By / April 12, 2024

The US Legal Cannabis Industry Provides Over 440,000 Full-Time Jobs

The legal cannabis industry is expanding at an impressive pace, becoming one of the most dynamic sectors in the job market. According to the latest annual employment report in the cannabis sector, the number of full-time jobs in the United States has increased by nearly 5% over the last year. This marks a significant rebound compared to the approximately 2% decline recorded between 2022 and 2023. Currently, the legal cannabis industry supports 440,000 full-time equivalent positions, highlighting its growing role in the economy.

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Analysis of the Vangst and Whitney Economics Report

Data presented by Vangst, a company specializing in employment within the cannabis industry, and the analytical firm Whitney Economics, paint a picture of a sector that is diverse and rapidly changing. Although the overall number of jobs related to cannabis has increased, this growth has not been evenly distributed across the country. In some states, such as Michigan, where cannabis sales have surged in recent years, the industry recorded an increase of over 11,000 jobs, a 39% increase compared to the previous year. Other states experiencing job growth include New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah.

On the other hand, more established state markets like Colorado and Washington – the first two U.S. states to legalize cannabis and open retail stores for adults – have seen job losses of 16% and 15% respectively.

Factors Influencing Jobs Changes

Changes in the number of industry jobs can be attributed to several factors. Overproduction of cannabis and a decline in tourism related to cannabis are just some of these factors. The report also highlights the fact that the expansion of adult-use cannabis sales to 20 states has reduced cannabis tourism in Colorado to a fraction of what it once was.

Salaries and Jobs in the Industry

The Vangst report also provides information on salaries for various positions within the industry. Workers involved in cannabis trimming can earn between $14 and $27 per hour, while a cultivation director can expect an annual salary ranging from $90,000 to $140,000. Meanwhile, typical “budtenders” earn between $14 and $22 per hour, and retail store directors earn between $80,000 and $120,000 a year.

The cannabis industry has a significant impact on local and state economies, primarily through generating tax revenues. Data on economic activities related to cannabis are collected and analyzed by statistical offices, helping to understand its impact on a broad scale.

The Future of the Industry

The outlook for the cannabis industry is promising, with forecasts indicating the market could grow to $87 billion by 2035. Such growth would more than triple the industry’s revenues, which stood at $28.8 billion in 2023. Increased substitution of alcohol with cannabis, especially among younger adults, may also contribute to this growth.

The legal cannabis industry is in a stage of dynamic development, bringing changes not only to the job market but also to social and cultural aspects of cannabis consumption. Its future seems bright, with many opportunities for growth, innovation, and development.

(Featured image by Terre di Cannabis via Unsplash)

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