Chart of the Week: Cannabis Industry Attracts Highly Educated Leaders

By Becky Olson

Cannabis industry executives holding post-high school certificates and degrees clock in at a rate 19 percentage-points higher than all U.S. professionals age 25 and older.

A recent Marijuana Business Daily survey showed 87% of cannabis professionals in executive or management roles have completed some sort of degree or certification after high school.  By comparison, 68% of those holding equivalent roles in the broader economy have attained this level of education, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Unsurprisingly, testing labs lead the cannabis sector in education levels, where nine out of ten senior level employees (89%) hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Thirty-three percent hold a Ph.D or other post-graduate degree – a portion that’s over 10 times larger than among all U.S. management professionals. No testing labs reported having anyone with less than an associate’s degree on the leadership team.

All other sectors of the cannabis industry reported having a minority of the management team comprised of individuals with high school diplomas or equivalent as their highest level of educational attainment, ranging from 21% of the senior decision makers at dispensaries and rec stores to 4% at ancillary services companies. Only wholesale cultivation companies reported having any senior leaders with less than a high school diploma.

Cannabis statistics are based on a Marijuana Business Daily survey of cannabis professionals conducted in October 2015, which included responses from 577 industry executives and other senior-level decision makers.


 Becky Olson can be reached at