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Spend some quality time with eager cannabis cultivators and odds are, you may hear one or more of these passionate potheads refer to themselves as a “master grower.” While there is no one around to confirm the legitimacy of these statements, it is clear that this title can be adopted by anyone considering themselves shrewd and experienced enough to hold their crop in such high esteem. Master growers and master grower jobs do exist; however, we reserve this term only for the most notable cannabis cultivators in the legal cannabusiness.
What are Master Grower Jobs?
To give a little background on master grower jobs, it’s important to consider the past implications of black market cultivation operations. Historically in the cannabusiness, the majority of cannabis cultivation happened in California and Oregon in the style of secluded guerilla grows. Supporting these often massive outdoor operations were experienced cultivators, leading a huge team of subordinate assistant growers.
Since black market marijuana grower jobs were not regulated, master growers were responsible for ensuring the quality of their product, as well as an organized cultivation operation in general. These maverick individuals risked their professional careers and lives by engaging in an illegal business, yet pushed forward regardless to provide cannabis to consumers and turn an attractive profit.
The Legal Cannabusiness
In and of itself, there is no hard-lined difference between master grower jobs under the illicit market and current grow leaders in the new cannabusiness. With that said, in order to truly be considered a “master” of anything, especially in a highly regulated industry, you must put your cannabis where your mouth is.
As leafly details, it’s best to stay humble when applying for cultivations jobs. Employers have openly expressed their concern with the influx of individuals calling themselves master growers, without the credentials to back it up. In order to call yourself a master grower on an application and actually get away with it, it is likely you can show years of success leading a grow operation and producing high-quality flower.
A cultivator who has grown three cycles of crops would probably not be considered a “master,” whereas those with decades of experience may very well have the right to regard themselves as such.
Master Grower Jobs: An Overview
In order to give a better idea of exactly what leading a large scale grow operations entails, we have compiled a breakdown of the numerous responsibilities of master grower jobs. Firstly, this position is a high stakes job if there ever was one. Master growers are responsible for coming up with detailed, foolproof plans for executing a successful crop. These individuals must work within the parameters of the operations (ie. whether it is outdoor soil or hydroponic) to create plans for optimizing cannabinoid concentration and protecting against the many variables that arise throughout cultivation.
As home cultivators, it may not seem like such a huge deal to lead a grow operations, but in reality: these operations involve many plants and therefore, increased possibility for failure. Additionally, home cultivators don’t have to stress about the exact results of THC and CBD concentration, as well as taste and appearance. On the contrary, master grower jobs involve bringing cannabis flowers to the highest point of their potential before being processed and sold in cannabis dispensaries.
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Cultivation: A Team Sport
In addition to showcasing a wide variety of technical skills in the garden, master growers must feel confident leading a team of assistant growers to help set up, maintain and harvest the crop. This means that master growers must also be effective communicators and competent in overseeing a group of subordinates.
Cannabis Cultivation: A Glossary
If you’re interested in establishing a strong cannabusiness presence, it’s necessary to come to employers locked and loaded with the correct industry vocabulary and jargon to get you on the path to success! Below we break down some key terminology that every master grower is fluent in.
Cannabis germination is the formative process of planting seeds (often directly into a substrate) in order to bring your seeds up into seedlings. There are a number of ways to go about doing this, including placing seeds in warm water or on a wet paper towel, so they will crack open. From here, growers can then rest assured at very least that their seeds will have the ability to sprout and grow larger.
Cloning is the all important process of taking a “cutting” from a mature cannabis genetic, in order to make a smaller, exact copy of the original. Growers often used feminized plants so that the clone will not be at risk of being fertilized and therein losing the plant. Clones are especially helpful for novice cultivators who don’t want to worry about the detailed process of proper germination. Clones will hopefully grow vigorously and allow for a slightly more hands-off process.
Transplanting your cannabis seedlings can be an anxiety inducing process, but there are some sure-fire ways to encourage success. Cannabis plants have vigorous root systems that want to grow and expand. Therefore, keeping seedlings in a small container for too long can cause unwanted root-bound plants that will likely not live through transplanting. When carried out correctly, cultivators will transplant their seedlings to a larger container to form strong root systems. While it might seem wrong to place your strain in a 5-10 gallon pot, the plant will simply grow slowly for a week or two before forming strong root systems in the container that will allow it to flourish.
All master grower jobs entail different methods for cultivations, however, many growers do choose to prune their plants. Pruning predominantly involves removing large and spotted fan leaves from the rest of the plant as it grows larger. this not only helps to reduce the chance of a pest-ridden or diseased leaf spreading to the rest of the plant, it also allows for more sunlight to reach the rest of the strain. Additionally, removing huge or dying fan leaves helps to reposition the plant’s attention on growing successful flowers.
All master growers know that in order to produce a successful yield, plants need adequate nutrition in order to thrive. This is why cultivators feed plants with essential nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or NPK. This formula of essential nutrients, along with others helps to support a high yield of optimized flowers, cannabinoids and terpenes. Something to consider, though is how these nutrients affect the ultimate taste, smell and smoke of the flower when combusted.
This is where flushing comes in. The process is simple, but can make the difference between success and failure in a crop. Flushing involves introducing pure water to the crop around two weeks before harvest time. This will allow the water to drain out the excess NPK hanging around in parts of the plant. Some cultivators choose not to flush, ultimately giving the smoke of their plants a harsher smoke. If you’ve ever consumed a strain from illicit growers that gave your lungs a serious workout, it’s likely that the grower cut corners with flushing in order to gain a higher THC concentration.
Try These Jobs First!
Perhaps after reading this, you feel you might not be ready to put “Master Grower” on the top of your resume: and that’s okay! It’s much better to build your credentials and feel confident applying for master grower jobs than it is to go in undereducated. For this reason, why not consider working some of the legal cannabusiness’ more entry level marijuana jobs?
Depending on what you have heard about marijuana trimming jobs and who you’ve heard it from, trimming may present itself as the ideal job to break into the cannabiz. Trimming is largely considered an entry level job and has historically offered opportunities for novice cultivators to gain legitimate industry experience and make connections.
Put simply, trimming is the process of removing excess plant matter from cannabis flowers by snipping away sugar leaves with sharp shears. The job itself isn’t necessarily difficult, however, it takes a detailed, quick worker in order to make significant money in this sector of the job market. Trimmers are essentially the ones tasked with manicuring cannabis flowers to the max in order to successfully sell them to cannabis customers in legal states.
In addition to the aesthetic purpose of trimming flowers, trimmers also know that their job is important in maximizing THC and CBD content. These cannabinoids, along with terpenes and other molecules, are secreted from glandular trichomes in the flowers. While the sugar and fan leaves of cannabis do contain some cannabis compounds, they are in vastly lower concentrations when not appearing in flowers. Therefore, trimmers separate away the unnecessary plant matter.
As far as entry level jobs go, trimmers are compensated fairly well, making between $12-15 per hour base. Experienced trimmers can make even more, bringing in hourly wages around $20 and above.
Another prime pathway to pursue pot growing is to first work marijuana budtending jobs. This job is another prime pathway to work with pot as more medical and recreational dispensaries pop up in newly legal states across America. Like trimmers, budtenders also get to have hands-on experience with cannabis flower, though less so than trimmers. With that said, budtenders also get to be introduced to the newest cannabis products in the form of concentrates, edibles and more.
Budtenders are perceived as the face of the legal industry and as such, interact with many other cannabis connoisseurs that work with them and visit their dispensary. Being a budtender is somewhat of a crash course in learning your strains. Dispensary employees are encouraged to test out the stains (off-site!) in order to help customers find the correct products to suit their individual needs.
The Future of Master Grower Jobs
As the legal cannabis industry continues to augment alongside increasing destigmatization, more master grower jobs will continue to proliferate around the county. The best way to prepare yourself for competition for positions, start by trying to perfect your home grow methods. The best way to do this is by reading up and then trying out! There’s just no education like learning from your mistakes and successes! In order to increase your stock in the cannabusiness world, consider finding an associated job in the industry that acts as a springboard for launching you into a successful career as a master grower.