The words “marijuana” and “jobs” are found together often these days, with research groups tripping over themselves to release new projections on how many marijuana-related jobs will be created.
That’s all interesting. But what’s even more impressive are the actual marijuana-related jobs numbers. As of the end of 2018, most experts agree the marijuana industry already employs between 125,000 and 160,000 people in the United States. That’s already people employed in cannabis than there are librarians or detectives.
Now, Canada is offering a glimpse of what can happen when marijuana is legal across an entire country.
Falling Unemployment Rate in Canada
In November, Canada released its most recent unemployment figures. They were notable because the rate had dropped 0.2%. They were even more notable because that’s the lowest unemployment rate in Canada since 1976.
The government agency Statistics Canada, which released the numbers, paid a great deal of attention to the nascent marijuana industry. They noted that most of the growth in jobs came from private industry as government and self-employed numbers stayed about the same.
The reported credited cannabis-related jobs as “a budding source of employment.”
They reported that while 58% of the cannabis jobs were in the agriculture industry, there also has been a rapid gain in marijuana-related jobs in educational services, healthcare and retail.
Canada legalized recreational marijuana in October, so the country is just in the beginning phases of the industry. But already, there are 10,400 marijuana-related jobs. That’s a 266% increase over this time last year.
Other interesting facts from the report:
- The average hourly wage for cannabis industry employees ($29.58) is higher than the national average ($27.03).
- More men than women worked in these jobs (79% vs. 21%)
- The median age of cannabis industry employees is 35, younger than the median age for those working in other industries (40).
- Almost all the cannabis industry employees had full-time jobs and permanent positions.
Ontario has the most cannabis workers. Almost half of all cannabis workers in the country are employed in Ontario, which is home to Toronto.
The report also noted that the job growth trend in marijuana-related employment moved up steadily throughout 2018. With demand outstripping supply in many areas, it’s expected that the trend will continue into 2019.
It’s worth noting that Statistics Canada already has projected that the amount of legal marijuana purchases in Canada will reach $816 million to $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 alone.
CNBC notes that the marijuana industry has created completely new jobs in Canada and the U.S. They include director of cultivation, budtender, dispensary manager, director of extraction and trimmer.