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Cannabis jobs pay 11% more than the US median salary, and demand is up 76%

As more states legalize cannabis usage, the industry that provides the drug has gotten a burst of confidence in its long-term prospects and is rapidly expanding.

Job openings rose 76 percent from December 2017 to December 2018, with 1,512 open roles posted in that final month of 2018 alone, according to Glassdoor. Back in 2017, that number was only 858.

The industry’s acceleration doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon either, as this latest upsurge only continues a trend Glassdoor has been observing over the past few years, thanks to loosening restrictions on the drug.

Last year, seven states and Washington D.C. all approved measures changing their stance on cannabis, meaning 33 states and the capital now all allow for either legalized recreational or medical marijuana use. According to an October 2018 Gallup poll, two-thirds of Americans are now in favor of national legalization.

That public support and Canada’s decision to legalize cannabis at a federal level last year seem to be inspiring the industry to make big human resource investments, despite the legal issues it could face on a national level.

“Investment in hiring is one of the strongest indicators for business confidence as it requires a substantial long-term investment of time, effort and money,” wrote Daniel Zhao, an economist and data scientist with Glassdoor, on the company’s blog.

The roles these companies are looking to fill might not be what you expect, either. While they need retail workers to man shops and people to tend the crop, 53 percent of the industry’s opening are for professional or technical workers such as audit assurance managers, product managers and marketing managers.

“As the cannabis industry becomes more legitimate, more and more professional roles will be in demand to help businesses comply with tax laws and regulations and scale into larger markets,” Zhao wrote.

Cannabis workers earn a good wage too — about 11 percent more than the U.S. median salary of $52,863, according to Glassdoor’s December 2018 Local Pay Report. The median paycheck in the industry is $58,511 a year, or $5,648 more than the national figure, though individual salaries can range from $22,326 annually for service jobs all the way up to $215,384 annually for legal professionals.

The most in-demand cannabis jobs tend to be in service or retail — think roles like brand ambassador and sales associate — which each account for 5 percent of available jobs. But that’s mostly because higher level or more technical roles tend to be more varied, making them unlikely to be concentrated under the same title.

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