Like it or not, the cannabis industry is growing, and jobs available in the industry are increasing, too. In some areas, year over year, job growth has been up by as much as 30%. One recruiting firm that focuses on the cannabis industry estimates that 250,000 full-time cannabis-related jobs are available in the United States. Those numbers are expected to continue to grow. Cannabiz Team, a San Diego-based national recruiting firm, expects those numbers to jump to 500,000 plus jobs within three years.
It takes nothing more than a pandemic to show just how much staying power marijuana businesses really have in the country.
In many states, the cannabis industry was deemed ‘essential,’ and throughout it all, the sector kept innovating, adjusting business models to meet newfound demand, and doing that required employees. Let’s face it, as controversial as weed can be to some, there’s no denying that the industry is a solid employer.
“Cannabis jobs are expanding super fast. In the past three or four years, we’ve seen absolute expansion, 30% year-over-year growth in jobs being created,” said Liesl Bernard, CEO of CannabizTeam, said.
The cannabis industry offers well-paying jobs. Over half the states in the country have or will raise the minimum wage in 2021; many of these states have either legal medical or recreational marijuana programs.
While the federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25, the average budtender makes twice that, with an average hourly wage of $15.05, which translates into $31,314 annually. Not too shabby for a retail job.
Weed companies typically pay more than the state’s prevailing minimum wage anyway as a tool to retain employees.
Established and new cannabis markets are hiring at a stout pace. Recruiters note that the states with the highest job creation rates are California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Oklahoma. According to Vangst, a national cannabis-focused recruiting firm, in a 2020 report, the group calculated that 40,000 cannabis jobs will be created in New Jersey and another 25,000 in Arizona in the next five years.
Jobs aren’t just available in metro areas, either. As new businesses join the cannabis industry, rural operations are looking to hire, too; after all, cultivating sun-grown products generally requires farming and agriculture, and you’re not going to find a field of sun-grown cannabis growing in the middle of Portland, Oregon, are you? Point is, there are options for all types of people, increasing the likelihood of general job satisfaction.
Bernard estimates that annual job growth will continue or even increase as states with legal, medical marijuana programs include legal recreational marijuana industries. Talented folks who may have experienced a layoff with a job in another industry might consider trying their talents in the legal weed industry.
Karson Humiston, CEO of Vangst, is even more optimistic. She noted that the number of cannabis industry jobs has jumped from 120,000 in 2017 to 321,000 now. “Cannabis businesses are raising money again, and capital is moving into the space,” Humiston said. “We think 2021 will be the biggest hiring year the cannabis industry has ever seen.”