Cannabis Jobs Pay 11% More than the US Median Salary, and Demand is Up 76%
As more states legalize cannabis usage, the industry that provides the drug has gotten a burst of confidence in its long-term prospects and is rapidly expanding.
Job openings rose 76 percent from December 2017 to December 2018, with 1,512 open roles posted in that final month of 2018 alone, according to Glassdoor. Back in 2017, that number was only 858.
The industry’s acceleration doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon either, as this latest upsurge only continues a trend Glassdoor has been observing over the past few years, thanks to loosening restrictions on the drug.
Last year, seven states and Washington D.C. all approved measures changing their stance on cannabis, meaning 33 states and the capital now all allow for either legalized recreational or medical marijuana use. According to an October 2018 Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans are now in favor of national legalization.
That public support and Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis at a federal level last year seem to be inspiring the industry to make big human resource investments, despite the legal issues it could face on a national level.
“Investment in hiring is one of the strongest indicators for business confidence as it requires a substantial long-term investment of time, effort and money,” wrote Daniel Zhao, an economist and data scientist with Glassdoor, on the company’s blog.
The roles these companies are looking to fill might not be what you expect, either. While they need retail workers to man shops and people to tend the crop, 53 percent of the industry’s opening are for professional or technical workers such as audit assurance managers, product managers and marketing managers.
“As the cannabis industry becomes more legitimate, more and more professional roles will be in demand to help businesses comply with tax laws and regulations and scale into larger markets,” Zhao wrote.
Cannabis workers earn a good wage too — about 11 percent more than the U.S. median salary of $52,863, according to Glassdoor’s December 2018 Local Pay Report. The median paycheck in the industry is $58,511 a year, or $5,648 more than the national figure, though individual salaries can range from $22,326 annually for service jobs all the way up to $215,384 annually for legal professionals.
The most in-demand cannabis jobs tend to be in service or retail — think roles like brand ambassador and sales associate — which each account for 5 percent of available jobs. But that’s mostly because higher level or more technical roles tend to be more varied, making them unlikely to be concentrated under the same title.
You’ll have the best luck if you’re job-hunting in larger cannabis-friendly cities such as San Francisco, which has the most open roles of any area — about 13 percent of all listings; Los Angeles, which accounts for 12 percent of listings; and Denver, which has 7 percent.
New York City and Seattle round out the top five places, each hosting 4 percent of all open cannabis jobs.
Most of the companies looking to hire are not only concentrated in larger cities, but they also tend to be small to medium-size businesses with less than 500 employees. More than 80 percent of open jobs are with such companies as larger corporations seem to be unwilling to invest with the cannabis market so localized and the drug’s legal status uncertain, according to Glassdoor.
The top-hiring company, Green Thumb Industries, is a “vertically-integrated business that cultivates, processes and sells cannabis-related products directly,” according to Glassdoor. It currently is looking to hire 67 workers.
Several of the other top hiring businesses aren’t actually producing the drug, but rather are running operations that feed off the cannabis demand. For instance, Eaze, which has 43 open jobs, is a cannabis delivery service, while Weedmaps, with 29 open jobs, is a review service for cannabis companies.
The other big area weed is impacting? Regulation. As this new industry seeks out help with compliance issues, companies and the government are stepping up their workforce meant to ensure legal standards are met. MGO, a professional services firm, is looking for 41 people currently to fill out its unit specializing in cannabis, while the State of Washingtonneeds 22 new workers to expand its regulatory and compliance branch, according to Glassdoor.
The job-listing site further predicts that the industry will be looking to hire even more workers who can ensure companies meet accounting standards and product safety requirements, as well as people who can help who can these smaller businesses scale up.