Marijuana industry jobs dipped by 2% in 2022, report shows

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In a first since states began legalizing marijuana, cannabis industry employment declined in 2022, a report shows.

Total job numbers slid by 2% since the beginning of 2022, according to research by Denver-based industry recruitment platform Vangst.

The cannabis industry had 417,493 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs as of February 2023, Vangst’s “2023 Jobs Report” notes.

That’s down from 428,059 FTEs in 2022.

The report – created in conjunction with Bruce Barcott and economist Beau Whitney – attributes the declines to:

  • Inflation.
  • High interest rates.
  • Wholesale cannabis price compression.
  • Declining demand for cannabis in some markets after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Unenthusiastic investors.

“Go-go investment in business expansion, with a goal of capturing market share, has given way to a focus on bottom-line sustainability – and to bringing payroll costs in line with actual revenue,” the report authors wrote.

The report also highlights that:

  • States where adult-use cannabis is legal had 321,361 industry jobs while medical-only states employed 96,132 people.
  • California had the highest number of cannabis jobs at 83,593.
  • Missouri, Michigan and New Jersey had the strongest job growth.
  • California, Colorado and Oklahoma had the steepest job number declines.

The report predicts job growth will return in 2023, if and when wholesale cannabis prices stabilize – something that has already started happening in California.

Employment in emerging markets such as Connecticut, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and Rhode Island will also grow, the authors predict.

Experts have warned that layoffs and cost-cutting in the marijuana space are likely to continue well into 2023.