The Basics of Cannabis Cultivation in Oklahoma
From seed to harvest, cannabis cultivation is a rewarding endeavor for all who are involved
Growing cannabis might have more than one end goal, such as selling harvested flower to dispensaries or cloning plants to sell to other cannabis grows. Whatever the finished product looks like, though, the basics of cannabis care remain the same. Growers will prepare and maintain the growing facility, plant the seeds (or clones), keep the plants watered, and control pests on a daily basis - on top of harvesting and trimming the final product.
Since Oklahoma legalized medical marijuana in June of 2018, the industry has opened up thousands of job opportunities. Some of these careers work directly with the plants – cloning, growing, managing inventory, etc. Other jobs support cannabis cultivation via sales, marketing, or maintenance, for example.
It’s important to note that every cannabis grow is going to have unique staffing needs. For one thing, indoor grows and outdoor grows require different operational processes. If you’re interested in working at any kind of cannabis cultivation in Oklahoma, you’ve come to the right place by reading this article. Below, we’ve compiled a general set of positions that exist at most cannabis growing operations.
Cannabis Jobs that Deal Directly with Plants
Let’s keep in mind that cannabis cultivation is fundamentally under the umbrella of agriculture. If you want to work directly with cannabis plants on a day-to-day basis, you need to start thinking like a farmer. What kind of nutrients should their soil have? How much water do the different strain types need? Are you wanting to work at an indoor cultivation facility or an outdoor cultivation site? Let’s review the cannabis careers that work directly with the plants themselves.
At the top of the list is our Head Grower. He or she is going to be in charge of the entire cannabis cultivation process, from seed to fully trimmed bud. The head grower is going to be responsible for the planting, propagation, flowering, harvesting, and trimming of the cannabis. This position also requires a thorough understanding of growing technologies that would be best suited for the facility in question. It’s helpful to have an educational background in agriculture, horticulture, or botany. Their big-picture understanding of cannabis cultivation also makes them ideal for knowing what staffing needs will be required for the operation.
In the state of Oklahoma, all cannabis growing operations are required to be compliant with the Metrc track-and-trace system. Under this regulation, every cannabis plant in a cultivation facility has to be tagged with a specific Metrc identification number. Because of this, many cannabis grows hire an inventory manager to tag and track the plants at every stage of the growth cycle. Plus, having an inventory manager helps the Sales Team know what is available for potential buyers. This position relies heavily on data entry and organizational skills.
Quality Control Inspector
Depending on the size of the cannabis cultivation operation, it’s likely that a level of quality control will be necessary. Many grows hire Quality Control Inspectors to ensure the health and vitality of every plant within the operation – especially before the product leaves the facility for a sale. This means checking for pests, plant diseases, nutrient levels, and more. A Quality Control Inspector will need to be detail-oriented and familiar with the life cycle of the cannabis plant in order to ensure its growth is optimal.
Working as a Plant Technician is one of the most hands-on jobs at a cannabis grow. These employees are planting, watering, cloning, and generally caring for the plants every single day. If the cultivation is a larger operation, the role of a Plant Technician might be broken down into a more specific job responsibility. For instance, someone might be directly in charge of the cannabis mother plants, from which all future clones might be cut. Another specific example might be a Plant Technician whose sole responsibility is cultivation-wide pest management. Plant Technicians are typically paid at an hourly rate and report to the Head Grower.
After cannabis has been harvested and dried, it needs to be trimmed before being sold to dispensaries. Bud trimming removes any leaves or stems from the dried product so that consumers only smoke the THC and terpene-filled flower portion of the plant. Some larger cultivations will have trimming machines, but Bud Trimmers are still hired on a regular basis to handle the seasons of harvest. This is one of the most common entry-level positions in the cannabis industry.
Supporting Roles at an Oklahoma Cannabis Grow
Every business needs support staff to keep a facility running. Hiring employees, maintaining cleanliness, and sales and marketing are all important roles to fill. Even if they’re not interacting with the cannabis plants themselves, these positions are still critical to the success of cannabis cultivation.
A Production Manager (or, Director of Operations) is going to be responsible for the overall management of a cannabis cultivation operation. This role can include accounting, facility management, staffing, and more. This is an essential leadership role that requires hands-on experience of ensuring the entire grow runs smoothly. A Production Manager may also be responsible for the operation’s compliance with Oklahoma cannabis laws and regulations. They will work closely with the Head Grower to ensure operations are efficient and optimized.
Even if the quality of cannabis products is top-shelf, a cultivation operation won’t succeed without proper branding. That’s where a marketing team comes into play. From website design to social media management, it’s up to a Marketing Coordinator to ensure target consumers recognize and trust a cannabis brand in Oklahoma.
When it’s time for the cannabis flower to hit dispensaries, it’s up to the Sales Team to deliver the product. A Sales Representative will work with the production side of a cannabis grow to provide high-quality inventory for potential customers. Sales and Marketing will typically work hand-in-hand to reach the consumer market through the most strategic avenues. This position relies heavily on relationship-building, so excellent people skills are a must.
An agricultural operation can get messy, so it’s important to think about custodial needs when starting a cannabis grow. There will likely be regular maintenance needs, too, so a maintenance/custodial position is worth investing in. This is a great opportunity for everyday laymen to get involved in the cannabis industry without specific prior experience.
Stay in Touch with the Oklahoma Cannabis Industry
After reviewing the above jobs of an Oklahoma cannabis grow, you might be interested in joining this blooming industry. If so, we encourage you to check out our cannabis careers page to see if any cultivation positions are open you might be qualified for. In addition, follow our cannabis blog to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry, as it’s ever-changing. Finally, check out our Instagram to follow along on our cannabis cultivation journey!