Say what you will about the morality of marijuana, now that 21 U.S. states — and the District of Columbia — have passed some type of pot-friendly legalization, selling weed is big business.
Medicinal and recreational pot sales could bring in ridonculous revenues and taxes. Colorado, for instance, is expecting an 18-month boost of more than $600 million, according to CNNMoney. The state of Washington is expecting $190 million in fees and taxes between 2015 and 2019, the Huffington Post reports.
And the emerging marijuanaconomy is creating new jobs.
The cannabis industry "is predicted to grow by 64 percent, to over $2 billion, in 2014," according to the pro-weed website High Times. "Reports also predict that 14 more states will likely legalize marijuana for adult recreational use by 2018, potentially creating upwards of a $10 billion marijuana industry in the United States." And a marijuana industry job site, 420 Careers, reports exponential demand for marijuana-related employment.
People waited for hours in lines at a recent marijuana job fair, according to Facebook posts.
Others see opportunities. "College students facing more costly tuition see employment opportunities in cultivation and distribution," says Josh Meisel, co-director of the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research and co-author of a new study of young people in Northern California — a region known for pot cultivation — College Students Working In The Marijuana Industry. "Though this is likely the first study to quantitatively describe the extent of student cannabis-related employment, I would expect that we would find similar, if not greater rates of student cannabis-related employment were we to replicate the study in states which have legalized cannabis."
To be sure, federal law prohibits marijuana production. But some states exhibit more lenience. Recreational participation is legal in Colorado and Washington. In California, the Humboldt study points out, "a person may produce marijuana for themselves or others for medical purposes."
Based on more than 500 responses, the study by the institute at Humboldt State University identified a dozen paid marijuana-related jobs in Northern California alone. But there are additional new jobs in other states as well. In fact, the Cannabis Career Institute promotes seminars in cities across America to guide people who want to work in the budding industry.
"The US marijuana industry is developing quicker than any other industry. The rapid growth is generating hundreds of new jobs," Dan Kingston, president of 420 Careers, said on High Times.
And there is no telling what sort of professions — medical, legal, financial — will be created in the future as the result of changing attitudes toward pot.
But for now, here are 13 jobs — a baker's dozen — for people looking to join the growing industry:
1. Budtender ... to deal with partakers. Like a bartender, wine sommelier or pharmacist, the budtender listens to the customer and recommends the appropriate strain. In a video on the CCI site, "Bud Whisperer" Jason Scoby speaks to aspiring budtenders about assessing certain aspects of cannabis, such as "how the pods break apart ... the color of hairs ... and powder mold." Powder mold, he points out, can be harmful.
2. Marijuana Journalist ... to cover the budding economy. While traditional editing and reporting jobs are going up in smoke, news sites in Colorado and Washington are hoping to attract new readers — and weeders — by expanding their coverage.
3. Grow Site Owner/Operator ... is involved in "making decisions about all aspects of production including location, hiring workers, fertilizer and supply acquisition, processing, sales, and distribution. Owners receive the net profits after paying all the costs of growing the marijuana. Operators receive a share of the net profits," according to the Humboldt report.
4. Edibles Producer ... creates cannabis products you can eat.
5. Trimmer ... harvests and processes "the cannabis plant from large, leafy, flowery stalks into small, individual, dried buds," the Humboldt report explains. "The work is sticky, tedious labor. Trimmers are paid hourly or by weight of finished product processed. Compensation is in the form of cash and/or cannabis."
6. Salesperson ... involves getting the cannabis from producer to customer, the report states. "Compensation is earned through markup from wholesale price."
7.Petitioner ... gathers signatures on pro-cannabis petitions for advocacy groups, such as Democracy Resources.
8. Packaging and Flower Cure Person ... organizes inventory. The position, posted on 420 Careers by Giving Tree Wellness Center near Phoenix, "is not for extremely social people, as you are in a small room with only a few people each day."
9. Collective Member Relationship Specialist ... will act as a liaison for medical marijuana delivery services, such as Papa Ganja in California.
10. Marijuana Educator ... to teach people about the medicinal aspects of pot for groups such as Medical Marijuana Tampa in Florida.
11. Extraction Technician ... to help make infused products. For example, EZchemconsulting is looking for extracters on the Cannajobs message board.
13. Cannabis Librarian ... I don't really know anything more about this, man, but I think I saw it on some lady's chyron while watching Al-Jazeera America with the sound off.
The Protojournalist: Experimental storytelling for the LURVers – Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers – of NPR. @NPRtpj