Surprise: the emerging weedeconomy is making big bucks.
Colorado collected nearly $70 million in marijuana taxes last year: that's almost double the $42 million collected from alcohol. With that kind of growth comes a plethora of new opportunities for entrepreneurs - and with that, some unexpected new job titles.
Here are some you might not have heard yet.
Perfect buds don't actually grow on trees. Wielding a small pair of scissors, trimmers remove the large fan leaves from a pound to a pound and a half of marijuana each day. Salaries range from $12-$15 an hour to $50K-$90K each year for experienced workers. Perfect for detail-oriented green thumbs who enjoy tedious, sticky labour. (Associated Press.)
Probably the marijuana world's most sought-after position: like a bartending gig at the city's hottest nightspot, it's hip, it's fun, and everybody wants to do it. Securing a gig's been described as "an absolute nightmare" of fingerprinting, paperwork, and waiting. You also need an encyclopedic knowledge of strains and the ability to tailor-make recommendations: how does the customer want to feel? Peppy? Creative? Pain-free? The budtender makes the perfect recommendation, then weighs and bags the product.
The Oregonian and The Denver Post have all hired experts to sample, and write about, marijuana strains and weed-related products. As you can imagine, this gig is also highly competitive: the Post's Jake Browne, for example is a supertaster (aka, he has a higher-than-normal concentration of tastebuds), and he still doesn't get reimbursed for his pot. It takes a pretty special kind of professional to make detailed notes and construct a coherent narrative after blazing the nation's finest OG Kush or Pineapple Diesel.
Producers, dispensaries, small businesses - everyone's ooking for innovative ways to promote cannabis-related brands and present the industry in a fresh light. Consultants in the marijuana industry help launch new identities for businesses and identify areas for expansion.
CCTV surveillance, ID cards, converged security integration: cannabis businesses need tailored services to protect the product, the facility, and consumer information. Companies like Veridin have spotted a need for security solutions - both physical and virtual - targeted directly toward marijuana-oriented businesses.
More medical marijuana consumers are using Uber-like delivery apps like Eaze, Meadow and CannaRabbit. The more retail locations open, the greater proliferation of delivery options, and demand for reliable couriers and delivery people.
Now that edibles as as high-end as the goods at any gourmet bakery, pro creators need serious chef credentials and expertise. The products are mouthwatering, but watch out: sampling even a bite of THC-infused bar, pastry, or French macaroon on the clock will get you fired as well as blazed.