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The Legal Marijuana Industry Now Supports More Than 440,000 Full-Time Jobs, Up 5% From Last Year, Report Finds

The number of full-time marijuana jobs in the U.S. rose by nearly 5 percent during the past year, according to the latest annual industry report on employment in the cannabis sector.

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That’s a turnaround from the roughly 2 percent decline between 2022 and 2023, but otherwise it marks the slowest year-over-year growth going back to 2017.

All told, legal cannabis in the nation supports more than 440,000 full-time equivalent jobs, says the new report from Colorado-based marijuana staffing company Vangst and the analytics firm Whitney Economics.

Despite the overall rise in cannabis-related jobs, the report notes that the year’s job growth “wasn’t spread evenly” across the country. “Now more than ever,” it says, “America’s cannabis industry is a state-by-state, region-by-region job market.”

States That Legalized Marijuana See Massive Reduction in Tobacco Use

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In Michigan, for example, where marijuana sales have surged in the past few years, the industry saw growth of more than 11,000 jobs, the report found—39 percent growth from a year earlier. Missouri’s first full year since the state’s launch of its adult-use market, meanwhile, added 10,735 jobs.

Other states that saw job growth included New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, New York, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Utah.

Vangst Jobs Report 2024

In more established state cannabis markets, however, trends pointed the other direction. Colorado and Washington—the first two U.S. states to legalize marijuana and open retail stores to adults—saw 16 percent and 15 percent job losses, respectively.

California’s massive marijuana market, for its part, supports 78,618 jobs as of March 2024, the report found—but that’s down 6 percent from a year earlier.

“A countervailing pushback in mature markets in the American West (California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada) resulted in the loss of roughly 15,000 jobs across the region,” the report says, also noting that Oklahoma, Nevada, Massachusetts and Arizona recorded losses.

Authors of the Vangst report attribute the shrinkage to a variety of factors, including an oversupply of cannabis and a dip in marijuana-related tourism. “The expansion of adult-use sales to 20 states,” the report notes, for example, “has reduced Colorado’s cannatourism to a fraction of its former self.”

“The experience of buying legal weed in a retail store may also have lost some of its novelty,” the report notes, pointing to Las Vegas and its annual 40 million visitors. “Nevada’s 2023 annual revenue came up $50 million short of the $880 [million] mark set in 2022, and roughly 1,000 jobs crapped out.”

The industry report is nevertheless optimistic, projecting a turnaround in the next couple years.

“We expect losses in these markets to continue to thin out in 2024 and turn positive once again in 2025,” authors wrote.


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