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Annual Leafly Report Shows US Cannabis Industry Supports 428,059 Jobs

The 2022 job report from Leafly explores the newest data on cannabis jobs, which provides an in-depth look at the cannabis industry’s most recent data, as well as predictions for the future.

Leafly’s 2022 Jobs Report was released in conjunction with Whitney Economics on February 23. According to the report, approximately 428.059 jobs were supported by legal cannabis (as at January 2022). This covers a wide variety of cannabis-related roles, from “plant-touching” jobs such as cultivation and retail sales, to ancillary jobs such as accounting, legal affairs, security, or construction. There has been a significant increase in the number of jobs since previous years. The latest job data includes 321,000 jobs for 2021; 237,700 jobs for 2020; 211,000 for 2019; 149.300 jobs 2018; and 122,800 in 2017, which was the first year to release this report.

“In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s cannabis industry sold nearly $25 billion in products and created more than 107,000 new jobs—enough to fill the Rose Bowl and then some,” the report states in its introduction. “That’s a 33 percent increase in jobs in a single year. This is also the fifth consecutive year with an annual increase in job creation greater than 27%. It is unmatched in America. Last year, America’s legal cannabis industry created more than 280 new jobs every day. In 2021, someone was hired for a cannabis-supported job about every two minutes of the work day.” The report also provides other means of comparison to put things into perspective, including how there are three times as many cannabis workers as there are dentists in the U.S. and that there are more people working in cannabis than there are a combined total of hair stylists, barbers, and cosmetologists.

This report breaks down 10 top cannabis markets to work in, including California and Colorado. However, the report also recommends that if you’re looking to relocate for a cannabis job, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, and New York are full of possibilities for various listed reasons, such as the potential of specific markets that are new or beginning soon, or mature markets with a competing illegal market.

The report’s authors predict that the numbers will continue to increase in coming years. But, there are still many opportunities for growth. “In the eight years since the nation’s first adult-use cannabis stores opened, the industry has created hundreds of thousands of new American jobs. Many more jobs are yet to be created. Whitney Economics calculates that the 2021 total cannabis sales figure—just under $25 billion—represents only about 25 percent of the total potential US cannabis market,” the report states. It continues by saying that 75 percent of the cannabis industry’s demand is being satisfied by illegal cultivation and sales, and it is estimated that by 2025, the cannabis industry could be worth up to $45 billion.

This data continues to be an important milestone to track the industry’s growth, even amidst the historical job loss that occurred during the pandemic. Morgan Fox, NORML political director, said that the future seems bright. “At a time when the rest of the economy is struggling and people are leaving their jobs in droves, the legal cannabis industry is blooming, showing exponential employment growth, and attracting talented and driven individuals from across the workforce,” said Fox. “Yet, outdated federal laws define these same people as criminals and as a result, they are frequently denied access to banking services, housing, education, international travel, and citizenship. It is long past time for Congress to end prohibition and start treating this robust regulated market like any other industry.”