Marijuana Jobs Now Outnumber Those in These Other Classic Industries

A worker carries marijuana at a growing facility
A worker carries marijuana at a growing facility. | Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

If you’ve ever considered working in the cannabis trade, there’s never been a better time to do it. Marijuana jobs — along with a few others — are growing at a fast and furious pace. Though the industry is still incredibly young, cannabis companies are hiring more and more people. It’s something many people never thought they’d see — an actual, economically viable marijuana industry on American soil.
Even if you don’t want to work directly with actual cannabis, there’s a place for you. The cannabis trade is like any other. It needs people of all stripes, with a variety of skills and abilities. That includes bud tenders to engage and help customers, accountants, and actuaries. Suffice it to say, no matter your skill set, you can probably adapt it for the pot industry.
And according to data from Marijuana Business Daily, the job growth and raw number of jobs is now above and beyond that of many other industries. That includes more traditional jobs, industries, and trades.
What this means is you might have a better chance of working with marijuana than you do of cutting hair or becoming a lumberjack. With marijuana becoming newly white-listed in many states (yet still federally illegal), there’s lots of room for growth.
So how many jobs are we talking about, exactly?

American marijuana jobs

A man works with marijuana.
A man works with marijuana. | Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

Before we dig into the jobs and industries being outpaced by the growing legal marijuana trade, we’ll establish a baseline. Just how many jobs are there in the marijuana industry’s current form? According to the data supplied by Marijuana Business Daily, the estimate is between 165,000 and 230,000.
“The estimates — published in the newly released¬†Marijuana Business Factbook 2017¬† — include employment data for retailers, wholesale grows, infused products/concentrates companies, testing labs, and ancillary firms,” the report stated.¬†“Employment figures were calculated using a variety of methodologies, including the use of survey data regarding the average number of employees for each type of company in the industry.”
The report also states “that information was then applied to the estimated number of companies in each sector to arrive at a rough idea of how many employees work in the industry. Only ancillary companies that glean a sizable portion of their revenue from the marijuana industry are included in these employment figures.”
Using the range of 165,000 to 230,000 as a starting point, let’s explore which jobs are employing fewer people than the legal pot trade.

1. Massage therapists

Therapists at work
Therapists at work | karelnoppe

Using cannabis is one way to relax, and another is getting a massage. Well, there are now fewer massage therapists in America than there are cannabis workers. According to the Marijuana Business Daily data, which drew from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 169,000 massage therapists compared to the 165,000 to 230,000 working with marijuana.

2. Bakers

A baker prepares bread.
A baker prepares bread. |

“Get baked” is probably the first thing that comes to mind when discussing marijuana and baking. But in this case, it’s the surprising revelation that there are more professional pot workers than there are professional bakers in America. Per the data, there are 185,000 bakers at work in the U.S. That’s near the low end of the estimated number of cannabis jobs.

3. Dental hygienists

Dental professionals examine X-rays.
Dental professionals examine X-rays. |

The final job included on the Marijuana Business Daily chart is a dental hygienist. The ranks of dental hygienists are set to be overtaken by marijuana workers very soon. According to the data, 201,000 hygienists are employed in the U.S., which is smack in the middle of the estimated number of pot jobs.
For the following jobs, we went looked at other popular professions that now employ fewer people than the marijuana industry. These weren’t included on the Marijuana Business Daily chart, but they apply nonetheless.

4. Coal miners

Mining equipment
Mining jobs are dwindling. |

Given all the talk about coal jobs and coal miners lately, we felt it fair to include the trade on this list. We know coal jobs are disappearing, and there are around 53,000 left, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are two main things to blame: natural gas production and technology. Now, compare that to the number of marijuana jobs out there, and you find there are around three to four times as many pot workers as there are coal miners.

5. Barbers

hairbrushes and scissors
There aren’t that many barbers in the country. | Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Barbers are making a bit of a comeback as of late, as one of many old-fashioned trades finding new life in the 21st-century economy. But there still isn’t all that many of them, and marijuana jobs already outnumber them. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, there are more than 650,000 barbers, hairdressers, and cosmetologists nationwide. But whittling that down to barbers only? We land with roughly around the same number of cannabis industry employees.

6. Journalists

Reporter. Taking notes
A reporter takes notes. |

You’d think with all of that “fake news” the current administration has been complaining about there would be an influx of journalism jobs. But that’s not the case. In fact, journalism is going through a transition period, with many traditional journalists being shown the door as the industry evolves. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows only 54,400 reporters and correspondents left, and that number is shrinking.

7. Chefs

Chef Thomas Keller gives a tour of the kitchen
Chef Thomas Keller gives a tour of the kitchen at Starwood Preferred Guest’s Gourmet Experience of a Lifetime. | Rob Kim/Getty Images

Head cooks or chefs have been around forever. They’re kitchen bosses, and just about every restaurant or eatery has one. But there isn’t all that many when you look at the raw data. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are fewer than 128,000 chefs, though that number is growing at roughly 9%. Still, it doesn’t hold up to the number of people working in the legal marijuana industry.

8. Commercial pilots

Pilot in cockpit
Pilot in the cockpit | Duda

You could say the cannabis industry is piloting the economy in a brave new direction. And it’s even overtaken one classic profession: airline pilots. Per the data, there are fewer than 120,000 commercial pilots in the U.S., though that number is set to grow. Still, it’s a smaller group than those who work in the marijuana industry.
There’s a joke in there somewhere about getting high on the job in both industries, but we’ll leave it on the table.

9. Loggers

Lumberjacks | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Many traditional professions are dying, and logging is among them. Though we’ll always need loggers to some degree, there just aren’t as many of them as there used to be. Add in technology and automation, and their numbers have whittled even further. As a result, there are more marijuana workers than lumberjacks. According to the government data, there are only 53,700 loggers left.

10. Fishermen

A commercial fisherman
A commercial fisherman | Chris Furlong/Getty Images

If you were surprised by how few loggers there are, the number of commercial fishermen will raise your eyebrows, too. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are only 28,400 people working in the fishing and hunting trades, with those numbers set to decline. So it would probably be easier for you to get a job working in the marijuana industry than on a fishing boat.
What a time to be alive.