Will the same budtender be there next time? New cannabis jobs report says maybe not

Those involved in the retail side of Washington and Colorado cannabis sales don’t tend to stick around very long, according to the latest data from the Seattle-based cannabis software/data company Headset.

“Budtending is an amazing job … but it’s not all sampling product and shooting the breeze,” the new report summarized.

And that can lead to workers moving on to new jobs.

Washington and Colorado were the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana sales, doing so in 2012. Headset tracked real-time sales reporting by participating retailers in the two states whose point-of-sale systems were linked to the company's analytics software.

Among all cannabis retail workers it examined in a year’s span, Headset found 58 percent did not last two months, while 40 percent didn’t even mark a one-month job anniversary.

Only 14 percent of all employees who quit had been at their jobs longer than three months.

Those who sold more stayed longer, but overall, the vast majority of stores showed a high rate of turnover.

For Washington, turnover spikes were seen in August and October. For Colorado, the spikes were in August and December.

Another two-state difference: Washington showed a lower rate of turnover for those involved in sales than Colorado but fewer longer-term employees stayed in Washington than in Colorado.

The rate of turnover in some ways stands in contrast to a report last year from compensation data and software company PayScale. That study reported “68 percent of people working in the marijuana industry believe their employers have a bright future vs. 59 percent of American workers over the same time period.”

A recent check of PayScale's site showed the median salary for a budtender was $32,000 a year.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell