Leafly’s Annual Jobs Report Says, ‘The cannabis industry [is] the fastest-growing job sector in the country’

marijuana grower

Marijuana grower examining plants. [Photo by Kym Kemp]

Press release from Leafly:

Today, Leafly released its fourth annual cannabis industry jobs report, which shows that a record-high 243,700 Americans are employed in the legal cannabis industry as of early 2020, with 33,700 jobs added in the last year. The cannabis industry has produced 15% more jobs in 2019, and has seen 100% growth since Leafly began collecting data in early 2017 – making the cannabis industry the fastest-growing job sector in the country.

The sustained job growth in the industry demonstrates the economic power of legalization, as 34 states have legalized medical cannabis and 11 states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult use. States that moved early to adopt cannabis legalization, like Colorado and Washington, continued to see steady growth as a wider variety of products become available, bringing more customers into the market. The report also shows the burgeoning opportunity beyond the West Coast, with unexpected entrants into the market like Oklahoma creating jobs almost too fast to count.

With federal prohibition still in place, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics refuses to recognize the cannabis industry in its national economic database and document the growth of this burgeoning industry. Leafly began publishing this annual jobs report in 2017 to shed light on cannabis workers and trends, and to show how the industry is a key job creator.

“If the U.S. government doesn’t count your job, in many ways, your job doesn’t count,” said report author and Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott. “We created the Leafly Jobs Report in 2017 to show that the cannabis industry is an unseen economic growth engine. Four years later, that remains true. In 2020, we’re seeing older markets becoming more established, and dramatic expansion and growth in areas across the country – proving legal cannabis is not just a coastal phenomenon anymore. And we expect big things in 2020, with these trends pointing to triple-digit growth in the Midwest, a spike in hiring in newly legalized states, and even more folks becoming comfortable with cannabis and boosting legal dispensary sales.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Massachusetts, the East Coast’s first legal adult-use market, saw a 333% growth rate and created more than 10,200 jobs in just the last year. This translates to a $676 million market in 2019, and could grow to as much as $700 million in sales by the end of 2020.
  • Colorado and Washington, the nation’s two oldest legal markets, both continued to grow at 8% annually, demonstrating that mature markets draw customers away from illicit markets and continue to add new customers like older adults and CBD-curious customers.
  • The Rust Belt may need to be renamed the Green Belt soon – Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania doubled the number of legal cannabis jobs in just one year.
  • California and Michigan were hit particularly hard by sunsetting laws and new licensing systems, posting the first ever job losses recorded, which moved 8,600 once-legal jobs into the non-legal category.
  • Oklahoma’s medical market grew by 221% in 2019, with medical sales tripling to $350 million. One in 20 Oklahomans now has a registered medical cannabis card, and the industry supports more than 9,400 jobs across the state.
  • The decision to allow the sale of cannabis flower to qualified medical patients for the first time drove Florida’s growth by 93% in 2019. Cannabis now employs more than 20,000 people throughout the state. Florida now has the nation’s largest population of registered medical marijuana patients, with more than 300,000 state residents enrolled in the program – and creating a nearly $800 million dollar market.

The sustained year-over-year growth shown in the report is notable when considering the serious challenges the cannabis industry faced in 2019, including restrictive banking regulations, a financial downturn within the industry, and the EVALI health crisis. While 15% growth in cannabis may be a slow down compared to past years, it would be considered substantial growth for any existing industry.

Methodology

Every legal cannabis state requires some form of mandatory reporting, whether it’s license-tracked monthly sales, patient counts, or cannabis worker permits – making accurately counting these jobs difficult, but possible. Leafly’s Annual Jobs Report is based on employment estimation methods pioneered by MPG Consulting, Whitney Economics, BDS Analytics, New Frontier Data, Vangst, Headset, and state regulatory agencies. Our data team developed and improved a set of formulas that deliver estimates, which are then adjusted according to what we know about each state’s regulatory and economic environment. The Leafly Jobs Report does not count jobs directly tied to hemp growing, production, and CBD products.

The 2020 Jobs Report is the fourth annual report issued by Leafly, and can be read in full HERE. Visit Leafly.com to read previous reports.

ABOUT LEAFLY

As the world’s largest cannabis information resource, Leafly’s mission is to help patients and consumers make informed choices about cannabis and to empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at www.leafly.com or download the five-star rated Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

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37 comments

  • Looks like the place to make big $$$ is Ohio, leave now before it fills up!

  • We the corparation,by the corporation, in corruption we stand

    Yeah with our current political climate here and a incompetent corrupt theiving bureaucracys here we’re getting left in the dust !!!! It was our time to shine and take our GENERATIONS of knowledge to get a seat at the table,and instead we got Estelle fenell, john Ford, and rex bone trying to destroy Humboldt and send there constituents into financial ruin along with the future of Humboldt county. OUR CHANCE IS ALMOST HERE TOO ATTEMPT TO SALVAGE OUR
    DESTINY and take back what’s rightfully ours don’t let it pass us by vote Shaun devries and cliff Berkowitz for supervisor

    • Cliff Berkowitz is not worth the vote, the guy is a moron.

    • They are talking about jobs in the legal world which I think is what the politicians you mentioned were trying to push us towards. It seems like it has mostly worked- not too many unpermitted grows out there anymore. Not that the permit patsys are any better (worse in my mind)

    • You are so right!

    • Devries is a con man. He Has only been living in SoHum for less than two years after escaping his creditors in San Francisco where “mysteriously all the millions of funds were embezzled. He’s been on the run for the last 10 years of his miserable life. He has a $10,000 fine he hasn’t yet paid for operating illegally as a “loan officer” ( read loan shark” )
      that the New Hampshire Banking Commission has levied on him because he was preying on unsuspecting consumers. ( google New Hampshire Banking cease and desist Sean devries, it’s ALL there and MORE)
      And it’s pretty common knowledge why devries was fired from the one log dispensary in Piercy, ask all the women that used to work there. The media , for some reason, is giving him a free pass, which means the voters are ill informed about who this con man .

  • 🕯🌳Almost anywhere but here they squabble to much.👍🏽🇺🇸 That’s why I learned to fly.🕊

  • Umm…well….most of these are not new jobs. They are displaced jobs that were not counted before. These jobs are not appearing out of thin air. There are tens of thousands of people who were independent operators (growers and sellers and transporters and their helpers) who have been put out of work by the corporatization scam we call “legalization”. Then we have tens of thousands of scabs- yes, basically scabs- who pick up “legal” jobs where they are told what to do for much less pay by their managers at the corporate “legal” production facility. So…this is a case of bullshit statistics.

    • Exactly! 33,700 jobs nationally “gained” in exchange for ~12,000 lost farms in Humboldt county (many small aka ~5k sq ft and under) and all the workers just locally alone without jobs now thanks to prop 64 and political greed (fennel, Ford, bohn). We’ve lost more jobs in Humboldt than the nation has gained collectively. These stats are horrendous!

    • well said……….

    • NoGovernmentPlease

      No different than picking cotton. Yeah! Minimal wage labor jobs are nothing new

  • We the corparation,by the corporation, in corruption we stand

    Scabs,ratts,and cowards they are.fall into line and hand over your life savings for a maybe if you’re lucky or connected to one of our theiving politicians!!!!!

    • Your rabble rousing is pretty stale considering that we all knew the end was/is coming for outlaw growing, and that this area is not going to not excel when cannabis is mainstreamed. Anyone with half a wit saw that bubble bursting years ago. It’s still limping along (to mix metaphors) but federal legislation will be the nail in the coffin. What scenario could you see us becoming some kind of Mecca for legal cannabis? We have little tourism (which is what fuels Napa/Sonoma), we are isolated far away from any big money stream, and very little inland Ag land.
      I don’t think the blame lies with the politicians, as tempting as that would be.

      • I agree with most of your comments. Except when the feds legalize. I think it will be a great time for Humboldt growers. Don’t forget they are used to paying high prices in other states and getting a piece of Humboldt goodness for half what they normally pay will keep the train going.

        • But big time ag land will be opened up in other ‘dry summer’ spots like eastern Washington and Idaho where they can grow huge, huge amounts of flower, in low tax climate, organically and with the work force and equipment necessary to do it right. It will dwarf southern and central California. There is huge ag land up there that is dry and warm and Mediterranean just like us. It won’t take them long to buy our ‘ brain trust’ which isn’t a goldmine like many people imagine it to be. Yeah we know a lot about growing but with information as free and available as it is now it doesn’t take lifetimes to learn how to grow good weed. It’s pretty basic.

          • White Faced Cattle

            I agree that we are in a “bubble”, but In Idaho??? Really? I have family in northern Utah and southern Idaho…. doesn’t seem to pot friendly sir. As beautiful as it is, and I do love it there, I just don’t see it happening for quite a while. Not saying it’s not possible, just far far out.

            • When it’s legal federally is what I mean… and believe me when they see how much more they can make per acre the moral high ground gets leveled real quick! I’ve seen it plenty of times

              • They don’t exactly have the mediterainian climate that weed likes. They have colder winters, shorter autumn days and they largely lack the natural mountain ranges and forests that keep local cannabis farms from seeding each other out through open pollination. They also have a horribly regressive government and lack the endemic cannabis know-how found in NorCal. I don’t see it happening any time soon.

      • I don’t know cause I’m out of the game but I see a lot more trucks with diesel tanks in the back. So clearly there’s a bit of an indoor renaissance happening. And I see that continuing as long as there’s heavy taxation and regulation. Why buy crap mega-grow legal weed when you can buy small batch craft diesel dope for less money on the traditional market.

        • Because it’s fun to go experience different shops, sample vast variety, meet new people, talk crop, feel confident the products clean and tested, etc. Etc.

          Who wants to buy weed from dealer you otherwise would never hang out with and risk being ticketed in the process?

          I hear the outlaws complaining about being broke, but your customers aren’t.

          Humboldt is a small place and it’s different outside the bubble.

          • “Diesel-dope”?

            Sounds awful! On the other hand, those “cannabis jobs” pay shit. The end.

            Cannabis is being grown in huge batches, on regular farmland, by regular farm labor, so don’t think you are gonna have a career in growing commercial weed.

            Pretty soon, cannabis will be so cheap, that the traditional market will become rather the “very small market” with boutique weed grown only for the places where it is still illegal.

            I, personally, can’t wait until the black market consists of great flower, sold at the SoHum Farmer’s Market, for $10/oz.

            • Diesel dope is where it’s at. That stuff will get way higher than some outdoor gmo shwagg that was grown by some 20 year old farm hand who has no clue what he’s doing and he isn’t being supervised cause his boss is off doing blow and partying.

              I definatley don’t have a career in cannabis but I do have two legitimate careers and I will probably be able to retire when I’m 55 years old.

          • i do, because fuck the police. only choose peeps who know the way to not use chemicals or drain the creek.

      • Government Cheese

        Sour Sandersville will be a ghost town.

  • Hurray! Sooo many low wage… high labor jobs gained! With big brother watching over your shoulder scrutinizing your every move! The Weeds of Wrath are upon Humboldt!

    I don’t think this Uranus in Taurus Transit is going to well for Humboldt. It could have opened up a pluretha of innovative opportunities, instead Humboldt has chosen oppression. Which most definitely is poised to back fire.

    The last Time Uranus transited in Taurus the Fiat money system was created. Also Brought the Dust Bowl, and the creation of Fiat currency…“Uranus hit Taurus in the midst of the Depression – and what actually happened was the permanent establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the Banking Act of 1935, along with the solidification of the whole Federal Reserve system. .

    ….Taurus is not just about money. At an even more fundamental level, it represents nature itself and the survival-resources it provides us. One manifestation of that vital piece of the puzzle is farming. Change is brewing there, just as it is in our economic systems….

    Going further, the parts of Nature itself which are beyond human control are also resonant with Taurus. It is interesting to remember that the day Uranus finally entered Aries solidly, back in March 2011, a tidal wave struck the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. *(Hence Uranium)* The symbolism was transparent; I won’t belabor it here – naturally, the synchronicity got a lot of press in AstroWorld even though the Nightly News, as usual, ignored astrology.

    Then, as Uranus was crossing into Taurus in May, it happened again: the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii erupted with devastating impact. Again, Earth itself entered the conversation…”

    Get read to invest in crypto currency as it might explode in the next few years..

    What will Uranus in Taurus bring?
    https://www.forrestastrology.com/blogs/astrology/what-will-uranus-in-taurus-bring

    Uranus in Taurus 2018-2026
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tyQWdJ4il18

  • I tried CBD for pain and anxiety. A few different brands/ strengths. None of it worked. I was very disappointed with the “no results”. And I personally don’t care for the brain fog head high of marijuana.

  • View from 30,000 ft

    When reality sets in, the novelty will wear off, and the long line of people currently waiting to take your monotonous, labor intensive, $12-$15 hr dead end job, will disappear faster than a pound of meth in Eureka.

  • do some CrossFit, fall in love with a coke head.
    That’s so hum

  • Yeah, I tried getting a job at two different “legal farms” the last two seasons. All it got me was later in life and deeper in debt. I was used until the skilled labor ran out. Once things were on auto pilot, they hired out of state or country laborers for cheap. When someone can move to a farm with no debt (or debt they dont pay), no family, and no life to speak of, they can live off of crumbs. That dont work out too well for the local working man raising a family in Humboldt!

  • The state and county abated or oppressed /fined scores of independently sufficient families, single men, and single women all over these hills to now to dangle demeaning $13/hr jobs busting ass for the ballers?

    The same ballers that BLEW IT UP hard enough to garner both the bank and “pre existing” square footage to jump in the legal (heh heh) fray? It’s a fucking joke .

    job descriptions like this:

    all aspects of farm operations:

    cleaning and maintaining equipment and the land

    planting

    pruning

    harvesting

    foliar feeding

    amending soil

    maintenance on all aspects of an off grid farm, irrigation, solar system, greenhouses etc…

    For “someone happy with 15$/ hr.” Insulting.

    While the “permit holding” farmers still pull in plenty by dumping their now “legally grown with slave labor” product on the black market left and right

    So awesome .

    Or how about this “job” ?

    https://humboldt.craigslist.org/lab/d/myers-flat-sq-ft-licensed-farm-seeking/7072446044.html

    They are offering a whopping 125/week “stipend” to come in as a “Master Grower” and then they promise to “profit share” with you an undefined percentage of a crop they plan on starting into flower MARCH 1ST. March 1st ! That sounds totally legit. And absolutely worth the risk of getting NOTHING for working 16hr days :
    Managing 1-2 other full-time workers AND
    • Mixing nutrients
    • Hand-watering plants-10k sqft!
    • Defoliating
    • Ammending Soil
    • Cloning
    • Pest management
    • Transplanting
    • Any other tasks related to maximizing yield

    . Oh yeah.

    While the permit holders act all smug the rest of their former comrades get to “live off crumbs” is right.

    It’s a total betrayal on too many levels to address right now .

  • eventually , all the dumdums who smoke the chemical bud will get cancer. then things might go back to the way it was in the beginning. maybe.

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