Leafly, the largest cannabis website in the world, issued its fourth annual Cannabis Industry Jobs Report in February, roughly a month before the outbreak of Covid-19 was officially declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Leafly’s report revealed that America remains the legal cannabis industry’s biggest employer despite a downturn related to “a slow-growing Canadian market, shrinking investment capital, a national vaping health crisis, and layoffs at some of the industry’s leading brands.”
The future still looked bright for jobs in the legal cannabis industry, designated by Leafly’s report as the fastest-growing job sector in the United States as of early February 2020. But now that the Covid-19 pandemic has detonated an economic bomb across the globe, the future of cannabis employment may look decidedly different.
In an April article for legal website FindLaw by staff writer Bridget Molitor, JD articulates the various jobs that the legal cannabis industry offers. These jobs include roles in growing, producing, manufacturing, and sales, but given persistent concerns about the perils of working in close proximity to others, the cannabis industry will need to pivot a greater proportion of its workforce towards more autonomous models for its job market to remain viable.
Work-from-home cannabis careers were out there before Covid-19 crashed the economy, and by the looks of listings on popular job search websites like Monster and Indeed (not to mention industry-specific sites like Vangst, 420 Careers and Ganjapreneur.com), opportunities to work from home are more abundant than ever. Remote sales, online support, brand ambassadors, content writers, and web designers are in high demand.
For those willing and able to venture out in states like California and Colorado, which declared both medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries “essential businesses” during the lockdown, jobs as cannabis delivery drivers are also on the rise. In April, reporter Luke Winkie followed up on an earlier story for The Goods, which publishes market-oriented content for Vox. Winkie checked back in with an L.A. area cannabis delivery driver who he interviewed in a previous article. The driver confirmed that business had “never been better” due to panic buying and the “stay-at-home” order.
It may be a long time before the 6 feet social distancing rule becomes a thing of the past. Until then, retail establishments need to find ways to maintain sales volume without endangering customers. While this will mean there could be fewer employees on the sales floors, it also means a surging need for workers to process and package online and phone orders for mail, vehicle delivery, and curbside pick-up.
The legal marijuana industry sustained multiple hits to its profit margin in 2019, and still managed to maintain its status as a dominant sector of the U.S. jobs market. With that crucial advantage, and if the ubiquity of remote cannabis-related jobs crowding the job boards is any indication, the industry may be poised to weather the economic crisis better than most.