The cannabis industry is projected to create over a quarter of a million jobs within the next three years. With half of all U.S. states having some form of legalized cannabis, it is expected to create more jobs than manufacturing, utilities or the government. What's more, these projections are based only on data from states where marijuana is legal in some form and states that have pending laws in various stages of implementation.The new report, cited by Forbes, comes from New Frontier Data. While manufacturing jobs are expected to decline by 814,000 by 2024, utilities jobs are expected to decline 47,000 jobs, and government jobs are expected to decline by 383,000, the cannabis industry is expected to create about a quarter of a million jobs in less than half that time. Forbes reported that healthcare-related industries are among the fastest-growing industries, and cannabis is apparently no exception.
"These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job-creation engine for the U.S. economy," Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, founder of New Frontier Data, stated. "While we see a potential drop in total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017, as reported by Kiplinger, as well as an overall expected drop in GDP growth, the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline. We expect the cannabis industry's growth to be slowed down to some degree in the next three to five years, however with projected total market sales to exceed $24 billion by 2025, and the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020, it remains a positive economic force in the U.S."
As states have adopted legalized cannabis, the market has grown to an estimated $7.2 billion market in 2016. The projections indicate that the cannabis industry will grow at a compound annual rate of 17 percent. Medical marijuana sales alone are projected to shoot up from over four-billion dollars to over 13-billion dollars by 2020. Meanwhile, recreational sales, legal in some states, are expected to just about triple by 2020.Surveys of cannabis professionals completed by the Marijuana Business Daily reportedly indicate that the cannabis industry already employs 100,000 to 150,000 workers annually.
"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 Dale Sky Jones, Executive Chancellor of Oaksterdam University, where potential marijuana workers can train in the industry, the L.A. Times reports. "A U.S. appeals court recently decided unanimously that the federal government may not prosecute people who grow and distribute medical marijuana if they comply with state laws. While this ruling currently affects states within the 9th Circuit, the decision will influence other circuits across the country. This is huge, as it is very likely that more people will now feel safer about entering the cannabis industry."
Interestingly, the legal cannabis industry employs about the same number of people as there are flight attendants in the United States. MJ Biz Daily reports that as more states join in legalizing cannabis in some form, the employment will be fueled further.
"In 2016 alone, ballot measures in half-a-dozen states are in place to legalize either medical or recreational marijuana this fall, with several more states still fighting to get on this year's ballot.In addition to creating more jobs, when states legalize medical cannabis, a reduced rate of opioid overdoses is witnessed, a previous Inquisitr report indicated.
"If even a handful of these measures pass, industry job growth will soar.
"California – one of the states that will be voting to legalize recreational marijuana this year – is a particularly big prize. Already the most populous state in the country, the impact recreational legalization could have on business and employment opportunities is tremendous.
"The industry is also seeing sizable job growth in some mature cannabis states, and new markets such as Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania will come online soon, further fueling employment."
[Featured Image by SEASTOCK/Shutterstock]