How Much Employees Make in the Cannabis Retail Business

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What are your chances of making a profit in the cannabis retail business FlowerHire is the leading cannabis recruiting agency for executive search and staffing. Here’s how we assess the hierarchy of cannabis retail employees.


Similar titles: Patient care advocate. Retail associate. Brand ambassador. Dispensary associate. Dispensary agent. Retail specialist.

What they do: Retail frontline staff is one of the leading contributors to cannabis job Growth. Budtenders are trained to help customers understand how cannabis can be used best. Some cannabis retail locations receive hundreds of customers each day. Although it’s not an “easy”It can be a rewarding and fulfilling job. Budtenders usually have previous experience working with customers, or knowledge that focuses on customer service. Budtenders will get many questions, so it’s important to have curiosity, the desire to be educated, and the desire to learn. Budtenders need to be motivated to learn more.

Salary: Budtenders are typically paid a few extra dollars than the minimum wage in their area. The hourly wage for budtenders is $3 to $8, plus the local minimum wage.

Assistant Manager

Similar titles: Assistant store manager (retail supervisor), assistant dispensary manager (assistant general manager)

What they do: Cannabis retail assistant managers are the next level up from a budtender and are most often hired from within (but not always). A person who is a good listener and a good leader will be able to fill this role. Unless the position is salaried, it’s often a challenge to find someone from outside the industry. They’re responsible for following the dispensary playbook, including:

  • Implementing SOPs & processes
  • Training new employees
  • Handling customer complaints
  • Manage employee relations
  • Inventory tracking
  • Talking to customers when they are in need
  • Salary: $50,000-$60,000/year or $22-$30/hour

    Bonus for assistant managers

    If the role is an hourly one, there are usually no benefits or bonuses. Sometimes bonuses are available if the job is salaried.

    Related: 4 Reasons Non-Competes in Cannabis Are A Really Bad Idea

    General Manager

    Similar titles: Retail general manger, store manager, sometimes called ‘pharmacists’In the medical markets

    What they do: The GM is responsible for running the store and making sure it hits its goals. They have an impact on how policies are implemented and operating procedures are used to reach the highest efficiency goals. The general manager is responsible for execution. There’s a wide variety of types of stores and goals that a GM might be expected to work with. A dispensary, for example, could:

  • You can be a dispensary that is highly productive and brings in more customers
  • Keep a small footprint.
  • Serve a wider range of customers, including those who are more medically inclined or those who are interested in recreation.
  • Cater to a blue-collar and white-collar client base
  • GMs should be able to speak to average customers per day, average ticket price, how they’ve improved numbers in the past, staff retention, and sales per square feet.

    Base salary: $55,000-$100,000k

    The salary range for general managers varies depending on the size and quantity of the store.

    Bonuses: A 10 percent bonus target Retail general manager is a highly-priced position with a high turnover rate. This level of bonus is being offered by cannabis companies. KeepHigh-performing GMs can continue to reach their growth goals. The GM’s performance in achieving their goals is usually a determining factor for eligibility. This can often be quarterly or yearly. Some stores offer equity as a bonus, but very few.

    Related: These 5 Skill Sets Are Most In-Demand for the Cannabis Industry

    Regional Manager

    Similar titles: Retail area manager, district manager, retail manager

    What they do: This is a multi-store retail leader who typically manages about 5 stores. They’re responsible for staff retention and people management, as well as hiring, supervising, training, and mentoring the general managers.

    Regional cannabis managers are responsible for achieving the regional retail goals. Cannabis companies typically want – or require – prior cannabis retail experience and someone that has experience in a multi-store leadership role. Experience opening a new shop is highly valued. Cannabis companies are open to candidates without prior cannabis experience, but non-cannabis candidates are often from stores like Victoria’s Secret, Ulta Beauty, or Starbucks. Candidates who come from a mainstream industry have better business acumen and are more comfortable with numbers. Sometimes the regional manager is someone who’s hired from within, even without multi-store experience.

    Base Salary: $110,000 to $150,000

    Regional managers receive bonuses up to 20%. Regional managers often receive a quarterly bonus or yearly bonus. Regional managers may also be eligible for equity-based incentives.

    Related: Many cannabis employees are fleeing their jobs. Here’s how to keep them around.

    Vice President, Retail

    Related titles: Vice president (VP), senior vice president (SVP), retail operations VP, national head of retail

    What they do: VP of retail sets the overall strategy for a network of stores. It could be managing more than 100 stores for a multistate retailer. It could also be someone who manages more than 10 stores in a single state. They develop store-based SOPs and merchandising and eCommerce strategies, retail marketing strategies, and promotional strategies.

    Highly valued are retail leaders who have experience in transforming an unregulated legacy business to be relevant in the current, regulated sector. They must be able turn around underperforming shops. Experience in fast-growing companies or a background in consumer packaged goods (CPG).

    The VPs of Cannabis Retail must be comfortable in a boardroom with executives. They prepare presentations to present information about numbers, forecasts and revenue-based targets to executive leaders.

    Base salary: $180,000 – $250,000

    The average salary for top-performing VPs in retail at the best companies in the sector is $350,000

    Bonuses: 30 percent bonus target


    Contributions by Samantha HarringtonManaging Partner, Recruiting Operations, FlowerHire

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