It has been said that marijuana is the new coal, that it’s the latest of industries to emerge in the past few decades, outside of the tech world, that really stands to create as many jobs, if not more, than the heyday of the coal industry. Weed is already proving to have this potential.
There are hundreds of thousands of people employed through the cultivation and sale of marijuana in states where it’s legal. Not only does it presently employ more people than coal, but also textiles and breweries, according to a report from Yahoo! Finance. So it stands to reason that the legalization of marijuana on the national level would only create more opportunities for Americans.
There are a variety of jobs available in the cannabis industry. On the manufacturing and distribution side of it, companies need workers to assist them in growing and processing plants and running dispensaries. There is also a high demand for people to help in auxiliary business (real estate pros, engineers, contractors, attorneys, security personnel) to help build and keep cannabis companies fully operational and compliant with state law. These types of jobs are incredibly important to the function of the industry. And, in a lot of ways, while the people in these roles are responsible for keeping the bud business moving forward, these positions are often overlooked.
The cannabis industry requires a certain level of talent with respect to the drafting of schematics for cultivation centers and retail outlets. There is also demand for electricians to install lighting systems in these places, scientists, tech wizards, marketing and advertising pros — the list goes on. Of course, these types of jobs are not ones that can be done by the average person walking in off the street. A lot of these positions require advanced education and training. But the payoff can be big. Some of these professional positions come with salaries of $200,000 or more per year.
Well over half the nation has legalized marijuana in some form or fashion. There are now more than 30 states with medical marijuana laws on the books, while 11 others, including the latest additions, Michigan and Illinois, have legalized it for recreational use. There is even hope that the District of Columbia will find its way to a retail pot market relatively soon. This means there are always new opportunities to find work in the cannabis sector. It’s just one of the reasons that, even without federal support, it is still considered one of the largest growing job sectors in the United States.
Some reports show that the cannabis industry will employ nearly a half million people by 2021. So if you live in a state where marijuana is legalized for whatever reason, there should never be any excuse to starve.
Even if someone is not equipped with any particular skill set or formal training, the industry still needs manual laborers. Some of these jobs can start between $12-15 per hour. There have been reports over the years of restaurants and other hospitality companies in legal marijuana states struggling to find workers because many of them have found that they can earn more money working in cannabis (close to double the pay) than they can washing dishes and parking cars.
A report from Glassdoor finds that cannabis workers earn 11% more than the median U.S. salary of $52,863. This is good news for those people who find themselves “hating” their present job (85 percent of Americans do) and looking to make a change, or simply trying to better their situation. Even if marijuana isn’t legal in your neck of the woods now, just give it time. It will be.