If you've got a sure-fire, million-dollar cannabis business idea, or pride yourself on your expertise in plant-related matters, it's a great time to be alive in the U.S. The legal marijuana industry continues to create a dizzying array of new jobs ranging from grow-house operators and bud tenders to ancillary businesses providing storage, marketing, and banking solutions.
Most of what we know about the job creation potential within the cannabis industry comes from Colorado, where recreational cannabis has been legal since 2012. According to data from the Marijuana Business Daily, the state had issued 26,929 active occupational licenses to workers at medical and recreational cannabis companies as of December 2015 – an impressive 68 percent increase from the previous year.
While it's still too early to track how many jobs have been created in Oregon's nascent legal industry, based on what has happened in Colorado, the state's job outlook is good from regulating cannabis in the same way as alcohol.
"The legal cannabis sector in the United States grew by 74 percent in 2014, according to ArcView Market Research," writes Ann Lininger of Oregon Live. "Once legalization goes nationwide, the sector is projected to exceed $36-billion in annual value. That's larger than the organic food business, and it could mean lots of good jobs for Oregon."
Cannabis use has also been legalized in Alaska, Washington state and the District of Columbia.
People are, clearly, also willing to travel to pursue opportunities in states where the plant is no longer taboo.
"These are jobs that plainly didn't exist not too long ago," writes David Eisenberg of Monster.com. "Now that they do, well, there are both a lot of people doing them [...] and a lot of people who want them (more than 1,200 people from across the country flocked to Colorado in 2014)."
And they're not all entry-level, bud-trimming type jobs, either: according to a report from The Seattle Times, many jobs in the industry have salaries in the $50,000 to $90,000 range.
All this to say: if you're one of the go-getters looking to cash in, bring your A-game: with more and more states poised to legalize in 2016, the job opportunities will continue to grow , but - as with any hot, new industry generating tons of buzz - the competition to snag top gigs is bound to be fierce.