There is no doubt that the cannabis market is booming. In 2021, legal cannabis market supported 321,000 full-time equivalent jobs across the United States. The industry had 32% year over year job growth at a time when most others were struggling due to the pandemic. By 2025, it is predicted that the legal marijuana industry will employ up to 600,000 full time workers across the country.
Legal cannabis will continue to spread across states. 1 in 3 Americans now live in states with legalized cannabis. In 2020, the states with newly legalized markets created 36,000 jobs. Montana is next on the list, with recreational marijuana use beginning in 2022. Given the rapidly expanding market and new legalizations, people who start as entry level employees have a greater chance for quick advancement within the marijuana industry.
What Kind of Jobs Does Legal Cannabis Support?
All kinds. Some require less education and skill while others want a certain type of experience or degree. In the former category, marijuana couriers delivering marijuana to dispensaries or customers mainly need decent driving skills. Their job isn’t much different from that of other delivery drivers. Trimmers, harvesters, or cultivators are often recruited from the pool of cooks or dishwashers in the restaurant industry to care for cannabis crops. Individuals who are talented at growing cannabis on a large scale can become master growers, but starting out doesn’t require much skill or pay. Retail and restaurant workers who shift to the cannabis industry often find themselves in a more supportive workplace than the one they left behind.
Cannabis jobs that want higher qualifications include extraction technician. Because these techs maintain laboratory environments, the typical candidate should have some type of scientific background. Edibles chefs are expected to be good bakers, cooks, or candle-makers before they mix cannabis into their products. People in charge of quality control need detailed knowledge of biology, chemistry, or entomology. That, on top of an understanding of health, safety, and potency standards.
Beyond the jobs that work with cannabis directly, there are support services that require specialized knowledge for nearly every aspect of operations. Every business needs IT, marketing, and human resources. Lawyers and paralegals are helpful for those navigating new laws in recently-opened cannabis markets. Some states require workers dealing with cannabis to possess a marijuana worker license. No matter what job one is pursuing within the industry, knowing the history, social impact, and benefits of marijuana is important.