As more states move to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, the number of job opportunities in the industry has grown at an impressive rate, according to a recent survey conducted by online job platform Joblift.
The company analyzed 3,367 job postings in the United States for medical marijuana over the last 12 months and found 24 percent more job postings in the first six months of 2018 compared to the last half of 2017.
By comparison there were only 16 percent more job postings for the entire U.S. labor market over that same time period.
So far nine states have legalized recreational marijuana and 30 states have legalized medical marijuana, including Louisiana.
A January 2018 report from BDS Analytics reported that the economic output from the legal marijuana industry is expected to grow by 150 percent from $16 billion in 2017 to $40 billion by 2021. The report looked at estimates of the total economic contribution including direct and indirect jobs created, and tax receipts generated in states that legalized marijuana either medicinally or recreationally.
They estimate the number of direct jobs in the legal cannabis industry will top 291,500 by the year 2021.
According to the Joblift survey of current medical marijuana job postings, California (856), Florida (295) and New York (236) had the largest numbers of job postings in that industry. Pennsylvania experienced the fastest job growth with five times as many job postings (82 versus 17) during the first half of 2018.
The growing medical marijuana industry is expected to create jobs across a variety of industries. Approximately 15 percent of the job postings analyzed in the survey were targeted toward highly-skilled medical professionals including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Another 6 percent of medical marijuana job postings targeted marketing and sales professionals. About 2 percent of jobs called for delivery drivers.
Despite the interest in Louisiana’s budding new industry, the number of doctors that actually have been licensed to recommend medical marijuana lingers at 10.
“The medical sector in general is incredibly lucrative; medical marijuana should be no different,” said Matt Kopjak, the managing director of the US Market at Joblift in response to the survey.
Louisiana approved medical marijuana in 2016 for over a dozen qualifying medical conditions. The program is expected to start small with only nine dispensaries spread out across the state and two state-supervised growers. So far, 27 doctors have signed up to recommend medical marijuana. Only 15 have had their therapeutic marijuana licenses approved.