A new report from Marijuana Business Daily estimates that the U.S. cannabis industry currently employs up to 230,000 workers.
Despite its young age, the U.S. cannabis industry has already become a major job generator. According to a newly published market research report from Marijuana Business Daily, the nation’s cannabis industry has so far generated 165,000 to 230,000 full- and part-time jobs, up from 100,000 to 150,000 jobs last year.
“To put this in perspective, there are now more marijuana industry workers than there are bakers are massage therapists in the United States,” reads the report.
Standardized employment data pertaining to cannabis jobs in the U.S. is lacking due to marijuana’s federal standing. The employment estimates published in the Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 were calculated using a variety of methodologies, including the use of survey data regarding the average number of employees at each type of cannabis-related company. They include cannabis retailers, wholesale grows, testing labs, infused products and concentrates companies, and ancillary firms.
According to the Marijuana Business Factbook, the nation’s market is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. The increasing demand of recreational marijuana and medical cannabis patient counts are expected to continue to rise. Just five of the eight U.S. states that have legalized recreational marijuana have operational programs, and the majority of the 11 states that passed medical or recreational marijuana measures last year will implement their programs in 2018. Nevada, which legalized adult use cannabis last November, began retail sales just this past weekend.
California’s upcoming recreational market alone is expected to generate $4.5 billion and $5 billion in annual retail sales. This would more than double the nation’s entire legal cannabis industry in 2016. The impact on businesses and employment in the state is expected to be significant.
“These new markets, as well as other states that legalize in the near future, will set the stage for impressive growth over the next five years,” the report reads.
“The increase in retail sales over the next five years will provide a substantial economic boost for the United States.”
A report published last year by The Washington Post found that cannabis industry workers earn an average of $15 to $20 per hour, and more skilled laborers like grow masters and store managers earn upwards of $75,000 to $100,000 annually.
Earlier this year, a market research report from New Frontier Data estimated that the nation’s legal cannabis market would generate over 283,000 jobs by 2020, exceeding those created by manufacturing, utilities, and government.
The job potential of the legal cannabis industry is why many are confused with the Trump administration’s effort to crack down on marijuana states. Trump had promised to create 25 million new jobs within the next decade, but officials in his administration remain adamantly opposed to legalizing and regulating cannabis.
“Look at it economically. Donald Trump wants to create jobs? Simple. Pull off the federal ban on cannabis,” said Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura earlier this summer at a cannabis exposition.
The Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 also estimates that the legal U.S. cannabis market will reach $17 billion and have a $70 billion total economic impact by 2021. Demand for recreational marijuana is currently so high that it would outsell ice cream if it were legalized nationally.