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More Jobs in Cannabis Than In Manufacturing? It’s Very Likely By 2020

The expansion and growth of the nation’s cannabis industry is expected to create more than a quarter of a million jobs.

If you’re looking to enter the cannabis industry, there’s no better time than now. With the burgeoning U.S. cannabis industry comes an upward trend in employment opportunities, both in companies that work directly with the cannabis plant and its products and ancillary services or products that support the industry. The numbers of jobs within the cannabis industry are multiplying, and projections expect the industry to soon employ more people than manufacturing, utilities, and government industries.

Current Cannabis Industry Job Market

Despite the relative youth of the U.S. cannabis industry, the market already employs hundreds of thousands of people. A recent market research report from cannabis news source Marijuana Business Daily calculated that the nation’s cannabis industry has so far generated 165,000 to 230,000 full- and part-time jobs, up from the 100,000 to 150,000 jobs in place the year prior.

“To put this in perspective, there are now more marijuana industry workers than there are bakers and massage therapists in the United States,” reads the report.

The types of jobs created by the cannabis industry include plant-touching businesses like at the following:

  • Medical marijuana dispensaries
  • Recreational marijuana retailers
  • Infused product manufacturers
  • Cannabis wholesale cultivators
  • Scientists
  • Testing labs

The market also creates new growth and employment opportunities for ancillary companies, which don’t directly handle the plant but support the industry. This includes:

  • Professional services firms
  • Software and tech companies
  • Security services
  • Vaporizer manufacturers
  • Legal services
  • Cultivation equipment businesses

Marijuana industry jobs are now providing viable and legal career paths for people the 29 U.S. states that have passed laws permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Eight of those states have also legalized the recreational use of marijuana, further expanding their cannabis markets and number of job opportunities.

Expected Rate of Cannabis Industry Job Growth

Market analysts believe the marijuana job market could double or triple in the years to come. This is because cannabis industry is gaining momentum and its potential for growth is high.

Hemp cannabidiol (CBD) sales are projected to soon reach $1 billion, and several states have recently passed medical or recreational measures but have yet to have their markets up and running. California, which is already the nation’s largest cannabis market thanks to its medical marijuana program, is slated to launch its $5 billion recreational market January 1. Nationwide, the legal marijuana market is growing faster than the dot-com boom, and some market experts believe marijuana legalization could expand from 29 to all 50 U.S. states in four years.

As more states pass measures permitting medical or recreational marijuana markets, and social attitudes regarding cannabis continue to shift, the industry’s job growth could explode. A market analysis from New Frontier Data published earlier this year estimates that the legal cannabis market in the U.S. will generate nearly 283,422 jobs by 2020. This is more than the expected jobs provided by the nation’s manufacturing, utilities, and government industries, as projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In response to the blossoming million-dollar cannabis industry, new marijuana-focused schools and even traditional colleges are offering training courses and certificate programs focused on preparing students for employment.

The industry now offers both entry level and higher level job opportunities that plainly didn’t exist not too long ago. Entry-level positions, such as bud trimmers, can make between $12 and $15 an hour cutting leaves from the marijuana plant, according to a report from The Seattle Times. Higher-level jobs related to the cultivation of the plant or making of cannabis-infused products can carry salaries nearing six figures.

Here’s How You Can Learn More

Now is a great time to break into the cannabis industry. You can learn more about legal cannabis through our industry overview page, or keep up with developments in the surging cannabis industry through our news feed.

Ready to get started in the cannabis industry? Visit the Medical Marijuana, Inc. careers page.

Post by Eve Ripley

Eve is a writer specializing in cannabis education and editorials related to cannabis industry news.

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