As too many of us are all-too familiar, the job market is extremely tough these days. One of the few bright spots has been the cannabis industry which now employs more than 320,000 people across the United States, outpacing many other professions. On one hand, it’s rather remarkable that the industry has been able to accelerate hiring during the COVID pandemic while some states irrationally cling to prohibition and the many regulatory roadblocks placed in front of cannabis businesses. On the other hand, it isn’t surprising that more employees are needed to keep up with record-breaking sales across the country as more states and localities move towards legalizing regulated cannabis commerce.
Cannabis job growth in 2020 represents a doubling of the previous year’s US job growth. In 2019, the cannabis industry added 33,700 new US jobs for a total of 243,700.
Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States in 2020. That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March, many in the cannabis industry worried about a potential industry-wide shutdown. Instead, governors in most states declared cannabis an essential product. Dispensaries and retail stores responded by offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery as COVID-safe options for their customers.
I am so proud of relient cannabis entrepreneurs, especially craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, that give back to the community and provide quality jobs. While those on the outside see the big sales and revenue numbers making headlines, those without an intricate knowledge of the industry aren’t aware of the many headaches that cannabis businesses face. It’s amazing that mom-and-pops and other small to medium retailers are finding ways to overcome a lack of banking services, an exorbitant tax rate, and other regulatory hurdles to compete with multinational companies with shareholders and deep pocketbooks.