The U.S. marijuana industry continued to grow in 2021, with nearly half a million people now employed full-time in the cannabis business as more state markets go online and mature, according to a report by Leafly on Wednesday.
This growth is expected to continue exponentially as states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut prepare to implement retail sales. But the new numbers for 2021 are already significant, especially given the current challenges businesses are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year marked the first time that job creation in the marijuana industry exceeded six figures, with 107,059 new jobs created, compared to 32,700 in 2019 and 77,300 in 2020.
In 2021, 428,059 people worked in the marijuana industry, up from 321,000 the previous year.
This is the sixth jobs report published by Leafly, and it was created in partnership with cannabis economics analysis firm Whitney Economics. The researchers further found that the adult and medical markets saw around $25 billion worth of cannabis products sold last year, surpassing the 2020 total by almost $6 billion.
The report highlights that the growth of the marijuana industry far exceeds that of other traditional markets. Last year marked the fifth consecutive year that job growth exceeded 27%. In contrast, general business and finance occupations are expected to grow only about 8% in the decade ending in 2030.
But as in other sectors of the economy, job shortages and unfilled positions remain obstacles to the expansion of the marijuana industry. And as Leafly pointed out, the implementation of retail on hold in several key states means employers will need to hire even more to keep up with consumer demand.
(On a related note, a Wells Fargo analyst recently said job shortages in the trucking industry are largely attributable to federal bans and policies mandating THC drug testing for drivers. under contract with the federal government.)
The US cannabis industry now supports 428,059 full-time jobs. That’s a 33% increase in jobs in a single year. And this is the 5th consecutive year of annual employment growth above 27%. Learn more: https://t.co/6bg4TzGG2Q #LeaflyJobsReport #CannabisJobsCount pic.twitter.com/fB71aH7b4x
— Leafly (@Leafly) February 23, 2022
“Since 2014, when the nation’s first adult-oriented cannabis stores opened, the industry has created hundreds of thousands of new American jobs — and there are still many more to come,” said Leafly CEO Yoko. Miyashita, in a press release. “We know the potential of cannabis is both an economic driver and a force for good, and it’s encouraging to see employment numbers continue to reflect this strong growth.”
“Leafly is proud to step up and fill the void created by the lack of federal reporting, and to advocate for federal legalization that is fair and accessible to all communities. In this midterm election year, it is essential that our elected officials recognize the reality that cannabis is a leading American industry and help us achieve our goal of an inclusive and profitable cannabis industry for all. .
The new report also projects that total employment in the nation’s marijuana market will eventually reach up to 1.75 million workers.
He further makes some interesting observations for deeper context on the size of the marijuana market from 2021. For example, analysts note that there are now three times as many people working in cannabis as there were. has dentists.
There are also more marijuana-related jobs than there are people working as hairdressers, barbers and cosmetologists combined.
Last year’s national cannabis sales figure ($25 billion) represents roughly 25% of the industry’s potential, the report said. It also predicts that cannabis revenues will almost double by 2025, and even then they would represent “less than half of the total potential market”.
“Last year, the US legal cannabis industry created more than 280 new jobs every day,” he says. In other words, someone was hired for marijuana-related work every two minutes of the workday, on average.
These numbers may seem dramatic, but recent data on marijuana sales, tax revenue and job creation in various state markets confirms the general point of the report: the industry is here to stay and continues to grow. .
For example, nearly one in 10 jobs created in Missouri last year came from the state’s medical marijuana industry, according to a recent analysis of state labor data from a trade group. .
The governor of New York has pointed out that legalizing marijuana will generate “thousands and thousands of jobs” in the state. Governor Kathy Hochul’s (D) new budget also estimated that the state should generate more than $1.25 billion in marijuana tax revenue over the next six years.
Colorado broke another marijuana sales record in 2021, with state officials reporting more than $2.22 billion in cannabis purchases last year. Nearly $500 million in Colorado cannabis tax revenue has supported the state’s public school system. The state brought in a record $423 million in marijuana taxes last year alone.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts officially collects more tax revenue from marijuana than from alcohol, according to state data released last month. As of December 2021, the state had collected $51.3 million in alcohol taxes and $74.2 million in cannabis taxes midway through the fiscal year. Overall, Massachusetts has seen $2.54 billion in adult marijuana purchases since the market went live in November 2018. Regulators reported for the first time that the state had reached the milestone of $2 billion in sales in September.
Illinois also saw cannabis taxes beat alcohol for the first time last year, with the state collecting about $100 million more on adult-use marijuana than on alcohol in 2021.
In Arizona, officials reported that retailers in the state sold more than $1.4 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2021, the first year of recreational sales.
States that have legalized marijuana have collectively raised more than $10 billion in cannabis tax revenue since the first licensed sales began in 2014, according to a report released by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) last month.
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