Here’s Why Most Cannabis Companies Don’t Worry About New Minimum Wage Laws

Almost half of all states have already or will soon raise their minimum wage for hourly workers. Many cannabis businesses including retailers already pay more than this and are unlikely to feel much of an impact. What’s even better is many have better pay along with nice benefit packages.  These pay and benefit packages are in contrast to other small businesses concerned over the impact of a pay hike amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Higher pay and benefits are becoming the norm in the cannabis industry. Cannabis complexity demands knowledgeable staff for positions such as a budtenders who serve marijuana customers. Nationally, budtenders already earn $15 an hour or more according to the “2020 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide” published by Vangst. Of the companies surveyed, 90% offer some form of additional benefits often including health insurance, paid time off, a 401(k) plan or equity in the business. Others offer a cell phone and allowances for commuting.  “It’s the right thing to do, and it’s competitive to get great talent,” Vangst founder and CEO Karson Humiston said. “If you’re running a business, you have an obligation to figure out how to pay your staff livable wages. “Generally, we believe that if you are an employee and you’re working 40 hours a week, you should make enough money to lead a decent life.”

California has the highest current minimum wage at $14 an hour which applies to any business with 26 employees. As of Jan. 1, 2021 Emeryville, California had the highest minimum wage rate in the country, at $16.84 per hour followed by Seattle at $16.69 this according to Wolters Kluwer, an information services company with headquarters in Philadelphia and the Netherlands. Since most cannabis companies pay above the legal minimum wage they don’t have to factor in wage increases 2021. “Cannabis has been doing it right from the start,” Upshaw said. “Other industries ask, ‘How low can we go? What do we have to pay?’ “Cannabis asks the question, ‘What can we pay?’ We’re already there and we don’t have to work it into our plan.”

Cannabis is becoming a career. Arizona based Tilt Holdings has an expanding portfolio of cannabis related businesses and they provide technology, hardware, cultivation and production all designed to encourage employees to choose the cannabis industry as a career, not just a job. Tilt pays above minimum wage in every state in which it operates and offers health and life insurance as well as disability pay for any employee working at least 30 hours a week. The company employs about 300 people and offers training and helps employees figure out how to develop their careers. There’s also a stock-option program. “We love our people to be invested in us,” Santo said. “The easiest way to have them act like an owner is to have them be an owner.”

Cannabis Grow Builders has been involved in the emerging legal Cannabis Industry as a builder and developer of grow facilities since 2016. Daniel Stevenson and his team work with Cannabis Entrepreneurs and Solopreneurs to maximize the potential in their business while remaining on the cutting edge of constantly changing governmental regulations. Please reach out to us at 916-933-7333, via e-mail at

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