(ANTIMEDIA) — As the trend of cannabis legalization continues to sweep the country, the number of jobs in the industry has exploded, growing exponentially just from 2016 to 2017.
According to a report from ZipRecruiter, an online job platform that also analyzes employment trends, “the total number of industry job posts increased by 445% in 2017, compared to an increase of just 18% one year prior.”
They attribute this to the plant now being legal in some form (either recreational or medical) in 29 states and Washington, D.C., highlighting that the gains have consistently been greater than ever-growing industries like tech and healthcare.
“Year over year growth of job posts in the cannabis industry is outpacing both tech (254% growth) and healthcare (70% growth)— by some reports, there are 14% more legal marijuana workers than there are dental hygienists in the U.S,” ZipRecruiter noted (it’s worth noting that some of the gains are likely coming from existing jobs that were previously in the black market but are now counted as new upon entering the economy).
The job gains are largely for small and medium-sized businesses and were particularly high for the fourth quarter of 2017, which is likely because employers in California were preparing for legalization, which went into effect January 1 of this year.
Los Angeles had the highest number of job listings, followed by Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and Miami (Florida recently approved a medical cannabis program, though patients have launched a lawsuit over its restrictiveness).
The industry growth aligns with previous data from recent years showing that in Colorado, cannabis jobs have outpaced those in successful industries like clean energy.
Further, ZipRecruiter acknowledged not only that legalizing cannabis create jobs, but also that it “create[s] a safer and more stable market for medical and recreational users.”
The report also cited previous data from New Frontier, a firm focused on the cannabis industry, suggesting that if the federal government legalized cannabis, 782,000 jobs would be created immediately, a figure that would likely reach 1.1 million by 2025.
At the end of 2017, the cannabis market was expected to have generated nearly $10 billion by the end of that year, and analysts predict it will hit $24.5 billion by 2021 despite continued prohibition at the federal level.