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Tuesday May 10, 2022

By Erin Hiatt

Image of hands with black gloves holding pink and black scissors while trimming a cannabis branch with light green buds along with purple hues Growing

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the patchwork legality of cannabis in the United States and ongoing challenges like lack of banking access for legal players, the cannabis industry is growing by leaps and bounds which is expected to reach global sales of $33.6 billion by 2025.

Though much of the job loss that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic in Spring of 2020 has recovered, the cannabis industry remains well-positioned and cannabis jobs are waiting.

The cannabis industry claims a roster of job titles that might sound a little odd to newcomers, such as budtender or field sampler. One such title, trimmer, may at first seem a little vague, but there’s no need to overthink it. The job description for cannabis trimmers is to do exactly what the name suggests: trim cannabis plants.

Very stout light green bud that is held horizontally with silver and black handled scissors trimming the side of the nugget.
Skilled trimming adds bag appeal which means more money per pound. photo credit

Trimming is a little more complicated than just deadheading flowers. Bud trimmers need to either have or be able to acquire enough plant knowledge to understand some basic cannabis plant anatomy and differentiate strains. They must also have a deft enough hand to trim away the leaves from cannabis plants while minimally disrupting cannabis flowers, which hold cannabinoid powerhouses called trichomes. Skilled trimming may also up the bag appeal of cannabis, a key part of marketing and sales for legal cannabis businesses.

Cannabis Trimmer Pay

Job search site ZipRecruiter reports that nationwide, average trimmer pay is $27,964 per year for full time work at an median hourly pay of $13. There was quite a bit of difference between the highest and lowest salaries; as high as $42,229 and as low as $24,131.

A journal opened with hand written notes with a white Emerald Cup Awards rolling tray lying beside as well as Raw and OCB rolling papers, a cellphone, and an ashtray
Judges taking notes on the effects, smell, taste of the Emerald Cup flower submission. photo credit

How much a bud trimmer makes, however, very much depends on the state, or even the city. For example, in New York City – where the minimum wage for any worker is $15 an hour – cannabis trimmers usually make $16-17 per hour. In Nevada, where the minimum wage is $8.25, a trimmer can make anywhere from $10-15 an hour.

Here’s a Rundown on the Top Ten Highest Paying Cannabis Trimmer Jobs By City:

  • Richmond, CA: $16.45
  • Stamford, CT:: $16.02
  • Bellevue, WA: $15.98
  • Lakes, AK: $15.42
  • San Francisco: $15.42
  • Palmdale, CA: $15.25
  • Santa Clara, CA: $15.19
  • Hartford, CT: $15.16
  • Pasadena, CA: $15.11
  • Glendale, CA: $15.02

As seen from the hourly wages above, trimmer pay seems to run a bit higher than the local minimum wage, and some companies may pay more based on efficiency and performance quality. It should also be pointed out that federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

However, ZipRecruiter also pointed out that the average pay range for trimmers stays fairly steady across states, meaning that there may not be opportunities for higher pay or advancement, regardless of time in the industry or experience.

To be a cannabis trimmer, you will need to be 21 years or older, have a valid driver’s license or state ID, and be able to pass a background check. Depending on the state, you may need an additional qualification like a state badge.

Skills Needed to be a Good Cannabis Trimmer

View from up above that is a nugget being trimmed by hands wearing clear, plastic gloves with silver, black, and red scissors on top a grey countertop with cannabis buds and cannabis plants around.
Patience and a keen eye are only a few qualifiers to being a productive candidate to be a trimmer. photo credit

Lest you think that all this job requires is agility with some shears and the desire to get your hands on some sticky cannabis goodness, there are some skill sets that could make you a good match for a trimming position, like a good eye, attention to detail, time management, working well with others, and the ability to sit or stand for long periods of time.

Other tasks may include the ability to meet daily production quotas, weighing, labeling, and packaging product, and adhering to local and state cannabis regulations.


Even though trimming is considered an entry-level position, it could lead to improved prospects down the road, such as a cultivator, or grow master roles, making it a great fit for people interested in working with the plant in a quite literal way. For those looking for work in an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, cannabis could be a great fit.

Looking for a bud trimming job near you? Be sure to check out our cannabis jobs board!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Do Cannabis Trimmers Make a Year?

On average, cannabis trimmers make $27,964 per year.

Do Cannabis Growers Make Good Money?

The average pay for a cannabis grower in the U.S. is $73,783 per year. The top salary was reported at $142,000, while the lowest was $21,000. This is an enormous range. So some growers make great money, some growers make very little.

Is Being a Cannabis Trimmer a Good Job?

Cannabis trimming is an entry-level industry position that on average pays more than the federal minimum wage. It may also be a job that could provide valuable industry insights and work experience in addition to a paycheck. However it can be taxing work. It really depends on what you’re looking for in a cannabis job.

How Much Does a Trimmer Get Paid?

That depends on the city and state, but the average hourly wage for cannabis trimmers is $13 an hour.

What are your thoughts on cannabis trimmer roles in the cannabis industry? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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