Legal Marijuana Industry Estimated to Produce 200,000 New Jobs in 2015

By McCarton Ackerman 01/06/15

The growing industry has created a demand for budtenders, extraction technicians, and dispensary managers.


As the legal marijuana industry continues to grow across the country and more states continue to legalize it, some pot advocates believe that it could create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and bring major money into the economy.  

A recent press release from CannaInsider estimated that the legal marijuana industry will create 200,000 new jobs in 2015. By 2020, they predict the combined sales of the medical and legal marijuana markets to reach $21 billion. Some of the new job titles produced by the legal marijuana industry include budtender, cannabis attorney, and security consultant.

“Jobs are just the beginning,” declared CannaInsider. “A cultural shift towards the cannabis plant is taking place.”  

The legal marijuana industry in Colorado created 10,000 jobs this year, but the predictions from CannaInsider are still a steep hike from those numbers. However, other recent estimates have predicted that this industry could be worth as much as $35 billion by 2020. But with upcoming legalization efforts in Arizona, California, Nevada and Maine still up in the air, and other states also considering the possibility, the numbers are impossible to accurately predict at this point.  

California’s cannabis alone has been estimated to be worth $31 billion by some analysts. Meanwhile, Colorado sold just under $250 million of retail cannabis between January and October 2014, in addition to $325 million in medical sales. The state collected $2 million in retail pot taxes from legal marijuana sales in January alone and is expected to rake in $40 million from it by this summer. More than $14 million worth of retail marijuana was sold throughout that month.  

The first $40 million in these taxes have already been earmarked for the construction of schools throughout Colorado. Gov. John Hickenlooper has proposed using the additional revenue afterwards to promote substance abuse treatment and anti-drug campaigns geared towards young people, in addition to the current campaign to discourage users from driving while high.

 The state spent $1 million earlier this year to launch a “Drive High,Get a DUI” ad campaign.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.