San Diego – The domestic job market is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent over the next five years, with an equally attractive increase in compensation for many in-demand roles at smaller companies this year. 

Cannabis staffing and executive search agency CannabizTeam released its sixth national salary guide. This year’s annual report focuses on hiring trends across the legal U.S. cannabis industry, job projections throughout 2028, and national salary ranges for more than 70 of the most in-demand cannabis positions in the country.

“Although the industry has been going through some challenging times, the future remains hopeful,” said Liesl Bernard, chief executive officer at CannabizTeam. “With the expected reclassification of cannabis from Schedule I to III, slow but steady East Coast expansion, and the rise of cannabis acceptance, there’s plenty of potential to be excited about. We’ve only witnessed the beginning.” [Note: Reclassification is under consideration at the Drug Enforcement Administration. Some industry pundits expect the DEA to okay the change, but that outcome is not guaranteed. —Ed.]

Salary ranges in this report are based on proprietary information from CannabizTeam’s data, surveys, and independent research. Factors including location, company size, and years of experience all impact salary data. When applicable, we’ve included the top end of salary ranges and pay increases, likely representing the most experienced employees who reside in high-paying metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. 

10 highest-paying roles in 2024

While it’s no surprise the highest-paying jobs are almost exclusively for executive roles at multistate operators (MSOs), single-state operators (SSOs) are beginning to break into the top salary positions. However, similar roles at MSOs and SSOs still display a stark difference in compensation with chief financial officers earning as much as 80 percent more when working for the largest companies.

Chief executive officer MSO: $610,800

Chief financial officer MSO: $500,200

Chief operations officer MSO: $415,200

Vice president of cultivation MSO: $339,800

Chief scientific officer (testing) MSO: $299,800

Vice president of operations (manufacturing) MSO: $297,800

Chief revenue officer (sales) MSO: $297,600

Chief marketing officer MSO: $284,300

Vice president of retail MSO: $280,500

Chief financial officer SSO: $275,000

10 largest salary jumps for 2024

Businesses in smaller markets still have the most ground to cover when competing with MSOs for the best human capital. According to compensation comparisons from 2023 to 2024, the top ten pay increases by percent are dominated by SSOs picking up the salary slack. Only two of the top ten salary increases by percent are tied to roles at MSOs.

Vice president of marketing SSO: 13.72 percent 

Director of cultivation MSO: 11.54 percent

VP of sales SSO: 9.69 percent 

Chief revenue officer SSO: 9.41percent 

Chief executive officer MSO: 7.73 percent 

Corporate controller SSO: 7.44 percent

VP of retail SSO: 6.38 percent

VP of Operations SSO: 6.27 percent

Director of finance SSO: 6.10 percent

Financial analyst: 5.2 percent

12 most in-demand industry positions

Full-time chief executive officers at MSOs are making the most and seeing large raises, but they’re not among the most in-demand positions this year. The cannabis industry welcomes flexible career options openly with many in-demand roles for direct-hire positions, temp jobs, and fractional executives. According to CannabizTeam, the following roles are among the most in-demand for 2024.

Direct-hire positionsTemp jobsFractional executivesDispensary general managerCultivation technicianChief financial officerDirector of cultivationExtraction technicianDirector of marketingDirector of ManufacturingTrim technicianVice president of complianceTerritory sales representativePackaging technicianRestructuring consultant

Projected licenses 

Much of the growth projected between 2024 and 2028 relies on industry expansion supported by additional licensing. According to market intelligence platform Cannabiz Media, California, Michigan, and New Jersey issued the most licenses in 2023, and these states are expected to continue expanding in 2024.

New York is projected to add the most licenses with 945 by year’s end, followed by Virginia at 575 and Minnesota at 381. Alabama and Hawaii are at the lowest end of the range with about 25 new licenses expected for each state in 2024.