As numerous industries decline in workforce numbers, the marijuana jobs market is poised for a boom.
A multi-billion dollar market
In 2016 the legal cannabis industry was worth roughly $7.2 billion, according to New Frontier Data, a Washington D.C. analytics firm. In their most recent annual report, New Frontier projects the cannabis industry to grow at a 17% annual rate. They also expect medical sales to increase from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion by 2020.
But that’s just medical cannabis. Recreational totals will balloon as well, they say, from $2.6 billion to $11.2 billion during that same time.
Tied to those sales forecasts, naturally, are marijuana jobs.
Jobs, jobs, jobs
New Frontier isn’t shy about potential job-growth numbers, estimating that by 2020 the legal cannabis industry will create more than 250,000 American jobs — this only in states where marijuana is currently legal. As more states legalize cannabis, marijuana jobs projections will likely increase. And those jobs are desperately needed, especially when considering that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the manufacturing sector will lose 814,000 jobs, while utilities and government will shed 47,000 and 383,000 jobs respectively by 2024.
According to Marijuana Business Daily there are between 100,00 and 150,000 legal marijuana jobs today.
More jobs and good wages
In Oregon alone, where both medical and recreational cannabis are legal, there are an estimated 12,500 marijuana jobs, according to Whitney Economics, an economic and management consulting provider. Those jobs contribute roughly $315 million in annual wages to workers across the state. The average wage of cannabis workers who actually touch the plant is $12.13 per hour. That’s 24% above Oregon’s minimum wage. Not too shabby for labor work.
Just south of Oregon, in California, productive harvest trimmers make between $400 and $450 every workday, with the most exceptional trim laborers bringing in a $500 daily haul, according to farmers quoted in a 2017 ABC Radio story.
As the industry normalizes, so too will employment needs, ranging from plant trimmers to budtenders (dispensary attendants), and traditional white collar jobs like accountants and marketing professionals.