The cannabis employment market has entered a mature phase with thousands of American and Canadian citizens gaining work in the rapidly emerging industry.
to Indeed Canada, there are currently more than 1,000 job listings within the
cannabis industry, with roles ranging from trimmers to dispensary workers and
The tax revenue from cannabis sales is
often remarked upon as the main selling point for states and countries looking to
follow the likes of California and Colorado, but what is often overlooked is
the positive impact it can have by providing jobs to local communities.
Last year it was reported
that the cannabis industry was the fastest growing job market throughout the
US, with it being claimed that more than 211,000 had gained full time
employment in the industry. Almost a third of those new positions were created
in 2018 after a thriving year for both the recreational and medicinal sectors.
There are reportedly more legal
cannabis industry workers than there are dental hygienists in the United
States, along with having almost triple the amount of workers that are
currently employed in the beer brewing industry.
It’s also worth noting that employees
in the cannabis industry get paid 11
percent more on average than regular
workers in the US, with the average yearly salary coming in at an impressive
Considering federal income tax for a
salary of $58,511 in the United States is 22
percent, it is calculated that $12,872 is
contributed on average per worker in the industry.
Multiplying the average tax
contribution by the estimated amount of full-time employees sees the yearly
federal income tax revenue solely from workers in the industry top $2.7 billion
in the United States alone.
However, one of the major stumbling
blocks for the industry in the US is that it is still considered illegal on a
federal level, which is stifling growth in a number of states across the
The Bureau of Labor statistics is
adamant about not including or reporting on the job gains within the cannabis
industry due to the substance still being federally illegal, despite the fact
that legal cannabis currently creates more jobs than any other industry in
“In 2019, America’s cannabis industry
is one of the nation’s greatest economic success stories. That success deserves
to be recognised and celebrated. This is an industry that welcomes strict
regulation and fair taxation, asking only to have its outdated and unjust
federal penalties removed”, the author summarises in the report.
The United Kingdom is in the same
situation, with cannabis being considered as a class B drug while cannabis
derivative CBD is legal and sold in high street stores. Interestingly, the UK
job market still advertises for a plethora of cannabis
related jobs, with CBD production work
accompanying adverts for cannabis lawyers in central London.
Industry analysis concluded that the
number of full-time workers in the cannabis industry would reach to 340,000 by
2022 in the United States, which would mark a 21 percent increase in annual
The rapid growth of the cannabis
market becomes clearer when compared to other industries that aim to make a
large profit and need a sizeable workforce such as the entire US health-care
industry, which is only expected to grow by two percent annually until 2022.
The legal cannabis industry appears to
be creating a huge number of employment opportunities despite being limited to
states who have gone against the federal stance on it in favour of growing
their respective economies, in which they began utilising an industry that was
once only capitalised on by the black market.
Another way to eliminate the black
market from capitalising on the cannabis industry would be making it easier for
cannabis businesses to register with banks and credit card companies – a topic
that troubles many working in the industry as a result of the federal financial
rules in America.
Banks are often discouraged from
working with cannabis companies, meaning that legal, tax-paying businesses can’t
open accounts which forces them to operate on a cash-only basis, subsequently
causing workers to receive their weekly wages in cash, making them a high-risk
target for robbery.
A recent study
by the London School of Economics & Political Science found that in the
week before and after Canada legalised cannabis use on October 17th 2018, the
amount of cash in circulation fell ‘quite materially’ when compared to rises
from previous years.
The theory behind why this happened is
that customers who would typically purchase cannabis illegally with cash made
the switch to purchasing from legal stores, in which they could use card
This shows that if cannabis businesses
were not experiencing the problems they face with banking in the United States,
the industry may experience higher migration from illicit purchases to legal
government-licensed purchases, further fuelling the economies of differing
As the US tries to find its feet from
a federal perspective, Canada has taken a gung-ho approach with cannabis and
the thriving employment market that comes alongside it.
Canada’s two largest cannabis
companies – Aurora and Tilray – employ 1,600 and 750 people respectively, with
it consistently growing month-by-month.
Of the tens of thousands of Canadians
employed in the industry, 60 percent of them work in cultivation, harvesting,
processing, manufacturing and administration, while 20 percent work in
packaging, marketing, sales and shipping activities.
The diversity of jobs within the
industry demonstrates that it has real potential to continue growing over the
coming years, especially with additional states in the US and other European
countries becoming more open to the legalisation of cannabis, which in turn
will drive demands in early adopting nations such as Canada.
One of Canada’s main issues
with expanding the cannabis industry is the lack of brick and mortar stores in
some areas, even in high-population provinces, mainly due to the extortionately
high costs of opening a store as well as obtaining a licence.
The market is still relatively new therefore over time, these types of issues will be resolved and once customer access becomes less limited with more stores being opened to accommodate the demand for legal cannabis, more jobs will be undoubtedly be created to fill the growing positions in the budding industry.