Apart from the energy industry, the cannabis industry appears to be the fastest-growing sector in the United States. According to a recent report, 243,700 Americans are fully employed in the legal cannabis industry in the early part of 2020, with about 33,700 jobs added in 2019. The cannabis industry has seen 100% growth since early 2017, making this industry the fastest growing sector in the whole country.
Cannabis legalization in the USA
This growth has been attributed to legalization of cannabis for medical use in the USA (33 states), while 11 states, including Washington D.C., have legalized the use of cannabis among adults. The wide range of products available in the market today has caused states like Colorado and Washington that moved early to adopt cannabis legalization to experience steady growth. This means more customers get into the market daily.
However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has been hesitant to recognize the cannabis industry in its national economic database due to the federal prohibition that is still in place.
The report author stated that: “If the U.S. government doesn’t count your job, it simply means your job doesn’t count.” However, the cannabis industry is an economic growth catalyst and it will remain for years.
Older cannabis investments are becoming more established in 2020, and there are dramatic growths and expansion in areas around the country- showing that legal cannabis is not just longer a regional phenomenon. There’s also a spike in hiring in newly legalized as more folks get comfortable with cannabis and supporting legal dispensary sales.
Key Points to Note:
- Commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except Vermont and the District of Columbia;
- Washington and Colorado, the two older markets in the nation, both continued to experience an annual 8% growth, showing that mature markets win customers from illicit markets and continue to gain new customers like CBD-curious customers and older adults;
- Massachusetts, which stands as the first legal adult-use market, experienced a 333% growth rate and created more than 10,200 new jobs in 2019. This means the market is worth $676 million in 2019 and has the potential to grow to as much as $700 in sales by the end of this year;
- Oklahoma has medical sales tripling to $350 million, and one in 20 Oklahomans is having a registered medical cannabis card;
- Pennsylvania doubled the number of jobs in the cannabis sector in just one year;
- Florida experienced a 93% growth in 2019 after permitting the sale of cannabis flowers to qualified medical patients. Now the cannabis industry employs more than 20,000 people throughout the state. Currently, Florida has the largest population of registered marijuana patients, with over 300,000 state residents actively enrolled in the program- and raising the market value to about $800 million.
What is the realistically attainable growth for the cannabis industry could maintain without running into problems? An industry that grows too quickly may find it difficult to maintain growth. An industry that grows too slow may stagnate.
The sustained growth by the year is notable, considering the challenges faced in the cannabis industry in 2019, including the EVALI health crisis, financial downturn, and restrictive banking regulations. The 15% growth in the market may seem slow compared to the past years, but it is considered substantial growth in any legalized industry.