The next time you go to the dentist, make this mental note: people working in the legal cannabis industry outnumber American dental hygienists. Let that sink in a bit.
It’s a staggering number, but the cannabis industry is experiencing explosive growth thanks to the $9 billion consumers spent on cannabis in 2017. In fact, ZipRecruiter (a job search website) reported a 445 percent growth in jobs in that industry. By comparison, in 2016, jobs grew just 18 percent.
The job growth is being spurred on by states that are legalizing cannabis for medical use, but also by states like Nevada and Massachusetts that have voted in legal recreational use (called adult consumption.)
Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics reveals a stunning insight: American has about 200,000 dental hygienists, but about 230,000 people are employed in the legal cannabis industry. It is incredible to think about how jobs have grown in this sector.
Healthcare and tech are the industries that typically boast of incredible job growth. Healthcare grew by 70 percent in 2017 and tech grew by a whopping 254 percent. They’re good—but not nearly as good as the cannabis industry.
Cannabis businesses are happily struggling to keep up with growth. Many states have big hiring sprees. For instance, before California legalized cannabis sales at the beginning of this year, businesses in the state went on a huge hiring binge. ZipRecruiter’s Q4 2017 data showed a nearly 700 percent increase from the previous year.
Nearly a quarter million cannabis jobs are absolutely a staggering number, but those jobs are not widespread across the country. In fact, they are tightly clustered in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Colorado for the most part. California is a very populous state, and legalization will bring in more than $5 billion in sales. Here are the top cities for cannabis jobs:
- Los Angeles, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Denver, CO
- Seattle, WA
- Miami, FL
- Portland, OR
- Las Vegas, NV
- San Jose, CA
- Santa Barbara, CA
- Tallahassee, FL
Projections say the industry nationwide could bring in $21 billion in just three short years. Add all the indirect jobs that cannabis businesses need, and the firm of BDS Analytics says the industry could bring in as much as $40 billion. By 2021, over 400,000 people will be employed in the industry.
Canada joins the U.S. in staggering industry growth. The country will likely legalize marijuana nationwide in 2018. A bill is in the Senate now for consideration.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been a staunch supporter of legalized cannabis. Canada is salivating at the prospect of bringing in hundreds of millions in new tax revenue dollars. There are all kinds of supporting businesses cropping up, like the lobbying effort that would allow cannabis consumption in hotels.
What if every state was to legalize cannabis for adult use? New Frontier Data says if that were to happen, the industry could bring in $130 billion by 2021. It could happen since many polls show that a majority of Americans support legalized cannabis in some form.