Everyone knows that a car doesn’t magically run on its own simply because you want it to. (And we’ve all been stuck on the side of the road some time or another wishing it would.)

There are many working parts of a car that play a role in its ability to move and have to work together to make the machine work properly.

Anyone involved in the cannabis industry knows that it works in a similar way: there’s more to cannabis than simply growing flower and selling it in pretty dispensary displays.

What might not be so obvious is that there are tons of employees on all different levels who work tirelessly behind the scenes to create the best possible product and consumer experience.

Some of the hardest workers in the cannabis industry are temp workers. But they’re more than a temp – members of the temporary workforce, like our Vangst Gigs employees, give their all day in and day out, often under conditions that are inconsistent and unpredictable.

Here we take a closer look at the temporary workforce and explain the role of each worker. Most importantly, we delve into who they are why they’re so important the cannabis industry.

Among the most common roles in the temporary workforce are growers, trimmers, packagers/labelers, and extractors.

Read on to learn about the types of jobs in the temporary workforce!


The first step in creating a cannabis product is to – you guessed it – grow a cannabis plant! Growers are the ones in charge of growing the actual plant and flower.

A grower is required to have strong knowledge of different growing techniques in order to carry out tasks such as:

  • Germination
  • Cloning
  • Transplantation
  • Harvesting
  • Plant pests and other threats

These are the basics for cultivating and harvesting cannabis plants for future use.

Growers must also must be familiar with different growing technologies, including:

  • Lights
  • Irrigation
  • Fertilizer

As you can imagine, people with a background in botany, horticulture, or agriculture are best-suited to thrive in the role of a grower.

A good grower has a great understanding of different cannabis strains and the unique growing demands of each one. They should be able to execute growing techniques consistently, stay on schedule, and have great organizational skills for documentation and inventory.


Trimmers are workers who break down cannabis plants to process and, of course, trim them. They are responsible for manicuring the actual flower from the stalk. Trimmers are usually hired to trim cannabis plants at a job that lasts several weeks –  and there’s a whole lot more to trimming than meets the eye!

First of all, trimmers are held to very high standards and must work meticulously in order to keep their job. They must meet all quality standards set forth by both the company and the client.

But wait, there’s more! A trimmer is responsible for tracking all of the batches they trim according to company policy and practices, as well as state, local and MED laws and regulations. This includes:

  • the final finished product
  • the usable by-product amount (trim)
  • the unusable by-product (waste)

Their day-to-day tasks include actually breaking down the flowers from the stem and stalk of the plant in order to separate usable product from waste. After the breakdown of each plant, a trimmer must identify and separate fan leaves, stems and sugar leaves on the flower. They’re then required to account for each type of by-product that is processed off the flower as explained above, which requires competency in organizational, tracking and communication skills.

A trimmer must able to adapt to various strains, styles and types of cannabis they are trimming while adjusting their techniques in order to maintain a steady pace and high quality.

In case this wasn’t totally clear, time management is key for a trimmer. They must work as efficiently as possible in order to meet the company’s goals, all while consistently producing quality product.


Once the cannabis plant is trimmed to perfection, it needs to be packaged and labeled properly. Packager/labelers are responsible for sifting through cured batches of flower.

They must separate, weigh, package, seal, label, and track the product precisely and effectively. Packaging and labeling is absolutely crucial in the cannabis industry in order for companies to be compliant with state guidelines.

Some of the main duties of packagers include:

  • Identifying retail needs based on store inventory levels
  • Breaking down cured batches into different weight increments to package accordingly
  • Carefully packaging product without degrading the quality: weigh it on a state certified scale to an exact weight and bag the product without damaging it
  • Properly noting all packages and increments on the batches
  • Printing and adhering labels for each package
  • Filling bags with nitrogen, closing and heat-sealing them according to company policy and procedure

That’s a lot of responsibility covered under the packager/labeler umbrella!

Before even being hired for this sector of the industry, an employee is often required to have basic knowledge and understanding of local, state and MMED laws and statutes. They also must understand the fundamental concepts of harvesting, drying, trimming, and curing.

Employees who enter the temporary workforce as a packager/labeler also typically need prior training and basic knowledge of cannabis compliance software.

In their role, a packager/label is required to exhibit a consistent processing technique for tracking and meeting production goals. They also must be flexible and be able to adapt to various strains and types of cannabis they are packaging, as well as have the ability work in various other departments within a facility as needed.


Extractors are people who refine cannabis products for use in different consumer packaged products such as edibles, shatter, waxes, oils, and more. Simply put, an extractor goes after the good stuff!

An extract can be made from all parts of the plant (except the resin) using solvents from dried and cured cannabis. During extraction, the resin is removed from the plant matter.

The typical duties of an extractor include:

  • Preparing equipment and plant materials for extraction
  • Operating extraction equipment and handling extraction gases
  • Cleaning and maintaining lab and extraction equipment
  • Maintaining product, inventory, and safety equipment records
  • Performing clerical work as it pertains to concentrate lab

In technical terms, cannabis extraction removes undesirable compounds from the plant and preserves the active terpenes and cannabinoids. An extractor must get as many cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids as possible, all of which help provide the final concentrate product in taste, smell, and overall effect.

Depending on the method of extraction, an extractor must select the appropriate parts of the cannabis plant to use. The extraction methods and gases used are likely to vary depending on what type of extract is being created.


Just like the different parts of a car help it run and get you where you need to go, the different roles within the cannabis industry help create amazing products.

No role is more important than the next, as each sector of the industry has very specific and highly specialized duties that can’t be performed by just anyone!

Our hope is that by sharing some information on the roles within the temporary workforce of the cannabis industry, we can show that workers like this are more than a ‘temp’ — They are absolutely vital to the success and longevity of the industry we hope is here to stay. Tell us your experience of working in these roles in the comments below.

Are you interested in joining the temporary workforce?
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