Because marijuana is prohibited on a federal level, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics cannot count cannabis jobs made legal by a growing majority of states. However, since 2017, Leafly and Whitney Economics, a cannabis data research firm, have collaborated to conduct a yearly analysis of employment in the legal cannabis industry.
In 2002, the Leafly Jobs Report found that almost half a million full-time jobs were supported by the legalization of cannabis as of January 2022. The report also states that in 2021 the cannabis industry gained on average 280 jobs per day.
Wide Range of Jobs
According to the report, the 428,059 reported “include direct cannabis jobs like cultivation and retail sales—what are often called ‘plant-touching jobs’—as well as indirect ancillary jobs that serve licensed companies or depend on legal cannabis sales. Ancillary jobs include work in accounting, human resources, legal affairs, regulatory compliance, security, maintenance, and construction. Also included are indirect jobs in cannabis media, technology platforms, public relations, lobbying, non-cannabis product suppliers, and industry associations.”
Steady Rise in Jobs
Since 2017, when Leafly and Whitney Economics began to report cannabis jobs in the U.S., they have found a steady increase in the number of cannabis-related jobs. Over that time, cannabis jobs have increased at least 27% per year. 2021 increased the cannabis job rate by a whopping 33%.
“California remains the nation’s leading cannabis employer, with $5.1 billion in 2021 sales supporting 83,607 jobs. After a 64% growth spurt in 2020, the state’s cannabis market eased into a more moderate 15% revenue gain in 2021.”
With more states on target to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2022, cannabis-related jobs are sure to continue the trend of steadily increasing. That is good news for industry workers and the economy on a grander scale.