At an average of 280 new jobs created each day, the legal cannabis industry is the most prolific job creator in the country, according to Leafly’s sixth annual cannabis jobs report. More than 428,000 people work in, or in support of, the industry as of January 2022, an increase of 33% over the previous year and the fifth consecutive year of annual job growth greater than 27%.
There are now more cannabis workers in America than firefighters, hair stylists and insurance salespeople, and three times as many cannabis workers than dentists, according to the report.
“In 2021, someone was hired for a cannabis-supported job about every two minutes of the workday,” reads the report, produced in partnership with Whitney Economics. “No other industry in America can match that.”
The 428,059 jobs include “plant-touching” jobs like cultivation and retail sales as well as ancillary jobs that serve licensed companies or depend on legal cannabis sales, such as accounting, human resources, legal affairs, compliance, security, maintenance and construction. Also included are indirect jobs in cannabis media, technology, public relations, lobbying, non-cannabis product suppliers and industry associations. It does not include hemp jobs.
Leafly’s research shows that America’s 11 operating adult-use markets and 27 medical states combined sold just under $25 billion worth of cannabis products in 2021 — more than $6 billion more than the previous year, when the industry supported about 321,000 jobs. The company projects cannabis sales will reach $45 billion by 2025.
California has the most cannabis jobs by far with 83,607. Colorado was second at 38,337, followed by 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).
In the next 18 months, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York are expected to get their legal markets up and running, creating even more jobs. Looking ahead, the report forecasts total employment potential in a mature U.S. legal cannabis market will be approximately 1.5 to 1.75 million workers.