37 states already have medical programs, but some of them haven't yet started selling weed. And more states are on the horizon.
While adult-use, or recreational, cannabis is becoming legal in more and more states, the medical side of the business (most often referred to as "medical marijuana"), remains far more common across the nation, often acting as a bridge to the adult-use market opening up.
Here's what to know about medical cannabis jobs in 2022:
As of July 2022, 37 states plus Washington, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have medical cannabis programs. Only 19 have adult-use.
That means that the state of medical cannabis jobs in 2022 is strong, and it's about to get stronger — but it's all about where you live, and the pace of government action.
Location, location, location
Take Mississippi for example: The state's governor signed into law a medical cannabis program in February 2022, but as of July, there are still no medical dispensaries open and doing business.
In Alabama, the governor signed similar legislation in June 2021, but there are no dispensaries open.
When those programs open up, businesses will open along with them, and a brand new industry will be created, likely bringing hundreds of medical marijuana jobs to the market. And, of course, the ancillary businesses that service plant-touching companies.
For a recent example of what that could be like, look no further than Florida, which has had a long, complicated road to implementing an effective medical marijuana program. Despite technically being approved by the state legislature in 2017, a ban on inhalable cannabis products stymied the program. In 2019, the law was changed to allow for smokeable products.
So, with just about three years under its belt as a fully operational medical marijuana state, more than 700,000 patients have registered as of April 2022, and the industry supports nearly 26,000 jobs, according to the Leafly Jobs Report.
And then there are the states that don't yet have a medical program, but could soon. Activists in Nebraska just submitted what they hope will be enough signatures to put medical cannabis on the ballot this November.
Meanwhile, in states like Colorado, where the adult-use market is maturing, there's been a steady decline in medical patients, though that trend reversed during the pandemic in what is likely a temporary change.
That doesn't seem to be impacting the availability of jobs, according to Vangst's recruiting team, which has seen medical jobs hold steady.
Getting a medical cannabis job in retail can be more difficult than adult-use
Despite this positive jobs outlook, one thing to keep in mind when considering getting a medical cannabis position is that there is more regulatory compliance that has to be upheld for Medicaid on the retail side.
In addition to the usual duties in an adult-use retail store, medical budtenders have to scrutinize patient registrations, understand increased quantity allowances, understand caregiving regulations, and ensure that product is tracked separately from adult-use product.
And that's where you can count on Vangst to help you understand what you need to know to become licensed in your state, and what the expectations on the job will be. Consult our State Requirements Guide and sign up for a free Vangst account to search jobs and contact our knowledgeable recruiters.
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