Americans who have found jobs in the marijuana industry continues to rise.
Marijuana Business Daily released a new report that estimates 100,000 to 150,000 Americans are working in the marijuana industry. CBS News has reported that legal marijuana has employed more individuals than flight attendants (108,000 as of May 2015), web developers (127,000) and librarians(131,000).
The marijuana jobs report “shows that this industry is becoming an economic engine for the country,” Chris Walsh, editorial director of Marijuana Business Daily said. “We’re really just scratching the surface in terms of jobs in this industry.”
Many businesses and services outside of retail sales are helping to account for the high jobs numbers. It is no longer just a matter of cultivation and distribution. Transporting, packaging, lighting, security personnel, medical offices, and professional services are all a part of the new marijuana industry. Additionally, new technology, websites, and apps are also becoming crucial to successful marijuana businesses. All of this has resulted in diverse pool of job applicants and employees.
“We are now seeing a higher caliber of professionals coming into the space and bringing their skills and experience from other markets,” said John Kagia, an executive at New Frontier, an organization that specializes on big data for marijuana.
The job news comes just as a recent report highlighted a slowdown in the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP is considered to be one of the broadest indicators of goods and service production in the United States. The growth for the second fiscal quarter of this year was 1.2%, below what economists would normally want to see.
Since the 2008 recession, legal marijuana jobs have steadily expanded as new states come online. While the industry is resistant to some of the economic problems that plague other businesses, this is not to say the marijuana industry is immune to outside economic forces. Since legal marijuana has been so severely restricted for years, a certain level of growth was to be expected, even during a major recession.
Major reforms to marijuana laws could be coming in November as we approach the 2016 election. Voters in 8 states will vote on legalizing medical or recreational marijuana. Additional jobs on the horizon seems almost guaranteed.