How to Staff a Cannabis Retail Operation
You should know by now that when compared to other retail businesses, cannabis is a unique vertical. Before embarking on such a nuanced business venture, it’s essential to ask yourself the right questions and understand the steps involved in opening your own dispensary.
One of the most important steps in your cannabis retail journey is building a top-notch team to ensure day-to-day operations run smoothly. And with the industry growing at a breakneck pace, more and more career-minded professionals are giving serious consideration to jobs in cannabis.
Today, we’re going to look at five of the key roles a cannabis retailer needs to fill and how they fit into your operation.
1. Store Manager
The heart of any retail operation is the individual store manager, and cannabis dispensaries are no different. Responsible for overseeing all administrative functions of your store, this person will typically control scheduling and handle much of the day-to-day business of your shop. Earnings for this position typically start at $75k or more annually, and often include profit sharing to help ensure peak performance.
Your budtenders are the public face of your dispensary, responsible for dealing with customers and dispensing your products to them. It’s also the job that most people in the industry who lack the higher education required for many of the higher-paying jobs initially seek out. This has led to relatively low wages for the position; the Glassdoor page on the subject shows them earning an average wage of roughly $12/hour nationwide.
3. Compliance Manager
As a cannabis dispensary owner, you’re not just in the retail business -- you’re also in the compliance business. In such a heavily regulated industry, a single compliance infraction could lead to a hefty fine or even the loss of your license. This is why it’s critical to have a dedicated compliance manager whose sole job is to implement and oversee your store’s compliance program. According to the Vangst 2018 cannabis industry salary guide, the average salary for a compliance manager is $62,500 annually.
4. Inventory Manager
Just like traditional retail, your inventory manager is responsible for ensuring you have enough product on hand to satisfy customer demand, but not so much that there’s overstock -- which can lead to cash flow and storage issues. The cannabis inventory manager must also perform regular inventory counts and reconciliations to ensure your store’s transactional data line up with actual product on hand. This position is also integral to keeping your store compliant, because an instance of product loss or diversion can lead to a serious compliance infraction. The median annual salary for an inventory manager across industries is $52k.
Cannabis dispensaries have a host of security concerns far in excess of most other retail operations. They are extremely vulnerable to both internal and external theft, and they tend to hold a large amount of cash along with a stockpile of valuable flower and product. These concerns mandate a significant investment in your security systems. Expect to pay on-the-ground personnel an average wage of $15/hour, and more if they are armed.