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US Cannabis Employment Market

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By Meta Talent Group

Election Day in 2020 provided a clear message concerning the Cannabis Industry in the US; legalization is the direction it is moving in.

Medical cannabis is now legal in 36 U.S. states (and Puerto Rico) after Mississippi voted to legalize cannabis medically.
It is recreationally legal in 15 U.S. states (and Washington D.C.), as Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota have legalized the medical and recreational sales of cannabis.

Beyond the general blue wave that occurred this past election, a telling indicator that the legal cannabis industry is growing is the shortening of time from medical, recreational, and the first sale. 

In other words, as the industry matures, we see significantly less time from when medical marijuana is first legalized to the first recreational sale. Ex:/ According to Marijuana Business Daily, California took 7,308 days from medical to recreational to the first sale. In Massachusetts, just 1,463 days.

The Job Front of the Cannabis Industry:

On the job front, the cannabis industry in total now supports 321K+ full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, according to a 2021 Leafly Jobs Report. 

This is a steady increase over the last couple of years, with 122K+ FTE jobs in 2017, 149K+ in 2018, 211K+ in 2019, and 243K+ in 2020. Overall, cannabis is now an 18.3B industry in the US, a 71% increase from 2019, and is expected to reach $35B by 2025 (Equality Magazines).

Emerging Markets Open Doors for Cannabis-Industry Professionals:

As new markets come online, there will be a strong demand for industry-specific positions.

This demand will especially occur in the laboratory and cultivation verticals, considering that new states typically require more stringent hiring practices that may include candidates attaining certain education levels and/or industry-specific certifications, amongst other requirements.

Although this is the case regarding new markets, we would be remiss not to mention that the overall hiring trends in 2020 saw an increase at the retail and transactional level, e.g., budtenders and trimmers.

The other sectors within cannabis that did show growth are delivery and e-commerce, as e-commerce Managers saw an increase in average salary from $114,000 (2019) to $138,250 (2020) (WeedWeek).

The Other Side:

Referencing the other end of the spectrum, we did see layoffs in 2020 at the Leadership-Level, but we would primarily attribute that to the uncertainty of the covid-19 pandemic. 

In many ways, this was expected and not dissimilar to other industries, so we don’t see it as a cause for concern.

Ultimately, we believe there will be an upswing in hiring for these leadership roles as we advance deeper into 2021!

We would implore both candidates and companies alike to remain aware of Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA), especially for Multi-State Operators (MSOs) and candidates looking to relocate to a new market.

We, collectively, look forward to federal legalization and the introduction of interstate commerce so that Cannabis Companies can flourish and see the fruits of their labor over the past decade. 

A Burgeoning Industry:

For certain, the Cannabis Industry is growing and evolving at a wonderfully healthy pace, in the US and globally!

With the Meta Talent Group at the helm, you can confidently count on as a guide for your journey ahead!

Inspired by a desire to transform the world socially and environmentally, Meta Talent Group provides synergy between great people and purpose!

We provide staffing and direct-hire recruitment services for the world’s top talent and growing companies focused on people, planet, and profitability!

By connecting great people with altruistic companies, we will fuel these companies’ growth and help transform the world.

No matter what stage of the business cycle you’re in, we help support growth and change!

Download the Meta Talent Cannabis Salary Guide Below

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