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The Legal Cannabis Industry in the U.S. Provides Over 440,000 Full-Time Jobs

The legal cannabis industry in the US is rapidly expanding, with nearly 5% job growth in the past year, reaching 440,000 full-time equivalent jobs. While some states experienced significant job gains, others saw losses. Factors like overproduction of hemp and decline in cannabis tourism influenced these changes. The industry’s future looks promising, with potential revenue growth to $87 billion by 2035.



legal cannabis industry

The legal cannabis industry is developing at an impressive pace, becoming one of the most dynamic sectors on the labor market.

The latest annual cannabis employment report shows that the number of full-time jobs in the United States has increased by almost 5% over the past year. This represents a significant recovery compared to the approximately 2% decline recorded between 2022 and 2023. Currently, the legal cannabis industry supports 440,000 full-time equivalent jobs, demonstrating its growing role in the economy.

Data provided by cannabis employment firm Vangst and analyst firm Whitney Economics paint a picture of a sector that is diverse and rapidly changing. While the number of cannabis-related jobs has increased overall, the increase has not been evenly distributed across the country. In some states, such as Michigan, where cannabis sales have skyrocketed in recent years, the industry grew by more than 11,000 jobs, up 39% from the previous year. Other states with job gains 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 adult-use retail stores – saw job losses of 16% and 15%, respectively.

Changes in the number of jobs in the industry can be attributed to many factors. Overproduction of hemp and decline in cannabis tourism are just some of them. The report also notes that the expansion of adult-use cannabis sales to 20 states has reduced cannabis tourism in Colorado to a fraction of what it was before.

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Salaries and positions in the legal cannabis industry

The Vangst report also provides salary information for various positions in the industry. Cannabis trimmers can earn between $14 and $27 an hour, while a cultivation director can expect an annual salary ranging from $90,000 to $140,000. Typical budtenders, meanwhile, earn between $14 and $22 an hour, and retail store managers earn between $80,000 and $120,000 a year.

The cannabis industry has a significant impact on local and state economies, primarily by generating tax revenue. Data on cannabis-related economic activity is collected and analyzed by statistical agencies, which helps understand its impact on a broad scale.

The future of the legal cannabis industry

The outlook for the cannabis industry is promising, with projections showing the potential for the market to grow to $87 billion by 2035. Such growth would more than triple industry revenues of $28.8 billion in 2023. Increased substitution of alcohol with cannabis, especially among younger adults, may also contribute to this increase.

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


(Featured image by Terre di Cannabis via Unsplash)

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First published in FaktyKonopne. A third-party contributor translated and adapted the articles from the originals. In case of discrepancy, the originals will prevail.

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Arturo Garcia started out as a political writer for a local newspaper in Peru, before covering big-league sports for national broadsheets. Eventually he began writing about innovative tech and business trends, which let him travel all over North and South America. Currently he is exploring the world of Bitcoin and cannabis, two hot commodities which he believes are poised to change history.