The Marijuana Industry Has the American Workforce Blazing

If you’ve stalled out in your current line of work, new data on the burgeoning American marijuana industry suggests that creating or selling weed products might be a lucrative new field for you. In fact, legal weed workers already outnumber dental hygienists, bakers, and massage therapists in North America.

Data compiled in the Marijuana Business Factbook, which analyzes the business opportunities in cannabis in Canada and the United States, proves just how powerful the weed industry has become since 2009. In 2016, four states legalized recreational marijuana and four more approved certain measures allowing marijuana to be sold medicinally. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia are either working on passing legislation or have passed legislation to loosen the legal grip on marijuana in some form.

The Factbook analyzes California’s economy as it pertains to legalized marijuana in great detail, and, based on the existing data, makes the prediction that the state will eventually bring in $4.5 billion and $5 billion in annual retail sales — that’s more than the entire nation made on marijuana in 2016.

On the negative side of things, the Factbook points out that most marijuana businesses are becoming apprehensive of what federal regulations will do to their sales. Things are getting especially hairy for growers who can’t keep up with their local dispensaries’ demand for more product. As the Factbook reads, “Some cultivators that shelled out for expensive indoor facilities are finding that costs of production now exceed the market price per pound of cannabis.” The wonky relationship between distributors and growers has lengthened the amount of time an average marijuana company needs to start making a profit; in early 2016, almost 70% of the surveyed companies selling or distributing weed-related products told researchers they had made it “into the black” in under a year. That same answer was only given by 55% of companies in the latest report, which means marijuana is still a viable line of work, though it’s likely to get harder and harder to join the workforce as product availability expands.

The bottom line for many, though, is that the marijuana industry has created somewhere between 165,000 and 230,000 full- and part-time jobs since 2009. As Entrepeneur puts it, those jobs include “working at cannabis retail stores, growing facilities, marijuana-infused product companies, testing labs and ancillary businesses such as transportation and security.” If you’re looking for a professional change-up, you may want to find a way into professional weed distribution, but your window of opportunity is closing.

The Green Rush Is Real… Forbes Predicts Marijuana Industry To Be One Of The Nation’s Largest

A new report from Marijuana Business Daily estimates that the total demand for marijuana in the cannabis industry is worth around $45-$50 billion in the US.

For context, they put these numbers alongside a few other classic American staples:

  • Ice cream sales are around $5.1 billion
  • Movie tickets come in at $11.1 billion
  • Girl Scout Cookies rake in $776 million
  • Paid streaming music is a $2.5 billion industry

Surprised? There’s more. As Forbes notes:

The report points out that these employees spend their earnings on housing, food, travel and entertainment, which helps other local businesses. The launch of all these cannabis businesses has sparked a real estate boom in spaces that were for the most part previously vacant. Tourism is bringing new travel dollars into these states as well.

The report estimates that for every $1 consumers spend at dispensaries, another $3 in economic benefits are created in cities, states and nationwide. State and local municipalities are plugging holes in their budgets with the marijuana tax receipts and making infrastructure repairs and boosting schools.

“On the recreational side of the business, the originally legalized states are still posting massive growth,” Chris Walsh, editor of Marijuana Business Daily, which published the report, said according to Forbes. “The demand for marijuana is so enormous in this country.”