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How much does a trimmer make? Is it hard to find a job as a cannabis trimmer? Are there advancement opportunities? We cover all of this and more so you can start your cannabis career.
Marijuana bud trimmers can earn an hourly wage of about $12 to $15 per hour. A cannabis trimmer’s job salary depends on how fast and how effectively they trim marijuana buds for sale. Pay rates also depend on the individual company and your previous experience.
Let’s dive deeper into the specific responsibilities of a marijuana bud trimmer, the requirements to become a marijuana trimmer, a marijuana trimmer’s salary, and where to find an entry-level cannabis cultivation job.
What Is a Trimmer?
Marijuana bud trimmers are the underdogs of the cannabis industry, toiling long hours on their feet while elegantly manicuring the flower buds. These perfectly pruned flowers provide users the therapeutic relief they need. Cannabis trimmers are responsible for cutting away the stems and leaves without damaging the buds and trichomes that contain the plant’s active essential oils.
During the trimming stage, the leftover trim (sugar leaves, kief, bits of flower buds) contains a lower concentration of trichomes than the flower buds but are still useful. The lower-quality trim is used by processors to extract the resin and make concentrate-based products such as hash, pre-rolls and edibles.
A cultivation facility employs a cannabis trimmer to assist the head grower in hand-trimming dry or wet marijuana plants during the harvesting season. Trimmers may begin the pruning process before the curing process is performed or after the buds have dried for a certain amount of time.
What Does a Bud Trimmer Do?
Trimmers must remove excess leaves, stems, pests, and pistils and leave behind the THC-rich buds from the marijuana plant. They use multiple surgical gloves and trimming scissors throughout their shift to break through the sturdy stems and reveal more resinous buds without affecting the overall potency of the plant.
As a trimmer, you must be familiar with the anatomy of the plant to know what to remove and what to keep. In addition, you need to know how to prune different types of strains. Trimmers may also be tasked with additional duties such as transplanting, cloning, and watering. They must also ensure their work area is clean and organized.
Trimmers work long hours performing repetitive cutting motions with their hands, which can cause some wrist strain. They can take frequent breaks to stretch and avoid repetitive strain injury. Trimmers may also have their headphones on to listen to music, audiobooks, or podcasts to make the time go by.
Cannabis trimmers can work long days ranging from eight to 15-hour shifts. You have to sit or stand as you meticulously prune the excess foliage and bugs (for grows that haven’t used pesticides) and drop the trimmed buds into a container or plastic bag. You may also be tasked with packaging the product for sale such as making pre-rolled joints.
What is the Marijuana Bud Trimmer Salary?
How much a trimmer makes depends on how much they can trim. Generally, trimmers get paid by the pound of weed they’ve trimmed. They can finish anywhere between 1 to 3 pounds per day.
Trimmers can earn between $150 to $200 per pound, but usually on the lower end of the daily pay rate. A skilled trimmer can make $25 an hour or more at today’s current rate.
On average, trimming jobs with hourly wages pay between $12 and $15 an hour or more if you’ll be doing more plant management.
Of course, the rate per hour varies based on the cultivation facility and state you are working in. Based on Marijuana Business Daily’s 2019 salary data, Colorado trimmers make more per hour than those in the same position in Washington state and California. In fact, an experienced trimmer in Colorado can earn about $2,000 more over the course of 3 months than trimmers in Washington and California.
- In California, trimmers can earn between $10-$12.50 per hour
- Washington trimmers can earn about $12 per hour.
- Colorado trimmers can earn $12 to $16 per hour
Here, you’ll find the average pay per hour by state:
- Alaska: $12 to $13
- Arizona: $12 to $13
- Florida: $14 to $15
- Illinois; $12 to $13
- Massachusetts $15 to $16
- Maryland: $12 to $13
- Maine: $15 to $20
- Michigan: $12 to $13
- New Jersey: $12 to $15
- Oregon: $12 to $13
Common benefits include health insurance, employee discounts, 401(k), paid time off, vision insurance, and dental insurance.
Where to Find Cannabis Trimmer Jobs
You can find cannabis trimmer jobs in any state with medical or recreational marijuana laws. Marijuana trimmer jobs are usually concentrated in big cities or their surrounding towns.
In terms of popular trimming cities, keep your eye out for trimming job positions in metropolitan locations such as Denver, CO, Los Angeles, CA, Chicago, IL, and Medford, OR.
How to Get Hired as a Bud Trimmer
If you want to get hired as a marijuana trimmer, you’ll have to be at least 21 years old to work with a cannabis company. Many grow facilities won’t require a high school diploma or GED and may hire individuals with gaps in their resumes.
While you won’t get asked for a high school diploma, earning certification from a reputable cannabis college can help you stand out from the competition. Cannabis industry certification is not required but it can add an extra skill that will impress hiring managers.
Ensure you’re familiar with your state and local cannabis laws to ensure you meet all the requirements to work in the cannabis industry. In Colorado, you need to obtain a MED badge and undergo a background check to work in the industry.
Search for trimming jobs in your state on online job boards. It is important to check these job boards daily. In most cases, these positions are filled super fast. After just a few hours of posting a job ad, hiring managers can become overwhelmed with hundreds of applications. Being one of the first to apply can significantly increase your chance of getting hired.
When applying, ensure you’ve created a resume that highlights all the transferable skills that will make you a great trimmer. Transferable skills are skills you’ve learned in previous jobs that can apply for the trimming position.
- Hard skills are technical skills that directly apply to the tasks you will be performing. Cannabis trimmers can earn hard skills by working in a cultivation position outside of the industry such as in a nursery or a farm. Working as a landscaper or gardener can teach you how to prune plants and care for them.
- Soft skills are non-technical skills such as communication, problem-solving, teamwork, willingness to learn, and adaptability. While not directly related to technical skills like pruning plants, they are important skills that show how you work alone and with others.
Also, do not forget to include a cover letter explaining why you feel you’re best for the job. Most applicants will not include a cover letter, so if you do, you will be ahead of the rest of the pool of applicants.
Cultivation facilities may require you to have reliable transportation, a positive attitude, teamwork skills, motivation, and previous trimming experience. Companies may require employees to have a criminal record free of felony convictions.
Trimming jobs are often available during the harvest season. Generally, the harvest season can last from August through October. Many grow facilities, however, operate year-round, requiring reliable bud trimming employees.
In order to get hired, you have to prove yourself to be a relatively fast trimmer. Fast trimmers can trim between one to two pounds per day. You must be able to stand for an entire shift and handle repetitive hand and arm motions.
If you want to stand out, make sure you know your way around trimming scissors and bring your own to show you’re ready to be hired on the spot, if necessary.
A trimming job can get you started on a lucrative and fulfilling career in the cannabis industry. Many trimmers build upon their experience at a cultivation facility to get promoted to assistant growers and other roles in the industry, including the coveted head grower position.
What Are the Advancement Opportunities?
As more states continue to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use, cannabis trimmer jobs will become more widely available. Working as a trimmer can open up a wealth of job opportunities in cannabis cultivation and beyond.
In cultivation, trimmers can work their way up toward full-time grower’s assistants who help master growers care for the plants. They can also become supervisors, which manage particular areas of the facility. Over years and decades of experience working with weed, trimmers can eventually become head growers at a cultivation facility.
Trimmers can also make a lateral move toward other segments of the industry including manufacturing and retail. Common entry-level retail positions include budtenders, security guards, receptionists, and delivery drivers. In manufacturing, trimmers can find work as cannabis packagers who weigh, label, and package cannabis products for sale.
Get Cannabis Training at CTU
Cannabis Training University (CTU( provides students from around the world with a comprehensive cannabis training program on the fundamentals of the industry, from the plant’s medicinal value to getting hired in a wide range of entry-level and management positions.
Whether you want to work as an entry-level cannabis trimmer or budtender or a dispensary manager or head grower, CTU can prepare you to work in any segment of the industry.
CTU’s complete cannabis education teaches you how to grow weed at home and land a job and career in this fast-growing industry.
Sign up for CTU’s online marijuana classes to learn more about this incredible plant and get your career started with a solid educational foundation to propel you toward success.