000 is what you are looking at when you plan on growing weed on the small scale. This is why most home growers go mid-scale and grow the maximum number of plants legally permissible because the basic expenses are the same and the difference between growing 5 plants and growing 12 plants is actually quite small.
Besides, if you want to reduce the price here, you might want to go for either an outdoor setup (but then there’s always the risk of growing a taboo item and irritating your neighbors). The risk outside also includes pest invasions and weather swings. Many growers tend to grow weed indoors using DIY grow boxes and DIY lighting to reduce the costs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Master Growers
Here are the answers to some of the most common and frequently asked questions about master growers that we have compiled together for your reference:
1. What do I need to study to become a master grower?
You need to study horticultural sciences and agriculture in order to become a good grower. You start off at the basics as a grower, learn for a few years under a master grower – and then become a master grower yourself.
2. Who does a master grower report to?
A master grower sits at the top of the food chain and is generally the final authority in the farm. The only person she reports to would be the CEO or the owner of the business.
3. Who works under a master grower?
A number of assistant growers, as well as extraction experts and trimmers/harvesters, work under a master grower.
4. Is a master grower also involved with breeding?
Yes, breeding is one of the key tasks that a master grower performs. She goes through a large number of strains and decides which two mix the best and provide an ideal THC/CBD combination for the target audience of the firm. Breeding is a very important task in a master grower’s job list.
5. What is the average master grower salary in the US?
An average master grower in the US would make about $120,000 to $150,000. However that is just the averaged number as the salary can sometimes go as high as $250,000 depending on the scale of operations.
We hope that by this point in this article you know everything that there is to know about a master grower. What does their job involve, what kind of salary do master growers earn, who works under them, who they report to – and even how to become a master grower! If there are any more questions that you have about this, please feel free to let us know in the comments section or drop us a mail and we will answer them as soon as we can! Till then…
Happy Growing! 🙂