Leafly Report: US Cannabis Industry Adds 77,300 Jobs in 2020


The latest cannabis industry jobs report from Leafly has arrived.

According to the online cannabis information resource and e-commerce platform, which once again partnered with consulting firm Whitney Economics to produce its 2021 report, the U.S. marijuana industry added 77,300 jobs in 2020, up 32% versus 2019.

Legal cannabis now supports 321,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions across 37 states, and the sector is creating jobs faster than any other American industry, Leafly said.

The impressive growth comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has forced hundreds of thousands of businesses to close and driven the current U.S. unemployment rate as high as 10%, according to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

“We’re proud of the cannabis industry as a bright spot for so many after a difficult 2020 for everyone,” Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita said via a news release. “The essential cannabis industry is our nation’s unseen and unrecognized economic engine, creating good, full-time jobs that have helped to keep people and local economies afloat.”

The marijuana industry has been steadily adding jobs for several years now. According to Leafly, the U.S. cannabis sector has averaged 27.5% job growth each year since 2017, when the industry boasted 122,800 jobs.

Legal cannabis jobs grew 161% over the last four years, Leafly said, noting that there are now more workers in the weed business than there are electrical engineers.

Unsurprisingly, California added the most jobs in 2020 (23,707), followed by Florida (14,891) and Michigan (9,216). Illinois also added 8,348 jobs in 2020, while Pennsylvania contributed 7,188.

California is the country’s largest and most robust cannabis market, with nearly 58,000 FTE jobs and $3.77 billion in sales.

Colorado is the second largest market in the U.S., with 35,539 jobs and $2.28 billion in sales.

Florida, which only permits the sale of medical marijuana, now boasts 31,444 cannabis jobs and sold $1.2 billion worked of cannabis last year.

According to Leafly, cannabis is now an $18.3 billion industry in the U.S.

However, the plant remains illegal at the federal level, but industry stakeholders are optimistic that prohibition could come to an end within the next two years with Democrats in control of the House, Senate and the White House.

“It’s time that our federal policies reflect this reality, and we legalize cannabis while ensuring equity and participation for those disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, so everyone can benefit from this rapidly growing industry,” Miyashita said.

Earlier this month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) said they would prioritize ending cannabis prohibition and work together to introduce new cannabis reform legislation.

Additional information can be found in the 2021 Leafly Jobs Report, on the Leafly website, and in the news release below.

Leafly's latest FTE job numbers are slightly higher than those published by Marijuana Business Daily last August. According to the trade publication, the U.S. cannabis industry was projected to support as many as 295,000 FTE jobs in 2020. That number is expected to climb as high as 575,000, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

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