A new report from New Frontier Data projects that the marijuana industry will create over a quarter of a million jobs by 2020. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this surpasses the expected number of jobs in manufacturing, utilities, or government.
The legal cannabis market will create over 283,000 jobs over the next four years. By comparison, experts expect that manufacturing jobs will decline by 814,000.
Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data commented on this contrast: “While we see a potential drop in the total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017 […] the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline.”
And yet, these projections only take into account states that have already legalized marijuana in some form. If additional states legalize marijuana by 2020, this number will continue to increase.
Furthermore, Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor of Oaksterdam University of California, found that the interest in working with marijuana has increased due to recent legal measures.
“The cannabis job market is growing, but many who are interested in the industry have been fearful of prosecution by the DEA. But that is changing,” said Jones. A recent U.S. appeals court ruling has driven this change. Because the court determined that the government cannot prosecute the growth and distribution of medical marijuana. “This is huge, as it is very likely that more people will now feel safer about entering the cannabis industry.”
Professionals from traditional industries are seeking new environments, challenges, and opportunities. And as a result, the marijuana industry is drawing a crowd of interested, passionate employees.
Job creation offers defense against enforcement of federal marijuana law
This report from New Found Data has at an optimal time for the cannabis industry. Last Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s stated that he expects there to “greater enforcement” of federal marijuana law. Although details of such enforcement are unknown, marijuana industry leaders are prepared to fight against it.
Robert Capecchi of the Marijuana Policy Project, views this as a direct contradiction of the administration’s previous claims.
“To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a states’ rights administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic,” Capecchi said.
The marijuana industry is also a significant source of revenue. In 2016, experts estimated that the legal cannabis market was worth $7.2 billion.
As marijuana use becomes more widespread over the next few years, sales in this market will continue to grow. Experts project that medical marijuana sales will grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Recreational marijuana sales are to grow from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion in 2020.
The Drug Policy Alliance stated that shutting down part of the legal cannabis market would have serious economic impact, “wiping out tax-paying jobs and eliminating billions of dollars in taxes.”
Before the government cracks down on the marijuana industry, it is imperative that they consider the future of job creation. After all, cutting down the growth of a blossoming industry seems counterintuitive to what all parties involved want.
“This is absurd,” said Patrece Bryan, president of Cannabrand. “For a president who ran under the banner of job creation, he actually needs to start looking at where the jobs are being created.”