The number of cannabis industry jobs in Michigan is growing faster than any other state with legal marijuana, according to a new jobs report released on Tuesday. Michigan has surpassed Oregon and now places sixth on the list of the most cannabis jobs by state, as documented by the report from cannabis education resource and marketplace Leafly.
Michigan’s cannabis industry now employs more than 18,000 workers, more than twice the number of positions reported in the sector just one year ago. The job growth is fueled by spiking sales of recreational marijuana, which became legal in the state in December 2019.
“There are now more cannabis workers than cops in Michigan,” Leafly wrote in its fifth annual cannabis industry jobs report. “In a state known for its auto industry, the number of cannabis workers is now roughly equal to the number of auto repair mechanics.”
California Tops The List
Nationwide, the cannabis industry added about 77,000 jobs in the last year and now employs about 321,000 people, an increase of about 15% over 2019. California tops the list with the most jobs, adding more than 23,000 last year to bring the total to nearly 58,000 jobs statewide.
“Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States,” the Leafly report said. “That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II.”
With cannabis businesses designated as essential services during the coronavirus outbreak in many states, the industry was largely able to continue operating throughout the pandemic. Sales of cannabis products nationwide totaled more than $18.3 billion in 2020, an increase of 71% over the previous year. The success of the legal marijuana industry was a stark contrast to much of the economy, with businesses in many sectors forced to close because of COVID-19.
“Outside the cannabis industry, the U.S. economy shrank by 3.5%, the unemployment rate almost doubled, and nearly 10 million Americans saw their jobs disappear,” the report notes.
Cannabis Industry Leads In Job Growth
The speed of cannabis job growth exceeds the pace of any other industry in the United States. The number of jobs in the industry has doubled since 2018 and grown 161% over the last four years.
“Since 2017, the U.S. cannabis industry has averaged 27.5% growth each year,” Leafly wrote. “No other industry even comes close.”
Commenting on the economic importance of cannabis during the pandemic, Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita called for marijuana policy reforms at the national level.
“We’re proud of the cannabis industry as a bright spot for so many after a difficult 2020. The essential cannabis industry is our nation’s unseen and unrecognized economic engine, creating good, full-time jobs that have helped to keep people and local economies afloat,” Miyashita in a press release. “It’s time that our federal policies reflect this reality, and we legalize cannabis while ensuring equity and participation for those disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs, so everyone can benefit from this rapidly growing industry.”