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Marijuana industry booming; 250K new jobs expected by 2020

Posted at 2:14 PM, Dec 18, 2018

Marijuana and the perception of it have come a long way-- from Cheech and Chong to a booming business in many parts of the country.

"I never in a million years thought this would be my career, but here we are," says Julia Sepulveda.

Sepulveda keeps track of inventory at Denver’s marijuana dispensary Medicine Man. She's worked in cannabis for the last decade.

"You don't tend to last too long if you just want to relax and just enjoy the cannabis,” she says. “There's a lot of work to it. A lot of working pieces, and we constantly have changing compliance when it comes to state and local jurisdictions and everything."

Zip Recruiter says last year, the number of job openings in marijuana increased by 445 percent.

Sally Vander Veer runs Medicine Man, which employs 85 people.

"I look for people who are reliable, people who will show up to work on time, people who are friendly and easy to work with, Vander Veer says.

"It's not folks who used to be on the street of folks, who used to play video games all day finally coming and getting a job. We're talking about people with degrees in marketing, accounting, MBAs, you name it, we've got a lot of people here who are college educated."

According to New Frontier Data, the marijuana industry is expected to create 250,000 jobs across the country by 2020.

"We’re contributing to the economy,” Vander Veer says. “We're hiring folks who may not be able to get a job elsewhere, because of the drug testing."

There are entry-level jobs like the position of Budtender, who sell the product in front. There are also the Trimmers, who remove the buds from the plant. They can earn you around minimum wage.

For more qualified people on the higher end, there are jobs like Master Grower, which can earn you as much as $250,000 by keeping watch over the precise science of growing cannabis.

"It definitely takes care of me and my family,” Sepulveda says. “We have a son. We are both working parents and got to pay for daycare and everything, so we're definitely both taken care of."

Legal marijuana is an $8.5 billion business, one that’s been growing and doesn't seem to be looking back.