Could your next job be in the legal marijuana industry? It's already the fastest-growing business in the U.S. and is expected to generate $10.8 billion in sales in 2019, a huge increase from $2.7 billion seen in 2014, according to Arcview Market Research.
About two dozen states have legalized medical marijuana. Colorado, Alaska, Washington State and Washington, D.C., permit recreational use of cannabis. Support for decriminalization of pot also is surging. A recent survey by Pew found that 54 percent of Americans support the idea.
This growth has fueled a hiring boom. Colorado's industry alone has created 10,000 jobs, according to one report. Thousands more may come on line as the industry continues to evolve. However, recruiters caution that the industry isn't for everyone, and they've offered CBS MoneyWatch advice for job-seekers that might "harsh the mellow" of some.
Pay: Most marijuana companies are in startup mode and are small. Therefore, they can't afford to pay high salaries, particularly to those in upper management positions. Stephen Sullivan, the owner of Ms. Mary Staffing, tells MoneyWatch that applicants from industries like technology should expect to take a pay cut. That view was backed up by Danielle Schumacher , co-founder of THC Staffing, and Kara Bradford, chief talent officer of Viridian Staffing. "Everbody is a startup at this point," Bradford said.
Insecurity: Applicants who prize stability might want to find employment elsewhere. Working in the pot business requires people with the ability to roll with the punches. As Schumacher noted: "Typically, there are no internships or job shadowing. The training can only cover so much. You're either going to sink or swim."
Cash rules: Many marijuana business are all-cash enterprises because typical financial institutions are leery about allowing them to open bank accounts given the uncertainty and their legal status. That means employess get paid in cash, which unnerves some applicants because it presents a security risk. "You hear stories about dispensaries in that situation getting robbed or employees getting robbed," Sullivan said.
Cash payrolls also create tax-accounting problems for companies, creating an "increased risk of mistakes and fraud," according to Sullivan, whose company also provides accounting services. Although exact figures are hard to come by, recruiters say many marijuana companies don't offer benefits like health insurance and 401 (k)s, but some are starting to provide them.
Liking the product: Marijuana companies tend to hire employees who enjoy their products -- on their own time. Bradford tells applicants they need to remember they're working in a professional environment.