Most of the cannabis consumed in California is still bought on the black market, but as more licensed businesses emerge, the marijuana industry is expected to be a job machine in San Diego.
While many traditional retailers are seeing business drop, the story is much different at marijuana storefronts like San Diego Recreational Cannabis (SDRC) in Mission Valley.
“Employment in the cannabis industry is huge,” said Osvaldo Rodriguez, manager at SDRC.
Rodriguez, a former welder, now leads 30 retail employees at SDRC, and expects is staff to keep growing. Besides storefront employees, there are many other workers who are indirectly benefiting from marijuana sales.
“Security (guards) has to be not just at the retail business, but any manufacturing or cultivation facilities,” said Rodriguez. “You have distributors, then you have delivery. We also have custodial service.”
Jobs in the cannabis industry are now found on mainstream job search sites. The positions range in pay, from minimum wage to six-figure salaries.
“In San Diego, we have 40 marijuana facilities that have been licensed and we have 22 conditional use permits granted for retailers, but not all of those are open at this point,” said Dallin Young from the Association of Cannabis Professionals. "Once they open, we’re looking at 1,000 or 2,000 new jobs.”
620 cannabis shops have been licensed in the state of California.
The government doesn’t have statistics on cannabis jobs, but zip recruiter estimates there are 200,000 to 300,000 marijuana-related jobs nationwide. After legalization, the city of San Diego has collected more than $6.3 million in cannabis taxes.
As more people enter the legitimate weed industry pot will become a larger part of San Diego’s economic engine.
There are still several cities in San Diego County that ban marijuana businesses. As the industry expands, it is expected there will be more demand for high paying positions like chemists, software engineers, and marketers.