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Over 240K People Now Work Full-Time in the Legal Cannabis Industry

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On Feb. 7, the fourth annual Leafly Jobs Report was released, which indicates steady growth in the legal cannabis industry, with 243,700 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs.

Reporting for Leafly, Bruce Barcott, Ian Chant and former CULTURE contributor David Downs explained what the data means for job-seekers who are curious about the viability of the industry. The numbers indicate a 15 percent year-over-year increase. Over the past 12 months, the expanding industry has created 33,700 new jobs nationwide

“According to Leafly’s fourth annual cannabis jobs count, legal cannabis supports 243,700 full-time-equivalent jobs as of early 2020,” the report reads. “That’s a 15 percent annual uptick in cannabis jobs, an indication of the industry’s continuing expansion even during a rough year. The $10.73 billion legal cannabis industry continues to be America’s single greatest job creation engine, growing at a rate faster than any other industry over the past four years.”

Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Illinois are pushing the industry forward the most, according to the data. Massachusetts added cannabis-related 10,226 jobs, while Oklahoma added more than 7,300 jobs in its medical cannabis industry. The state of Florida also demonstrated signs of strong growth in its medical cannabis sector. The report suggests that Florida now has the highest number of medical cannabis patients of any state at over 300,000 registered patients.

Unsurprisingly, the report confirmed fears that 2019 was a difficult year for cannabis in general—with a number of companies performing mass layoffs. While states like California, Colorado and Michigan suffered the most, the growth in Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Illinois is helping to sustain the overall American cannabis market.

In order to determine the numbers, Leafly utilized the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) which didn’t count cannabis-related jobs until recently. NAICS recently added a code for jobs that fall under cannabis. NAICS codes help labor economists to judge how many jobs there are in all job fields. For the study, CBD jobs were not counted as CBD isn’t regulated in-state cannabis systems.