U.S. Legal Cannabis Industry Supports 321,000 Full-Time Jobs

Stephen Andrews
13 Aug 2021

The number of jobs has doubled since 2018.

In 2021, the cannabis sector supports a record-high 321,000 full-time American jobs across 37 states with a regulated market for medical or recreational products, according to a report from Leafly. 

The cannabis industry added 77,300 jobs during last year, which is a 32% increase in year-over-year growth, making the sector the fastest-growing job generator in the US. 

Amidst the turmoil of the pandemic, the cannabis sector remained a steady ground where new jobs were created. As many states went on to declare cannabis essential business, these businesses not only hired people but also drove a record-high $18.3 billion worth of cannabis product sales in 2021, which represents a 71% increase over 2019. 

Companies such as Green Leaf Medical in Maryland, Cresco Labs in Illinois, or AltMed in Florida almost doubled their operations and their workforce. 

The nationwide success of cannabis businesses prompted five additional states to legalize cannabis so they can also have a regulated market and benefit from cannabis tax. 

Jobs in the sector also come with attractive salaries. According to a salary survey published in April 2019 in Marijuana Business Magazine, entry-level positions in the sector were most of the time paid above the average compared to other industries. 

For comparison, a budtender is a higher-paying job than a bartender or pharmacy aide. Trimmers are better-paid than other gardening professions, as are those working with edibles compared to bakers, general food processors, or cooking machine operators. A weed-testing intern, which is an internship position, can earn close to $1000 per month

Manufacturing cannabis products is only one niche of jobs. An array of other positions remain for those who specialize in management, marketing, sales, or design. 

And while 2020 was remarkable in terms of how many new jobs were created, the trend is not going to stop any time soon. 

According to Karson Humiston, founder and CEO of cannabis recruiting company Vangst, this year "is going to be the blockbuster year for cannabis hiring," he told Cheddar News. 

"2021 is where we're going to see tremendous job growth, and we think it's going to be the biggest job creation year the cannabis industry has ever seen," Vangst said. 

Stephen Andrews