The Cannabis Industry is America's #1 Job Creator

Leafly's fourth annual report shows that the cannabis industry is still adding tens of thousands of jobs each year.

As cannabis legalization continues to grow and spread throughout the globe, the industry is shedding many of the myths about marijuana that were propagated by the War on Drugs. Cannabis is no longer considered to be a drug that induces murderous inclinations and hallucinations, as the Reefer Madness propaganda tried to convey.

The notion that cannabis makes you a predator is now laughable, and as legalization begins to snowball, even the idea that weed makes you lazy is proving to be false too.

How do we know this? Well, just take a look at Leafly's latest jobs report.

The report, which is released annually, outlines that by January 2020, the cannabis industry supported 243,700 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs, representing a 15% year-over-year increase.

This rate of job growth, Leafly explains, makes the cannabis industry the fastest-growing job market in the United States.

Cannabis Job Growth leafly
Source: Leafly

Leafly began tracking job growth in 2017, just over two years ago, and in that time the jobs within the cannabis space have nearly doubled, jumping from 122,800 to 243,700 jobs by 2020.

The biggest employer in the US cannabis space is unsurprisingly California, which generated 39,804 jobs in 2019, recording $2.03 billion in legal sales throughout the year.

Though on a per-capita basis, California is outshined by Colorado, which employs one person in cannabis for every 165 residents in the state compared to California's one cannabis job for every 980 residents. Colorado brought in $1.77 billion in cannabis sales, with over 34,700 residents now earning a living through the cannabis industry.

Furthermore, in just shy of 6 years, Colorado has brought in over USD $1 billion in tax revenue from the cannabis industry. On the boon that cannabis has brought to Colorado, the Governor of the state, Jared Polis said, "It's going very well. … It's creating tens of thousands of jobs, tax revenue for the state, filling up buildings for landlords and reducing crime."

According to the report, "Massachusetts now has more legal cannabis workers than hairstylists and cosmetologists. Nevada has as many cannabis workers as bartenders. Illinois has twice as many cannabis workers as meatpackers."

Additionally, when one looks closer, the 15% increase in U.S. cannabis jobs throughout 2019 was actually a slower growth than in prior years, as legal states saw a 62% increase in cannabis jobs from 2018 to 2019.

Part of this slowed growth, the report states, can be attributed to a number of factors, primarily the capital crunch in 2019 and the EVALI vaping crisis which both shocked consumer sentiments.

Leafly mentions that cannabis job growth isn't effectively documented by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), as cannabis jobs are classified as "Miscellaneous Store Retailers" which includes "art supply stores, auction houses, candle shops, florists, and hot tub stores."

In response to the inefficiency of NAICS's classification system surrounding cannabis, Leafly compiles information provided by MPG Consulting, Whitney Economics, BDS Analytics, New Frontier Data, Vangst, Headset, and state regulatory agencies.

Clearly, despite some hurdles faced by the industry throughout 2019, it's going to take a lot more than that to slow the momentous growth of the cannabis industry as regulations continue to be torn down, and jobs and profits continue to rise.

In fact, the global cannabis industry is set to grow so large that Grand View Research predicts the market will reach USD 66.3 billion by the end of 2025.

This is a space you'll want to pay very close attention to.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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