Cannabis in a puzzle

US cannabis industry soars, employing over 321,000 people full-time

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A new report on the United States cannabis industry has found that, despite the pandemic and record unemployment levels, jobs in the cannabis industry are soaring.

Compiled by media-company Leafly and consulting-firm Whitney Economics, the report found that job growth in the US cannabis industry has doubled since 2019. 

Over 33,700 new jobs were added to the industry in 2019, reaching a total of 243,700. A year later, over 77,300 new jobs were created – reaching a total of over 321,000 by January 2021. The jobs included in this statistic are all full-time positions

According to a summary of the report, this means there are more people in the legal cannabis industry than many other professions, including aircraft pilots, writers and editors and painters. 

To put that in perspective: In the United States, there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers. There are more legal cannabis workers than EMTs and paramedics.

There are also twice the number of legal cannabis workers as there are dentists. Year-on-year, job growth grew by 32%. 

Researchers believe job growth in the industry is partially due to two things: the legalisation of cannabis in Illinois, Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota, and a subsequent increase in legal cannabis sales nationwide. 

Compared to 2019, the report shows a 71% increase in legal cannabis sales in 2020. This totalled $18.3 billion in cannabis products – including cannabis flower, edibles and cannabis 2.0 products. This boost is partially driven by pandemic purchasing, as cannabis was classed as an essential service in most legal states. 

As cannabis is illegal at a federal level in the US, data on jobs in the legal cannabis industry is not collected by the US Department of Labor. Instead, the report compiled results from the 2020 census, state labour departments, local regulators and other government sources. 

With President Joe Biden in office, jobs in the US cannabis industry will likely continue to bloom. 

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Based in Victoria, Karie's passionate about pro-cannabis legislation in Australia. She's joined Pondering Pot to share and bring awareness to the latest cannabis news across Australia.

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