Legal Marijuana Industry Employs 321,000 Full-Time Workers

Jobs in the state-licensed cannabis industry rose 32 percent during the past 12 months with the industry now employing over 321,000 full-time workers, according to data compiled by

According to its 2021 report, the regulated cannabis industry added approximately 78,000 new jobs over the past twelve months. Authors of the report acknowledged that the industry’s increased growth was especially notable as it occurred in “a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession. The report continues by stating “outside the cannabis industry, the US economy shrank by 3.5 percent, the unemployment rate almost doubled, and nearly 10 million Americans saw their jobs disappear.”

To put the 2021 job totals in perspective: “In the United States there are more legal cannabis workers than electrical engineers, EMTs, and paramedics. There are more than twice as many legal cannabis workers as dentists.”

States Adding Most Jobs

States adding the greater number of new cannabis-related jobs were California (23,707 jobs), Florida (14,891 jobs), Michigan (9,216 jobs), and Illinois (8,348 jobs). Overall, the total number of full-time jobs in the licensed cannabis industry has risen nearly threefold since 2017.

This does not include those highly populated states which recently legalized cannabis sales: New York, Connecticut, Florida, and Minnesota, among others.

Retail sales of cannabis products reached all-time highs in 2020, bringing in record levels of tax revenue. During a year that saw many sectors of the American economy constrict, the legal cannabis industry experienced historic economic growth.

 NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “The dramatic rise in the number of players participating in the state-legal cannabis space, and in total sales, is a result of more consumers transitioning from the illicit market to the above-ground legal marketplace. As more legal markets come on board and mature, consumers are going to continue to gravitate toward it and away from the underground marketplace.”

Protecting Workers

Although great news for the legal cannabis market, this is a cause for consideration by industry operators. Although evidence points to a decrease in workers comp claims, operators should still be aware of the potential injuries for on-the-job workers. Injuries from auto accidents while driving company vehicles, from lifting heavy objects, and even the threat of violence (in a cash-heavy business, one must expect bad actors to be attracted to stores with loads of cash).

Now is a good time to discuss risk reduction strategies with your insurance advisor. How can you best protect your workers, your business, and yourself?

Aspen Cannabis Insurance is in Denver, CO, and services clients nationwide. We are a family-run business working with multiple insurance carriers to offer our customers the coverage they need at the lowest possible cost. We offer a wide range of personal, commercial, and professional insurance to residential and commercial customers enabling the cheapest rates available. Call to speak to one of our insurance professionals and see how painless insurance shopping can be.