Cannabis Industry Statistics

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Cannabis is a true business success story. Today it’s a multi billion-dollar industry growing in place of a prohibited substance.

But the rapid-fire pace of this growth has caused serious confusion. Although there is a wealth of new data and major insights to gain from that data, it’s not always easy to find all of it in one place.

In this post, we’ve curated all of the verifiable cannabis industry statistics we could locate in one place. There are countless opportunities for investment, employment, and new products in this industry, but you need the right data in hand to access them.

So whether you’re a cannabis fan who wants to augment their knowledge of the industry, someone looking for work, or you’re planning to invest in one of the hottest markets there is, this cannabis industry data compilation should be useful to you. Read on to find statistics on marijuana consumption, ideas, attitudes, and culture surrounding acceptance of cannabis and its use, employment trends, cannabis market growth, and legal facts.

Need to find a statistic quickly? Jump to the relevant area:

Cannabis Use and Attitudes

How many people use cannabis?

  • According to the most recent Gallup poll from 2019, 12% of Americans are active marijuana users. This is about the same as it has been since 2016 although the number of cannabis users almost doubled from 2013 to 2016.
  • However, in 2019 BuzzFeed found that 27% of Americans say they use marijuana currently, and tend to consume it several times a week.
  • And Ipsos found in 2019 that among polled American cannabis users, 37% or about two out of five report daily marijuana use. Most respondents, 61%, used cannabis at least once a week.
  • The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from SAMHSA reports an estimated 43.5 million Americans aged 12 or older used marijuana in 2018. That year, about 28.5 million adults aged 26 or older, or 13.3%, were marijuana users.
  • A 2018 NYU study found that 9% of adults aged 50 to 64 use marijuana, double the percentage from the past decade. During the same period, use among adults 65 and older has increased to 3%, nearly seven times.

User intent

  • A 2020 Verilife study of cannabis users found that boomers ages 56 to 74 were twice as likely to use marijuana for solely medical reasons than were millennials ages 24 to 39:
    • Boomers: 50% medical only, 28% recreational, and 22% both
    • Millennials: 49% recreational, 29% both, and 22% medical only
  • That same study found that both boomers and millennials cited relaxation as the top reason for using cannabis recreationally (42% and 34%, respectively), with anxiety (22% for millennials, 17% for boomers) and social goals (23% for millennials, 17% for boomers) being other prominent reasons cited.
  • Both boomers and millennials prefer to use cannabis in the evening (26% and 30%), but boomers are more than twice as likely to smoke out in the morning: 22% compared to 10%.
  • Verilife also found that millennials and boomers are about equally likely (28% and 26%) to say they have consumed marijuana before work. However, millennials are twice as likely to consume cannabis to ease stress before going to a large public gathering or event.

Cannabis demographics

  • The 2020 report from San Francisco Bay Area cannabis delivery service Eaze shows the gender divide in cannabis shrinking, especially among boomers. Women made up about 25% of cannabis traffic in 2015, up to 38% in 2018, 46% in 2019, and 48% in 2020.
  • According to Flowhub, dispensaries that use the platform show a generational breakdown in customer sales for 2020. For medical marijuana it looks like this:
    • Gen Z            17%
    • Millennials        42%
    • Gen X            23%
    • Boomers        17%
    • Silent Generation    1%
  • And for recreational marijuana, the breakdown looks like this:
    • Gen Z            17%
    • Millennials        48%
    • Gen X            21%
    • Boomers        13%
    • Silent Generation    1%
  • Similarly, cannabis data firm Headset reveals a growth of 127% in Generation Z sales, compared to just 5% for Boomer sales. This may be attributable in part to effects from the pandemic and willingness to shop in different ways, but it may also be due in part to new members of Gen Z aging into the market regularly. Gen Z should easily take first place, outpacing Millennials, within the next decade.
  • Finally, Verilife found that 49% of millennials consume cannabis for recreational reasons, making them twice as likely as boomers to be recreational users.
  • In 2019, Buzzfeed found that 7 out of 10 of those respondents feel cannabis improves stress anxiety levels after use, and 48% of respondents use cannabis in the late evening.
  • RAND research has found that among young adults in Los Angeles County, there is a positive association between living near more medical marijuana dispensaries (MMDs), especially those with signage, and both greater expectations of marijuana’s positive benefits and more frequent use of marijuana within the past month. Whether this was a result of the signage itself or living in a locality that is demonstrably more supportive of cannabis use is unclear.
  • Ipsos found in 2019 that Americans are more open than Canadians are about their cannabis use when discussing it with potential partners. Just over half of Americans (53%) are willing to talk about cannabis after a first date, while only 37% of Canadians would discuss it after a first date, and 22% prefer to wait even longer, until after two dates.
  • Cannabis and music continue to be culturally linked. In 2019 Ipsos found that cannabis users reported listening to music while using cannabis 48% of the time.
  • Classic rock (50%), rap or hip hop (39%), pop (36%), R&B/soul (32%), and indie/alternative rock (32%), are the most popular genres of music to listen to while using cannabis, followed by hard rock and metal (25%), reggae (25%), country (22%) and blues (20%). Broadway and musical theater (5%) and gospel or religious music (3%) are the least common genres to listen to while using cannabis.
  • About 40% of users say they have also used cannabis before attending a festival or music concert in addition to using cannabis while enjoying music at home.

Attitudes About Cannabis

Acceptance of recreational marijuana

  • As of April 2021, 17 states plus the District of Columbia and two territories have legalized adult-use recreational cannabis. This means individuals over age 21 can use cannabis in addition to whatever local medical marijuana laws might allow. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Nevada, Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, Montana, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, and Virginia.
  • This does not include South Dakota, because although South Dakota voted in favor of medical and recreational simultaneously in 2020, that measure is currently under appeal.
  • During the 2020 election, Arizona, New Jersey, and Montana also voted to legalize adult-use. Those measures have proceeded unabated.

Two in three Americans—a comfortable majority—support marijuana legalization

  • According to a Gallup poll from November 2020, support for legal cannabis has reached an all-time high of 68%. That support rises to 79% among 18 to 29-year-olds. 66% of Americans supported legalization in 2018, and in 1969 when Gallup first took the same poll, only 12% of Americans supported legalizing cannabis.
  • Pew has similar results from its American Trends Panel. As of 2019, 2/3 of Americans said marijuana use should be legal. This reflected a gradual but notable change since 2010, when 52% of US adults opposed legalization compared to 32% today.
  • 91% of Pew’s US adults also said marijuana should be legal in some way, with 59% favoring both medical and recreational use and 32% backing medical use alone. Only 8% of American adults would keep marijuana totally illegal as of this September 3, 2019 Pew survey.

Support for cannabis is somewhat partisan

  • In 2019, Pew has similar results found that 78% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said marijuana use should be legal. Only 55% of Republicans and Republican leaners were in favor of legalization and 44% were opposed.
  • That same 2020 Gallup poll found an even greater divide: 83% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans were in favor of legalization. Between 2018 and 2020, support for legalization decreased among Republicans from 53% to 48%, but increased among Democrats from 71% to 83%.
  • However, according to Forbes in 2020, 54% of voters who identified as Republicans say the federal government should legalize the use and sale of cannabis for adults.

Support for cannabis and legalization trends among generations

In 2016, Forbes reported on Headset transactional data from dispensaries across the United States. Customers broke down as follows:

  • Millennials aged 21 to 34 make up 51.8% of customers
  • At 20.39%, millennials aged 25 to 29 are the largest category of recreational customers
  • Average customer age is 37.6 years old
  • Boomers, age 65 and older, were less than 5% of customers

In 2019, Pew found that majorities of most generations support legalization:

  • Millennials (born from 1981 to 1997)    76%
  • Generation X (born from 1965 to 1980)    65%
  • Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to 1964)    63%
  • The Silent Generation, born from 1928 to 1945, remains more opposed to legalization: 64%, with 35% in favor of legalization.

Cannabis Sales in the US and Beyond Change

The way we bought cannabis between 2019 and 2020 changed significantly.

cannabis industry statistics
  • According to Ipsos 2019, just over half of users (54%) buy cannabis products at a recreational dispensary, another fifth from a medical dispensary (21%), and about one-third buy from friends (32%). Home delivery service was the least popular option (13%).
  • Americans were much more likely to buy from recreational dispensaries than Canadians (67% compared to 44%). On the other hand, Canadians are more likely than Americans to buy from their friends (38% compared to 25%).
  • In 2020, however, coronavirus came and nationwide cannabis sales increased 71%. Changing public perception is certainly a factor, but the pandemic was also a force behind this growth. Fear of shutdowns, staying home-bound, and increased anxiety all fueled increased cannabis sales—which amounted to about $18 billion in 2020.
  • Flowhub data from the State of the Cannabis Industry 2020 report shows the percent change in total sales from 2019 to 2020.
  • Dispensaries even saw increased average order size and more revenue as a result during the summer shutdowns of 2020 when most people shopped less often.
  • Curbside pickup, online ordering, and delivery were important trends in 2020 that helped fuel these boosts in dispensary sales. These services also assisted consumers in getting cannabis products safely and quickly despite being in lockdown.
  • On March 13, 2020, a national emergency was declared. According to Eaze, in the following 30 days first-time deliveries rose by 44% and new delivery customer sign-ups increased by nearly 60%. Average size of orders increased by 15%, and order value grew by 13%. Overall Eaze experienced a 71% rise in new customer sign-ups over 2020, and March and April 2020 were the best months for new deliveries.
  • Eaze also found that, on average, stores with order ahead sold 22% more than stores without order ahead. In 2020, cannabis ecommerce tech companies significantly increased their market share.

Preferences for Cannabis Products

  • Cannabis product preferences changed from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, in part after the EVALI scare, Eaze saw a decrease in vape sales of 15%. That traffic moved toward edibles, which were up 24% for Eaze in October of 2019. Overall, according to the Eaze State of Cannabis 2020 report, edibles accounted for 22% of all sales by the end of 2020, and in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Oakland they were the most popular product. Between February and April, edibles’ popularity jumped among first time customers from 14% to 19%.
  • Many speculated that the advent of COVID-19, a respiratory illness, would prompt cannabis consumers to avoid inhalables completely. However, cannabis industry wholesale marketplace Leaflink found at the start of the pandemic that inhalables remained popular. Despite flower shortages in certain critical markets such as Colorado and California, that trend persisted throughout 2020.
  • According to Ipsos 2019, which surveyed American and Canadian cannabis users, the most preferred method of cannabis consumption is smoking (61%), although 1 in 5 people prefer edibles (19%). Vaping (13%), tinctures (3%), and capsules (3%) are all less common forms of cannabis consumption. Americans (16%) are more likely than Canadians (11%) to prefer vaping, and the same is true for edibles as well, with 21% of Americans preferring them compared to 17% of Canadians.
  • Eaze found that the top three products were edibles, flower, and vapes across all age groups in 2020. Edibles took first place for Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers, while Gen Z preferred vapes. More of everyone in each group except Gen Z bought greater numbers of concentrates than in 2019.
  • Forbes reports that Roy Bingham of cannabis market research firm BDSA predicts over 3 million new cannabis consumers will purchase cannabis products in the US in 2021. He also predicts that a move away from flower and a return to more normal trends sales of edibles and concentrates outpacing flower.

CBD Products and CBD Market

CBD products are part of life for 14% of Americans

  • Since legalization in 2018 via the Farm Bill, the broad category of CBD and CBD products has taken off, becoming mainstream. That year, in 2018, “CBD gummies” was Google’s third-most searched food-related term in the US according to Year in Search 2018.
  • In 2020, the CBD market was valued at approximately $2.8 billion – GRV
  • Research from The Brightfield Group in 2018 predicts the Cannabidiol (CBD) market will be worth $22 billion by 2022.
  • According to Gallup research from 2019, 14% of all adults in the US use CBD. 20% of adults ages 18 to 19 use CBD products. People ages 18 to 29 were almost twice as likely to be familiar with CBD products as people 65 and older, with only 26% of younger adults being unfamiliar with CBD products, compared to 49% of older adults.
  • Gallup also found most common reasons for using CBD include:
    • Pain (nonspecific) – 40%
    • Anxiety – 20%
    • Sleep/Insomnia – 11%
    • Arthritis – 8%
    • Migraines/Headaches – 5%
    • Stress – 5%
  • According to Ipsos in 2019, of people who have consumed CBD in the past year, 55% consume it at least once a week. Americans also like CBD more than Canadians: almost half (48%) of American cannabis users report using CBD in the past year, compared to only 35% of Canadians.

Medical Marijuana Market

  • California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.
  • Medical cannabis is now legal in 34 US states: Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Mexico, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Ohio, Arkansas, North Dakota, West Virginia, Louisiana, Utah, Oklahoma, and Missouri. And of course 12 states also have recreational marijuana: Arizona, California, Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Vermont, Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.
  • On election day 2020, Mississippi voted to legalize medical marijuana. South Dakota legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, but the measure has been challenged in court and so has not yet taken effect.
  • The cannabis industry continues to mature, shortening the time from medical to first recreational sale significantly. According to Marijuana Business Daily, it took California 7,308 days to move from medical legalization to recreational legalization to first recreational sale, and the process started in 1996. Only 1,463 days were needed in Massachusetts for the journey that started in 2012.
  • According to Grand View Research, 2020, the American medical marijuana industry will be worth $100.03 billion by 2025.
  • The state of Maryland made $100 million in first-year sales of medical marijuana, Mjbizdaily, 2019 reports.
  • Not all states implement medical marijuana the same way. Some states such as Iowa, Texas, and Alabama implement a limited medical marijuana policy that allows patients to own CBD oil up to 3% THC.

Cannabis Market Opportunity and Value

  • The legal US cannabis industry is worth $61 billion and is now projected to be worth $100 billion USD by 2030. For reference, that is more than the annual 2020 GDPs of Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • For additional context, in 2018 Fortune Business Insights valued the entire North American cannabis market at $10.18 billion.
  • In 2019, a top Wall Street cannabis analyst predicted it’d be $80 billion by 2030. 
  • That year in 2019, according to New Frontier Data, the US legal marijuana industry was estimated at $13.6 billion with 340,000 jobs devoted to the handling of plants.
  • That same New Frontier data suggested the industry would be worth $23 billion by 2025.
  • Also for context, according to a report from Arcview Market Research, in 2016 the US had an estimated $52 billion market for marijuana, but legal marijuana sales contributed just $6.2 billion of that total from 28 medical marijuana and 8 recreational states. The remaining almost $46 billion, or 87% of that year’s sales, came from the black market and were illegal.
  • According to Global News Wire, 2020, combined legal recreational and medical cannabis sales in the US may reach $35 billion by 2025. Grand View Research, 2020 predicts a global market value of legal marijuana of $146.4 billion by the end of 2025.
  • The Marijuana Business Factbook, 2020 estimates cannabis businesses will contribute $130 billion to the US economy by 2024. The newly published MJBizFactbook predicts the total economic impact in the US from marijuana sales in 2021 will rise over 30% from last year, reaching $92 billion, hitting upwards of $160 billion in 2025. But the cannabis industry impacts multiple aspects of society and the market, so the Factbook states that each $1 spent at retail cannabis locations injects an additional $2.50 into the economy, mostly locally.
  • According to MJBiz Daily, Europe’s legal medical cannabis market was worth approximately $260 million or 240 million euros as of 2019.
  • The 2018 Fortune Business Insights report finds that the value of the global cannabis market is at least $10.60 billion. That report projects a worth of $97.35 billion by 2026. This reflects an exponential CAGR or growth rate of 32.92% over the time in question, 2019 to 2026. The 2018 report continues to predict that most of the global market will come from flower, although edibles will grow at the fastest pace.
  • 2021 data from estimates the value of the global cannabis market at $20.5 billion as of 2020. projects the global market will record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28% and reach $90.4 billion by 2026.
  • According to even newer data from Grand View Research in 2021, the global legal marijuana market was valued at USD 24.6 billion in 2020. From 2021 to 2028, it is expected to expand at a CAGR of 14.3%. The revenue forecast by the end of 2028 should reach $84 billion.
  • The adult-use segment made up 60.3% of the market revenue share in 2020 and should continue to dominate the market and expand rapidly due to high demand among millennials and others who do not qualify for medical marijuana programs. Medical marijuana will remain stable, however, growing at a healthy pace.
  • Forbes reports on Arcview Research that found the US made up 90% of the global marijuana market as of 2017. According to Grand View Research, North America made up the largest revenue share of the global cannabis market in 2020 at 91.1%, due mostly to the large customer pool and early regional legalization of recreational and medical cannabis. By 2027, expected global spending on legal cannabis will be $57 billion.

Cannabis in States

  • 2020 was the first year in Illinois for both recreational and medical cannabis sales. Recreational sales began in January 2020, and by December over 14.5 million products were sold. Total sales numbers for both medical and recreational cannabis for 2020 exceeded $1 billion dollars.
  • According to the Marijuana Business Factbook, 2020, the Florida and Oklahoma cannabis markets, each with sales expected to exceed $1 billion by the end of 2021, are growing the most rapidly across the US.
  • The Motley Fool, 2020 reports that the US states with the most cannabis sales as of 2020 are California ($3.8 billion), Colorado ($1.7 billion), and Michigan (1.21 billion).
  • Oregon is home to the most retailer licenses with over 560.
  • Colorado is home to the most dispensaries, well over 500.
  • Arizona, Alaska, Washington, New Mexico, Montana, Michigan, and Florida also all have well over 100 dispensaries each.
  • At least one Statista estimate says there are 20,000 to 28,000 marijuana businesses in the United States.
  • Despite COVID-19, states blew through sales records of prior years
  • According to Motley Fool, the US States with the highest marijuana sales in 2020 were projected to be:
    • California            $3.8 billion (mix of recreational and medical)
    • Colorado            $1.7 billion ($1.4 billion recreational, $0.3 billion medical)
    • Michigan               $1.21 billion ($299 million recreational, $909 million medical)
    • Florida                   $1.2 billion (medical only)
    • Washington            $1.1 billion (mix of recreational and medical)
    • Nevada                $960 million ($900 million recreational, $60 million medical)
    • Oregon                $831 million ($796 million recreational, $35 million medical)
    • Arizona                $804 million (medical only)
    • Massachusetts            $682 million ($451 million recreational, $231 million medical)
    • Illinois                    $543 million ($270 million recreational, $273 million medical)
  • According to the latest MJBizFactbook, economic impact from cannabis varies from state to state based on the state market’s maturity, size, and type. In 2021, California’s cannabis industry, the largest market in the US, is expected to add close to $20 billion to the local economy. In immediate years, states such as Illinois, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will inject over $10 billion each to their local economies. Developing markets in densely populated states such as New York and New Jersey are likely to look similar.
  • The Factbook also finds that per person economic impact varies. California delivers the largest total dollars, but states such as Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon all create more dollar impact per capita based on 2020 US census estimates:
StatePer person economic impact in 2021
California~over $500

Cannabis Capital

  • According to the Associated Press, in 2018 investors sank over $10 billion into the North American cannabis industry. That was twice the investment of the previous three years.
  • According to MJBizDaily, through Week 40 of 2019, cannabis industry capital investment hit $10.4 billion. That represented a 40% increase over 2018.
  • Toward the end of 2019, investment activity cooled to a normal pace, only to meet with the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. That year, capital raises and other investments into cannabis brands slowed dramatically, experiencing a 67% decline. In the first half of 2020 only $2.6 billion was raised. However, after dispensaries were deemed essential, investors showed renewed interest.
  • After the Democratic election win, capital began pouring into North American cannabis companies again. North American marijuana companies raised an unprecedented $619 million in the first two weeks of January 2021 alone, according to MJBizDaily reports based on Viridian’s tracking of closed deals.
  • In fact, the amount of money raised by cannabis companies early in 2021 was 100 times the amount raised by the industry in the first two weeks of 2016. The previous record for the same period of time was set in January 2016, and 2021 has almost doubled it.
  • Startup costs for a regulated cannabis dispensary range from $250,000 to $750,000 or in certain situations and locations more depending on things like licensing costs, supply chain issues, and vendor availability.
  • According to Cannabis Business Plans, average per square foot sales for a cannabis dispensary is $1,300 to $1,800
  • According to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, almost 90% of dispensaries and recreational cannabis retail stores, wholesale cultivators, and infused product companies report either that they are profitable or breaking even.

Cannabis Employment

  • The 2020 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide from Vangst staffing agency found that COVID-19 slowed staffing during 2020, but that hiring resumed pace by the end of the year. Vangst found that once the pandemic swept the US most companies maintained or even reduced their headcount even if they were previously planning to increase headcount in 2020. However, hiring recovered by Fall 2020.
  • As of early 2021, the cannabis industry supports 321,000 full-time jobs, according to a report from Leafly. By 2024, as more states legalize cannabis for adult recreational use, this increase of 32% from 2020 is predicted to grow to 500,000 jobs and more than $35 billion in annual sales.
  • Vangst predicts that five emerging markets will create 26,241 new jobs by 2025: Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, South Dakota, and New Jersey.
  • According to research from cannabis data-analysis and market-research firm New Frontier Data, reported by Business Insider, the US cannabis industry employs at least 250,000 people. Compare this to the approximately 52,300 Americans employed by coal in 2018.
  • A BDS Analytics study reported by Business Insider estimated the marijuana industry would grow to at least 330,000 jobs by 2022. Compare this to the approximately 268,000 workers that American iron and steel mills employ.
  • The Marijuana Business Factbook, 2020 predicts that between 2020 and 2024 the cannabis industry will generate 250,000 additional full-time jobs.
  • Glassdoor Research found 1,512 job openings in the US cannabis industry in December 2018, a 76 percent increase from the previous year over the same period.
  • Glassdoor’s December 2018 Local Pay Report found that the average cannabis worker salary was 10.7% higher than that of workers in other US industries.
  • The US median salary is $52,863, compared to a median salary for cannabis industry job openings of $58,511 per year.
  • Glassdoor also found that 53% of cannabis job openings are for professional and technical workers although increasing market demand is fueling a need for a wide variety of backgrounds and skills from accountants and regulators to plant scientists and growers to legal and marketing talent.
  • Cannabis industry jobs on Glassdoor fit broadly into three categories: professional and technical, service and retail, and labor and physical.
  • Glassdoor found that service and retail jobs are the most in-demand in the cannabis sector, led by sales associate and brand ambassador positions, each accounting for 5 percent of open jobs. Similar jobs that lean heavily on customer interaction and communication skills include budtender (1 percent), wellness coordinator (2 percent) and store manager (3 percent).
  • Many open cannabis jobs demand unique industry knowledge and skills. For example, budtenders must possess a broad and deep knowledge of cannabis products and use, while dispensary and store managers blend leadership and management with a mastery of local cannabis laws and the store’s unique products.
  • Professional and technical roles comprise 53 percent of open jobs, the majority. This is due in part to a large range of jobs in this category, which includes everything from lawyers and accountants to quality assurance and marketing.
  • Open roles for physical work or labor include delivery driver (2 percent), packer (1 percent), and security guard (1 percent). Typically, the physical, plant-touching nature of the industry necessitates many of these roles, which don’t generally require higher education or specific cannabis industry knowledge.
  • A 2021 Glassdoor nationwide search for cannabis jobs reveals well over 7,500 listings.
  • Glassdoor found that 84 percent of cannabis job openings are in small to medium businesses with less than 500 employees. This is likely due to the tenuous legal standing of cannabis discouraging larger businesses from investing as well as the highly localized nature of the cannabis market.
  • The most recent jobs numbers are better for the cannabis industry than everyone else. United States job growth for April 2021 was disappointing with only 266,000 new jobs and a rise in unemployment, but the Cannabiz Cannabis Industry Salary Guide for Q2 2021 reveals the cannabis industry is among the fastest-growing industries in America with 320,000 full-time cannabis jobs.
  • Cannabiz reports that California has the highest total number of cannabis jobs (58,000), with Colorado (35,000) and Florida (31,000) coming in second and third. Oklahoma (17,000) and Pennsylvania (16,000) finish the top 5 states list.
  • According to MarketWatch reporting on the latest Cannabis Industry Salary Guide from CannaBizTeam, experienced cannabis business managers and C-suite executives experienced double-digit salary increases in 2021.
  • Staffing firm CannabizTeam’s 2021 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide – Second Quarter Update, lists leadership positions as the hottest jobs in cannabis, including director of cultivation, director of distribution, chief financial officer, vice president of product development, vice president of retail, and vice president of human resources.
  • Because cannabis jobs are diverse, Glassdoor found salaries range from $22,326 per year all the way up to $215,384 per year.
  • In 2020, the median salary for cannabis executives grew by 10%. Through the first three months of 2021, that trend prevailed.
  • Chief executive officer (CEO) was the highest paying position in both 2020 and 2021. In 2020 the average CEO base salary was $315,450, and in 2021 that grew to $350,300, an 11% increase.
  • Chief operations officers (COOs) are next in terms of earnings, with average salaries of $257,100 in 2021, up from $232,700 in 2020.
  • Brand ambassador ($33,500) and trimmer ($32,250) were the lowest paying jobs in cannabis in 2020. Salaries increased over the ongoing year by 6% to $35,550 for brand ambassadors and by 5% to $34,000 for trimmers.

Cannabis Business In Motion

  • According to Statista, the average price of an ounce of high-quality marijuana in the US is about $320. Obviously this varies greatly depending on location, demand, growers’ choice, and strains available.
  • The 2016 data from Headset reported in Forbes says that most cannabis shoppers spend between $25 and $50 per trip to the dispensary. The average ticket is $33, with most shoppers picking up just one item or spending over $10. Only 8.2% spend over $100 on a shopping trip.
  • 2019 data from BuzzFeed indicates that most cannabis consumers in the US and Canada spend $50 or more per month on cannabis and related products.
  • Way of Leaf reports on Headset data findings that the average yearly expenditure by consumers on cannabis is $645—more than the $435 the average household spends on alcohol according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of cannabis consumers spend $500 to $2,500 annually.
  • According to data from the 2018 Marijuana Business Factbook compiled by MJBiz Daily, US legal recreational and medical cannabis revenue in 2017 was between $5.8 billion and $6.6 billion, topping combined revenue from Oreos and organic produce. Cannabis revenue was poised to rival Netflix and McDonalds revenue that year as well. Estimated total demand for cannabis, which includes black market sales and is higher than $50 billion, exceeds the $36 billion spent on video games and $19.9 billion spent on doughnuts in 2017.
  • The 2019 MJBiz Factbook found that more adults legally bought marijuana products in the US than bought hard seltzer, sleep aids, and toothpaste combined. Cannabis revenue in the US now exceeds the annual US revenue of the NBA. By 2024, total marijuana sales could surpass annual spending by Americans on craft beer.
  • CNBC reports during March 2020 when lockdowns began after the pandemic struck, revenues for 1,300 stores using Jane Technologies, an e-commerce platform, were up 52 to 130%. Wholesale marketplace LeafLink also experienced a March 2020 spike in the form of a 48% increase in orders.
  • During the stay-at-home advisories of March 2020, New York and San Francisco deemed marijuana businesses essential (NPR, 2020).

Cannabis and the Law: Updates on the Legal Cannabis Industry

  • Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis in 2012. Vermont became the first state to legalize via the legislative process rather than a ballot initiative in 2018.
  • Every 2020 ballot measure related to cannabis passed, including several new recreational markets and a few new medical markets. South Dakota became the first state to simultaneously legalize recreational and medical marijuana, although that law is pending in court.
  • As of April 2021, 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, and 16 of those states allow recreational adult use.
  • In 2019, BuzzFeed found that 60% of Americans support measures to tax cannabis and subject it to regulatory measures, and think it should work like alcohol does. Since that time, more states have begun collecting revenue, and support has likely grown.
  • According to Harvard research, almost one-in-four Americans aged 18 to 29, or 23%, “agree with the statement that they would be more likely to vote in an election where legalizing marijuana were on the ballot.” That same study found that support for legalization in this group was strong, with 44% supporting legalization, 34% opposing it, and 22% unsure. However, the authors compare their results to Pew Research polling data which eliminates the “unsure” option and finds 70% respond “Yes” and 29% “No.” Using these results to interpret this data and accounting for the complexity of the issue, the authors infer that the 22 percent of “unsure” voters would likely favor legalization by a margin of not quite two to one if asked the question in a binary way. In other words, their results are similar.
  • Several leading cannabis associations, businesses, and advocacy organizations created the US Cannabis Council (USCC) to advocate for federal legalization. The council’s mission is to advance cannabis reform, promote well-regulated markets and social equity, and work to achieve legalization at the federal level more rapidly.
  • According to the ACLU’s 2020 report, “A Tale of Two Countries: Racially Targeted Arrests in the Era of Marijuana Reform,” over half of all US drug arrests are for marijuana. There were 8.2 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, and 88% of them were possession of marijuana cases. The ACLU argues these arrests reveal a consistent trend of significant racial bias, because, “Despite roughly equal usage rates, Blacks are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.”

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Ed is a writer and marketer who has been involved with the cannabis industry since 2017. He is particularly passionate about helping small businesses succeed in the increasingly corporate-takeover environment of the cannabis industry, as well as helping people get started working with cannabis.

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