Rod McClelland used to be a barber. Then, he trained to be a glass cutter. But he never would have guessed where his cutting skills would take him next.
“I went from cutting hair, to cutting glass, to cutting buds,” he says.
McClelland, 42, trims marijuana flowers full time in Desert Hot Springs, a California town that has fully embraced the legal pot industry. And he’s one of thousands of people employed by cannabis businesses today in the United States.
When McClelland told his old barbershop buddies in Long Beach about his new scissor slinging gig, they had one big question.
“They were like, ‘How can I get into the business?’” he said.
The number of people employed by the cannabis industry is set to triple from 200,000 to 630,000 people by the year 2025, according to New Frontier Data.
These workers are entry-level hires like McClelland, trying out the marijuana business for the first time. They’re experienced growers overseeing hundreds of plants. They’re chefs concocting pot-infused candies and pastries.
That’s to say nothing of the thousands of workers that depend on the pot industry for their livelihoods even if they never touch the plant, like security guards that watch over pot shops and lawyers that have built a practice around the legal trade.
Marijuana proponents believe pot businesses can employ workers that are being laid off as the nation’s manufacturing and retail employment shrinks. Unions like the Teamsters see the marijuana industry as a promising source of new recruits.
And after President Donald J. Trump signaled his approval of the industry in April, marijuana employment seems poised for even more growth. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era policies protecting state-legal marijuana companies in January, earlier this month Trump assured a Colorado lawmaker that the federal government will respect state law on pot – easing fears of a federal crackdown.
Legal weed, job creator
You can already find a job in the marijuana business in about half of all U.S. states. And the industry is growing across the country.