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Cannabis Jobs Market is Blowing Up!

Employment in the hemp industry is surpassing some of the fastest-growing fields in the country, including healthcare and tech. Across the U.S., it’s estimated that some 122,000 people work in hemp, and by 2021 that number is expected to increase to over 400,000 jobs.

Widespread support for hemp legalization has resulted in more states jumping into the industry and more businesses looking to hire. In 2016, job growth in the marijuana industry was only 18%. In 2017, job postings have increased 445%. The number of people working in hemp-related businesses is higher than the number of people employed as dental hygienists and bakers, and could also surpass the number people working as telemarketers or pharmacists.

However, it’s hard to get an accurate read on job creation in the legal marijuana industry, even at the state level, because hemp is still classified as a Schedule I drug.  That means that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t collect data or recognize hemp as an industry. Tracking growth would help job seekers, investors, policy makers, and economists paint a fuller picture of the industry.

While the federal government doesn’t acknowledge hemp, employment opportunities continue to increase in states with legal marijuana. Cannabis businesses and job seekers connect through career fairs and industry events. Some universities are offering courses on the business of marijuana, including classes on marijuana law and hemp journalism–indicating that the industry isn’t going anywhere.

Spending in hemp resulted in $9 billion worth of sales in 2017, and with the beginning of legal recreational hemp sales in California, that number is sure to increase. Industry research firm BDS Analytics expects legal weed will add approximately $40 billion to the U.S. economy by 2021, and if hemp became legal in all 50 states, it could result in over $130 billion to U.S. tax revenue.


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