The Marijuana Industry Already Employs A Quarter Million Workers

Massachusetts, Illinois, and Oklahoma are leading the way on marijuana job expansion, a comprehensive jobs report from Leafly found.
The Marijuana Industry Already Employs A Quarter Million Workers
Image credit: CasarsaGuru | Getty Images

Free Book Preview Cannabis Capital

Learn how to get your business funded in the Cannabis economy!
Content Provider
Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community.
3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The marijuana industry supported 240,000 jobs nationwide as 2020 began, according to a Leafly study that focuses on the cannabis job market. That’s 15 percent more marijuana-related jobs than at the beginning of 2019.

That percentage translates into 33,700 new jobs in 2019, with Massachusetts, Illinois, and Oklahoma leading the way on cannabis industry job growth.

RELATED: Cannabis Is America's Fastest-Growing Sector, Adding 33,700 Jobs Last Year

The Cannabis Jobs Report provides a glimpse into the impact the cannabis industry has on jobs, especially potent given that only a handful of states have legalized its use. All while the federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance, on par with heroin and cocaine.

“There are now nearly a quarter of a million Americans whose professional lives are categorized as illegal or nonexistent by the government of the United States,” the report states. “That is outrageous.”

Some states see a job boom related to legal weed, both medical and recreational.

The 250 percent projected growth in cannabis-related jobs between 2018 and 2028 is far greater than even the most lucrative new tech jobs in the nation. They include at-home nurse practitioners (28 percent), wind turbine service techs (57 percent), and solar photovoltaic or solar panel installers (63 percent).

More highlights from the report include:

  • Medical marijuana sales in Oklahoma tripled to $350 million as the industry created more than 7,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the state.
  • Medical dispensaries in Pennsylvania doubled their sales volume. 
  • Ohio’s medical marijuana industry grew at a 273 percent rate

Illinois, which just opened its adult-use marijuana market for sales in 2020, has seen explosive job growth. The report has quickly ranked Illinois 10th in marijuana jobs in the nation, at 9,176.

RELATED: 5 Ways To Reverse The Toxic Workplace Culture Of Cannabis

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that other white-collar professions have sprouted around the marijuana industry. They include attorneys who specialize in cannabis-related legal issues as well as doctors and other medical professionals who have started to focus on treating cannabis patients.

One of those physicians, Dr. Rahul Khare, told the Sun-Times: “I didn’t think cannabis would ever be legal in medical school. I never thought I’d be using cannabis as a medication.”

For entrepreneurs, the coming growth provides a great opportunity.

Even states not listed among the fastest in job growth show huge potential.

For example, Florida has long been predicted a massive market

and 2019 proved that prediction to be correct. With the first full year of legal medical marijuana, Florida saw a 93% increase in total sales, according to the report.

RELATED: Want To Quickly Grow Your Cannabis Company's Footprint? Consider Franchising

The drive to get legal adult-use marijuana on the November ballot failed in Florida, but the state now has 300,000 medical marijuana patients, more than any other state. Florida's adult-use market would make up 12 percent of the national cannabis market and employ 128,000 by 2025 if recreational marijuana becomes legal, according to a 2019 study from New Frontier Data.

To stay up to date on the latest marijuana-related news make sure to like on Facebook

More from Green Entrepreneur
Jason's expertise and experience can help you with storytelling, motivation, and pitching your business to media.
Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for winning strategies, exclusive features and all the tools you need to strike gold in the Green Rush.

Latest on Green Entrepreneur