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Could Cannabis Legalization Lead to Massive Employment Boom?

cannabis employment
Written by Steven Bridge

Cannabis legalization in America has led to a lot of good things so far. Opioid abuse is down in states where cannabis is legal, and a lot of tax revenue has already been generated.

What the government doesn’t want you to know is how many jobs cannabis legalization has created. Despite numerous states legalizing cannabis for medical and/or recreational use, it remains illegal on the federal level. As such, agencies like the Bureau of Labor Statistics turn a blind eye to any cannabis-based jobs, leaving them out of the statistics.

According to a Leafly report, there are now 211,000 cannabis-related jobs across the US, with at least 64,000 of those having been created in 2018 alone. 2017 saw an increase in employment in the cannabis industry by 21 percent, and things are moving fast, particularly in some states.

Interestingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ figures for home health care aides showed a 47 percent growth over ten years, as an example. The growth projection within the cannabis industry, carried out by Leafly, is based on just three years. That means that cannabis is likely the fastest growing industry in America, at least as far as employment is concerned.

Colorado and Washington, who legalized cannabis back in 2014, have seen steady growth over the past five years. However, the newer states to legalize, such as Florida and Nevada, are enjoying a massive employment boom on several different cannabis-related levels.

cannabis employment

As recreational legalization sweeps across the US, there is a huge increase in jobs

Take the fact that Florida increased cannabis jobs by a staggering 703 percent in 2018. Or Nevada where 7,500 new jobs were also created in 2018. Cannabis jobs in California were reasonably constant in 2018, but a substantial 21 percent growth is forecast for 2019. Massachusetts is another interesting state when it comes to cannabis. They recently legalized for recreational use and are expected to create up to 10,000 new cannabis jobs by the end of 2019.

Another spin-off of cannabis legalization is the additional work and revenue it creates for professionals like accountants, lab workers, and marketing experts. But these amazing statistics would never have been revealed if it weren’t for the Leafly 2019 Cannabis Job Count report.

Due to cannabis still being a Schedule I controlled substance federally, that puts it on the same level as drugs like heroin. Yes, we know – absurd. To that end, for the time being, cannabis-related jobs remain illegal officially, despite workers being legally employed in states and receiving full benefits.

On top of the booming job industry, cannabis legalization is going well across the board. Legal cannabis sales increased by just under 35 percent in 2018 and hit a remarkable $10.8 billion – a number that cannot be ignored for long. However, due to decades of the brutal prohibition of cannabis, some users have also imprisoned for possession over the years.

But as the era of cannabis prohibition fades away into the history books, it’s taking time for authorities to adjust to the new reality. It has to be assumed that it’s only a matter of time before cannabis becomes legal, or at least decriminalized federally. Until then, it’s those like the good people over at Leafly who are doing the governments’ job for them and sharing cannabis statistics with the public.

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About the author

Steven Bridge

Having been a cannabis and CBD aficionado for many years, Steven spends much of his time opposite a shiny MacBook, researching, exploring, understanding and creating interesting reading for people interested in knowing more about CBD, Vaping, Cannabis Strains and Delivery Methods, and just about anything related to magical green herbs that help people with anything from sleepless nights to pain.