As the cannabis sector continues its hyper growth, many individuals are exploring ways to make a real career in the industry. And why not? If you have a passion for the medicinal and recreational value of this magic plant, there are now more opportunities than ever to turn that passions into a paying position. But like any commitment, it is important to understand the trends and future outlook the industry to be best position to find a high paying job.
Trends and Future Outlook of Cannabis Careers
Not all that long ago, anyone involved in the “marijuana industry” was inherently breaking the law, and faced stiff penalties for distributing this nonlethal, medicinal and therapeutic plant. Although that’s still unfortunately the case in many parts of the world and the United States, there has been a massive and to many an unforeseen legal marijuana boom in the past eight years.
Now, two countries (Uruguay and Canada) have legalized cannabis for all uses and dozens have legalized it for medical purposes. In the U.S., nearly a dozen states have legalized recreational marijuana, over 30 have legalized medical marijuana, and over 40 have legalized cannabidiol or low-THC marijuana oil.
This rapid influx of areas where marijuana is legal has led to a very large and quickly growing legal marijuana industry. This new industry, which covers an incredibly large variety of different jobs and careers (including cannabis grower, dispensary manager, marijuana attorney, marijuana marketing director, lab technician, etc., etc.) , employs hundreds of thousands throughout the U.S. alone. With this in mind, in this article we will take a look at some of the trends and future outlooks of cannabis careers in the growing cannabis industry.
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Hiring Growth in Cannabis
The legal marijuana industry has been experiencing a massive boom in recent years. Earlier this year Leafly’s annual Cannabis Jobs Report found 243,700 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs supported by legal cannabis as of January 2020, marking a 15% year-over-year increase. In 2019 alone there was 33,700 new jobs added to this list.
The report found Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Illinois leading the employment expansion. Massachusetts added 10,226 jobs, Oklahoma added more than 7,300 jobs in the past year. “Florida also saw amazing growth in 2019.
With more than 300,000 registered medical marijuana patients, Florida now has the most medical patients of any state. That growth in the patient base, along with the start of smokeable flower sales, boosted Florida to a 93% increase in total sales.
There is a clear continued path for growth as more and more states look to legalize and as more entrepreneurs enter the field and employ for various roles.
As with any hyper growth industry, salary trends are mapping to the industry trends and growing very quickly. As more and more businesses are opening their doors in this industry, finding strong, qualified and experienced labor is challenging. Businesses have been forced to come up with elevated compensation packages to attract the right talent. This is expected to continue as demand for labor rises.
The chart above created by Glassdoor shows the average salary in the cannabis industry is well above that of the US median. Now is a great time to get into the industry as expectations are that the gap will continue to expand.
Cannabis Career Trends
Pretty much all cannabis-related careers are on the rise, but some in particular are growing at an impressive pace. Glass door highlighted the top 20 in demand job postings from 2019:
|Rank||Occupation||Job Openings||% Share|
|15||Patient Care Technician||17||1%|
The top positions that are expected to continue to grow at an elevated level are:
Dispensary/Retail Marijuana Manager:
In many states and countries just 5 – 10 years ago there were no marijuana stores: And now, in some of these places, their are hundreds. Because of this, the need for dispensary managers – those able to actually run these locations – is high.
Given there are so many new business owners operating newly legal stores, the need for both accountants and attorneys is huge. Most dispensaries have at least one of each, and most are paid quite well to ensure that the outlet is financially and legally stable as possible.
This is an obvious one, but with so much marijuana being sold legally, there is – and always will be – a need for marijuana growers.
Marijuana Lab Technician:
Most states and countries which have legalized marijuana require it to be tested. Sometimes for things like pesticides, sometimes for things like THC and CBD content, and sometimes for all the above. Although there aren’t nearly as many marijuana lab technician jobs as others on this list, there are also less seeking them.
Now is an exceptional time to explore the career opportunities in the cannabis space. In countries like Canada where cannabis is fully legal, we are seeing an astounding growth in the space with many high demand positions available. Individuals who made careers in marketing and sales are able to find equivalent positions in the cannabis at a higher paying rate.
As the US continues it’s move towards legalization, state by state demand for qualified cannabis employees is expected to continue to rise.