Open sign on a cannabis dispensary

US Cannabis Industry Employs More People Than Drinks Industry


Legal cannabis in the US will support almost 300,000 jobs by the end of 2020, according to the 2020 Marijuana Business Factbook, making it the countries fastest growing industry. 

The Factbook, published by Marijuana Business Daily, was just released last week. Inside, it details economists best estimates on the growth of the legal cannabis industry. The results are quite unexpected. 

According to editors, the US cannabis industry currently supports 240,000 full-time jobs. 

By the end of 2020, this number is expected to rise to 295,000. These numbers have nearly doubled from last year, as America’s cannabis industry is expected to surpass $15 billion in 2020

In their predictions, economists included anyone working for a legal cannabis business (cultivators, budtenders, farmers, etc.) and anyone whose job supported the industry – including lawyers. Only businesses whose primary revenue involved cannabis were included. 

By 2024, the factbook expects the cannabis industry to employ as many as 575,000. This makes the cannabis industry the fastest growing market in America, as for comparison, only 271,000 people currently work in the beverage manufacturing industry (yes, including bartenders).

USA Cannabis jobs growth to 2024
USA Cannabis jobs growth to 2024

These findings are also consistent with employment numbers reported by The Arcview Group, which estimates that the legal cannabis industry will support 414,000 jobs by the end of 2021. Leafly’s Job Report 2020 currently believes cannabis supports 243,700 jobs. 

In all reports, the number of jobs was estimated using the Marijuana Policy Group’s (MPG) guidelines. The MPG believes that for every $64,000 in Colorado sales, an equivalent full-time job is created. To check these figures, the Factbook surveyed a number of large cannabis companies directly and extrapolated the data. 

Interestingly, these jobs might be the unintended consequence of strict cannabis retailing laws. While most products can be bought in a range of stores, recreational cannabis can only be legally sold through licensed dispensaries. Depending on where you live, medical cannabis can only be obtained through special pharmacies. As a result, the cannabis industry employs a huge number of retail staff.

Speaking about the findings, Marijuana Business Daily’s Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier wrote: 

Sustained sales growth, especially in recreational markets, will continue to fuel job growth in the cannabis industry.

As Australia’s cannabis grows, we’ll have to see if the jobs truly do follow the joints. If legalised, Australia could generate nearly $2 billion worth of tax revenue by 2028. You can read that story here

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Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

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