Why People Are Flocking to the Pot Industry: Excitement, Good Pay, and the Chance to Make a Difference

The marijuana industry is easily becoming one of the fastest growing industries in the nation. In California, it’s on the cusp of becoming a behemoth.

In 2017, California had 56,398 people employed in the cannabis sector or related employment, according to cannabis research firm BDS analytics. By 2021, BDS predicts the number of Californians employed by the pot industry will reach nearly 100,000.

Online job search sites are a testimony to marijuana’s economic power. Employment firm ZipRecruiter.com says marijuana job postings increased 693 percent between the last quarter of 2016 and the last quarter of 2017. California, Colorado, and Washington led the way in marijuana job postings.

Money is one reason people want to work in the industry. The pay isn’t too shabby. A medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento is looking for a store manager for $40,000 to $60,000 a year depending on experience. An L.A. cannabis lab says it will pay a new process manager-lab tech $75,000 to $110,000. But what’s really attracting the talent is the chance to work in an exciting, up-and-coming industry.

“It’s uncharted territory,” notes Lara Kaminsky, executive director of the Cannabis Alliance. “They can apply skills they developed in other industries and be more creative. This is an opportunity to really shift the landscape to what a new industry looks like.”

Some are in it for altruistic reasons. With so many purported benefits of medical marijuana -- many yet to be discovered -- budding scientists and researchers want in. A physician who left his practice for the medical marijuana industry after his son was diagnosed with autism says he’s received 1,200 resumes for about five open positions.

As they say, love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.