Cannabis Industry Jobs Now Number More Than 400,000

The number of legal cannabis industry jobs has reached 428,059 in the United States. In 2021 alone, the industry added 107,000 jobs, a 33 percent increase over 2020. That also translates into 280 new cannabis industry jobs per day.

Those numbers come from the latest cannabis industry jobs report from Leafly, done in conjunction with Whitney Economics. The report shows that the number of cannabis industry jobs, including some that require people earn a college degree, has increased from 122,800 in 2017. That’s a 3 ½ times increase in just five years.

“No other industry in America can match that,” the report stated.

Types of Cannabis Industry Jobs

The report includes “plant-touching” jobs in cultivation and retail sales. It also counts ancillary jobs created by the cannabis industry, including those who work in accounting, human resources, legal affairs, regulatory compliance, security, maintenance and construction. The report also includes indirect jobs such as those in cannabis media, technology platforms, public relations, lobbying, non-cannabis product suppliers and industry associations.

However, it does not include jobs in the hemp industry, which provides many of the CBD products that have exploded in popularity in recent years. It also does not consider induced jobs, which are jobs created in other industries by cannabis workers spending their salaries.

To put the 107,000 new jobs in the cannabis industry into perspective, the report states that two of the nation’s biggest sectors, financial and construction, added 145,000 and 165,000 jobs, respectively.

Comparisons to Other Industries

The report also provided a list of careers that now have fewer workers in the United States than the cannabis industry.

  • Firefighters
  • Hair stylists, barbers
  • Machinists
  • Insurance sales agents
  • Bank tellers

Also, the number of people working in the cannabis industry almost equals the number of people employed as plumbers and pipefitters (451,390).

For those searching for cannabis jobs, the state with the most is California, with 83,607. That’s far more than the state in second place, Colorado (38,337). The other states on the list of the Top 10 states for cannabis jobs are Michigan (31,152), Illinois (28,992), Massachusetts (27,212), Pennsylvania (26,932), Florida (25,895), Arizona (23,333), Washington (22,516) and Oregon (19,938).

While they both rank among the states with the most cannabis jobs, neither Florida nor Pennsylvania have yet to legalize adult use marijuana.

The report estimates that sales in 2021 – almost $25 billion – represents only about 25 percent of the potential cannabis market in the U.S. With states such as New Jersey, New Mexico and Connecticut beginning legal sales systems soon, the report projects that “America’s cannabis job creation boom is expected to continue through at least 2025.”

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