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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.

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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.

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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.

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