Marijuana Job Market Continues to Grow

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Employment in the cannabis industry is eclipsing some of the fastest-growing fields in the country, including healthcare and tech. Across the U.S., it’s estimated that some 122,000 people work in cannabis, and by 2021 that number is expected to increase to over 400,000 jobs.

Widespread support for cannabis legalization has resulted in more states jumping into the industry and more businesses looking to hire. In 2016, job growth in the marijuana industry was only 18%. In 2017, job postings have increased 445%. The number of people working in cannabis-related businesses is higher than the number of people employed as dental hygienists and bakers, and could also surpass the number people working as telemarketers or pharmacists.

However, it’s hard to get an accurate read on job creation in the legal marijuana industry, even at the state level, because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug.  That means that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t collect data or recognize cannabis as an industry. Tracking growth would help job seekers, investors, policy makers, and economists paint a fuller picture of the industry.

While the federal government doesn’t acknowledge cannabis, employment opportunities continue to increase in states with legal marijuana. Cannabis businesses and job seekers connect through career fairs and industry events. Some universities are offering courses on the business of marijuana, including classes on marijuana law and cannabis journalism–indicating that the industry isn’t going anywhere.

Spending in cannabis resulted in $9 billion worth of sales in 2017, and with the beginning of legal recreational cannabis sales in California, that number is sure to increase. Industry research firm BDS Analytics expects legal weed will add approximately $40 billion to the U.S. economy by 2021, and if cannabis became legal in all 50 states, it could result in over $130 billion to U.S. tax revenue.