Chart: US cannabis employment to jump 34% in 2019 thanks to California, growth in new markets

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The number of full-time cannabis employees in the United States is expected to grow 34% in 2019 over the previous year, with the potential to top 200,000 workers.

That’s more than the number of flight attendants in the U.S. and more than double the number of veterinarians.

The newly released 2019 Marijuana Business Factbook estimates the number of full-time workers in the U.S. marijuana industry was between 130,000 and 160,000 in 2018 and will increase to 175,000 to 215,000 in 2019.

These gains are driven by continued growth in California’s massive marijuana market as well as the employment needs in other states as new medical and recreational markets develop nationwide.

The laws of supply and demand have pushed up salaries for cannabis workers in California and Eastern markets as marijuana companies seek experienced employees and product prices rise in these markets.

Cannabis employment in 2019 is projected to be slightly more than the number of web developers in the United States – another rapidly growing employment sector – and a little less than the number of individuals working as members of the clergy.

Employment in cannabis is expected to be about 3.5 times more than the number of legislators, who play a critical role at the state and national levels in advancing and regulating the marijuana industry.

The Factbook estimates that total full-time employment in the cannabis space will reach 385,000 to 475,000 workers by 2023.

Here’s what else you need to know about the situation:

  • Total economic impact of the cannabis industry will be range from $39.2 billion to $48 billion in 2019 – about a 35% increase over 2018.
  • U.S. cannabis sales in 2018 were between $8.6 billion and $10.8 billion – more than U.S. spending on e-cigarettes, the video game Fortnite and Goldfish crackers.
  • U.S. sales of cannabis in 2019 will be about 35% higher than 2018 and could reach $30 billion by 2023.

Maggie Cowee can be reached at