The cannabis industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. It is helping to invigorate local and state economies across the nation and has proven itself to be an essential service as deemed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This notion was all but confirmed this week when new data revealed the legal marijuana industry now supports 321,000 full-time jobs in America.
The Leafly Jobs Report shines a light on the explosive career growth the cannabis sector has seen in recent years. The number of people with full-time equivalent (FTE) positions within the space, including in both plant-touching and ancillary companies, jumped by almost 200,000 since 2017. There are now more people working in cannabis than electrical engineers, dentists, and paramedics to name just a few of the careers the industry has surpassed.
In 2020, the industry added over 77,000 jobs – even in the wake of a pandemic that devastated the economy and shuttered businesses throughout the nation. Cannabis sales remained steadfast throughout the coronavirus crisis, with more people consuming than ever before. Americans spent roughly $18.3 billion on legal marijuana products last year, a 71% jump from 2019.
Diversity and inclusion remain an issue in the booming industry, particularly in leadership, as confirmed in the report. African-Americans make up 13% of the national population, but only 1.2% to 1.7% of all cannabis business owners are Black. This stark contrast highlights the racial disparity plaguing the supply chain and is yet another perfect example of why equity is a must.
As legalization continues to spread across the nation (and perhaps even federally), it is all but certain job growth in the cannabis sector will continue to climb. The global industry is projected to be worth $90.4 billion within five years, with the United States poised to be a huge portion of the market.
The positive economic impact cannabis has on communities is an argument proponents of legalization say cannot be ignored. The Leafly Jobs Report is yet another piece of evidence sure to be an important part of advocacy efforts throughout the country.