Job growth for the United States in April 2021 might not have quite matched expectations with a disappointing increase of 266,000 jobs and an unemployment rate rise for the first time since 2020, but executive search and staffing firm Cannabiz Team’s latest Cannabis Industry Salary Guide for Q2 2021 tells a different story for the cannabis market. With 320,000 full-time cannabis jobs in the U.S., the cannabis industry ranks as the fastest-growing industry in America. As cannabis legalization spreads, projections have cannabis hitting $35 billion dollars in sales and providing 500,000 full-time jobs by 2024. Cannabiz’s report covers the rising demand for skilled staff, how this is driving compensation, and how big-name MSO’s are starting to scout outside of the industry for top-dollar talent.
At present, adult-use cannabis is legal in 17 states and D.C. and medical marijuana is legal in 36, with Connecticut, Minnesota, and Hawaii poised to follow suit. This not only means heightened demand for products, more growing operations, and production facilities coming online, and more business owners applying for licenses, but more jobs all around. Cannabiz’s Q2 jobs guide highlights where the “hot jobs” are in this expanding market, including those within supply chain management, large-scale cultivation, product and brand development, finance and accounting, administrative infrastructure, and retail. Cannabis salaries are up across the board in these sectors and others, with double-digit increases for experienced managers and C-suite executives. The report attributes these increases to competition and a shortage of employees with specialized cannabis experience or transferable skills.
New recruits from outside the industry are coming from all corners of the U.S. economy, most significantly from the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, agricultural, medical supply, CPG, technology, and retail industries. John Deere, Proctor and Gamble (NYSE: PG), and Tesla are among the country’s largest companies from which multi-state cannabis operations are sourcing recruits.
Unsurprisingly, California comes in first in the number of total cannabis jobs at 58,000, with Colorado and Florida nearly tied for second with 35K and 31K total cannabis jobs respectively. Oklahoma and Pennsylvania hover at the bottom of the “Top Cannabis Jobs” list by state with 17K and 16K respectively.
With a cannabis company’s Chief Financial Officer’s earning potential placed at a high of over $400,00 a year according to Cannabiz data, it’s easy to see where those double digit increases fall, especially since jobs at the public-facing retail end, say for a budtender, top out at a high of around $40,000 a year. Lower-paying jobs did see a salary increase as well, though only in the single digits- a gap that stands to narrow as legalization, investment, and expansion maintains momentum for the cannabis industry.