According to a recent 2021 Cannabis Jobs Report published by Leafly and Whitney Economics, jobs in the legalized cannabis industry doubled in 2020 over 2019 – there are now 321,000 full-time jobs in the industry. Total sales of cannabis products in 2020 was $18.3 billion, a 71% increase over 2019. Since 2017, the cannabis industry has grown an average of 27.5% yearly.
Cannabis sales continued to grow steadily in Washington, with a 17% annual gain in 2020. Consumers purchased $1.42 billion worth of products last year, driving employment to just under 20,000 cannabis jobs. If Washington’s wholesale cannabis crop were counted alongside other agricultural commodities such as apples, cherries, and wheat, it would rank in the top 10 in economic value.
Demand for cannabis finally caught up to Oregon’s famous oversupply in 2020, stabilizing prices and putting sales over the $1 billion mark for the first time. With $1.11 billion in sales last year, the state’s cannabis industry supported 17,981 jobs.
In California there are now more cannabis workers (57,970) than bank tellers (41,140). Pandemic purchasing, and the steady migration of customers from the illicit to the legal market, drove a significant increase in legal cannabis jobs in California this past year. The state’s licensed cannabis sector grew by roughly 80% in a single year, from $2.1 billion in 2019 sales to $3.77 billion in 2020 sales. That spurred the creation of nearly 24,000 new legal jobs last year.
California remains the nation’s leading cannabis employer, with 57,970 full-time equivalent jobs, followed by Colorado with 35,539 jobs. The year’s major surprise was the growth of Florida’s medical marijuana industry, which now employs an estimated 31,444 state residents—outstripping pioneering adult-use states like Washington (19,873 jobs) and Oregon (17,981).
There are more employees in the US cannabis industry than there are electrical engineers, EMTs, paramedics, and dentists. For a copy of the report, click here.