The future has never been brighter for the cannabis industry. Employment opportunities are on the rise, and profits are higher than ever. Experts predict the legal marijuana market in the U.S. could be worth as much as $66.3 billion by 2025. This trend is certain to continue, with an increasing number of states choosing to legalize recreational weed.
So what does this mean for people seeking jobs in the cannabis industry? Recent reports indicate that the number of full-time workers in this field has increased by as much as 34%. That’s about 200,000 new employees being introduced into the industry. For perspective, 200,000 cannabis employees is more than double the amount of flight attendants or veterinarians in the United States. Cannabis jobs have a projected job-creation rate of nearly 110% in just three years, between 2017 and 2020.
These full-time jobs are abundant, and cover a wide range of professions. Some specialized jobs include growers, lab techs, and extraction experts. Other career paths in the industry only deal indirectly with cannabis products, like accountants, marketing teams, and lawyers. The level of skill needed for these positions is one key reasons why the median annual salary for cannabis industry employees is nearly $60,000. It’s also why many job seekers have started getting their skills certified at cannabis universities.
How is the cannabis industry growing so fast?
Massive medical market
There are a few key factors behind this massive growth in the cannabis industry. For starters, the market for medical marijuana has played a huge role. An increasing number of states are choosing to legalize medical cannabis. Dispensaries must increase their staff and supply to accommodate this distinct, expanding market.
Florida alone created an astounding 9,000 cannabis jobs, an eye-popping 703% increase. This demand for medical marijuana is largely driven by the rise in patients from 65,000 to 165,000 in 2018. The market throughout the United States is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2024. Globally, the industry is predicted to be worth more than $31.4 billion by 2021.
Hemp & CBD
Another key factor behind the industry’s growth is the legalization and popularization of hemp-derived CBD. Raking in an incredible $1.1 billion in revenue in 2018, the industry’s value is estimated to reach $16 billion by 2025. The demand for CBD continues to rise as celebrities, athletes, and health experts express their love of the cannabinoid.
This growing industry has a major need for transporters, researchers, lab techs, and other specialized workers. Job recruiting site HempStaff report that the number of hemp-related jobs has doubled from a year ago.
“Ever since the Farm Bill passed, we have seen a huge increase in hemp clients coming forward, saying they need staff now or in the next few months,” said HempStaff CEO James Yagielo.
Currently, 80% of HempStaff’s current openings are for upper-level jobs, such as CFOs and accounting managers. However, Yagielo asserts that “once hemp factories get up and running to create products, they’re going to need factory line people, machinists and other types of workers.”
The future of the industry
The cannabis industry is starting to prosper. Last year, retail sales from cannabis dispensaries reached around $9 billion, and this success is only expected to continue. As the industry grows, more employment opportunities will be created.
Federal laws against marijuana are the only roadblock in the way of this job boom. Removing the outdated Schedule 1 classification of cannabis would lead to a massive job creation. Full legalization and decriminalization could cause sales figures to shoot up as high as $52.5 billion.
The market is ripe for the taking, and American workers and industry leaders alike would greatly benefit from legalization. Stay involved with both local and federal elections, and keep pushing for the freedom to stay lifted.