Policy/Biz

Cannabis Jobs In US Are Booming; Salaries Among Highest In US

Employment in the U.S. marijuana industry continues to surge as demand for weed and its derivatives remains on the rise due to the rising public acceptance of the benefits of medical cannabis.

Legal cannabis businesses throughout the country employed 211,000 full-time workers as of August 2019, according to Leafly, which claims to be the world's largest cannabis website with over 15 million monthly visitors and 40 million page views. This number in all probability is much higher since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't track the industry because cannabis remains federally illegal.

The marijuana industry added 64,000 jobs nationwide in 2018, said Leafly in its 2019 Cannabis Jobs Count report. It's expected to create another 20,000 this year in California and Florida alone. Leafly recorded a 110 percent growth in cannabis jobs nationwide over the last three years.

In addition, professional and technical workers such as accountants, lab workers, marketers and tax experts comprise more than half of the new workforce. That’s led to a median annual salary of $58,511 almost 11 percent higher than the overall U.S. median. Leafly still describes cannabis as “America’s hidden job boom.”

“The cannabis workforce increased 21 percent in 2017," according to Leafly. "It gained another 44 percent in 2018. We expect at least another 20 percent growth in jobs in 2019. That would represent a 110 percent growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.”

In 2018, Florida saw the creation of 9,000 new jobs in the marijuana industry. Nevada added more than 7,500 jobs, Pennsylvania added nearly 3,900 while New York grew its cannabis employment by 278 perecent to more than 5,000 jobs.

Florida, one of 22 states that permit the prescription use of medical marijuana for certain ailments, looks set to again become the state that will add the largest number of full-time, nationwide cannabis jobs in 2019.

“In Florida, the buildout of the state’s medical marijuana industry produced an enormous hiring boom,” noted Leafly. “That hiring surge was spurred in part by a near-tripling of Florida’s medical marijuana patient population, which grew from roughly 65,000 to 165,000 in 12 months.”

Marijuana A picture taken on June 5, 2019 shows a man smelling a sample of Marijuana buds, often simply called weed or pot, which is the unprocessed form of the female cannabis plant, at the "Hemp Embassy" store in Milan, one of the first shops in Italy dedicated to cannabis. MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

Leafly estimates employment in Florida’s marijuana industry will increase to 15,494 jobs in 2020. Florida voters approved medical marijuana use in a 2016 constitutional amendment that passed by 70 percent.

Analysts project Florida’s medical marijuana industry to generate $250 million in sales in 2019. Sales are expected to surge to $1.3 billion annually by 2021 and $5.7 billion in a decade.

These projections don't include estimated revenues that might be generated if either of two prospective 2020 ballot measures seeking to legalize recreational marijuana are adopted. One of these measures, the "Make It Legal" proposal, will retain the current Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC).

There were 10,358 Floridians employed in 14 state-licensed MMTCs and in nearly 90 dispensaries statewide. Together, these added more than 9,000 full-time jobs. As a result, cannabis employment grew by 703 percent in 2018 in Florida.

The marijuana industry is expected to grow globally to $17 billion in 2019 and to hit $31.6 billion in 2022, according to Forbes.

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