The state-licensed cannabis industry added over 100,000 new jobs in 2021 and now employs over 428,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by Leafly.com and Whitney Economics.
According to its latest report, the cannabis industry created an average of 280 new jobs per day in 2021. That represents a 33 percent year-over-year increase, and it marks the fifth year in a row of annual jobs growth greater than 27 percent.
“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,” NORML’s Political Director Morgan Fox said. “Yet, outdated federal laws define these same people as criminals and as a result, they are frequently denied access to banking services, housing, education, international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.”
Cannabis-specific jobs are most plentiful in California (83,607), followed by Colorado (38,337), Michigan (31,152), and Illinois (28,992). Several additional states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, are anticipated to begin licensing adult-use marijuana cultivators, manufacturers, and retailers later this year.
“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. … There are more people employed in the cannabis industry than there are hair stylists, barbers, and cosmetologists — combined. … And there are still plenty yet to be created,” the report’s authors concluded. “While legal cannabis now supports 428,059 jobs, the total employment potential in a mature US legal cannabis market is approximately 1.5 million to 1.75 million workers. The economic and employment potential for legal cannabis remains quite bright for many years to come.”
The full text of the report is available online here.