The cannabis industry is riding a pandemic high: Marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities — deemed “essential” by many states at the beginning of the pandemic— became an early refuge for retail and restaurant workers who had been furloughed or laid off. The industry has continued to grow, adding nearly 80,000 jobs in 2020, more than double what it did the year before, according to data from the Leafly Jobs Report, produced in partnership with Whitney Economics.
An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the industry, a 32 percent increase from last year, the report found, making legal marijuana one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors. In other words: The United States now has more legal cannabis workers than dentists, paramedics or electrical engineers.
Many Americans reassessed their jobs and career prospects as the pandemic reshaped their social and working lives. Retail workers in particular are quitting at record rates, in search of consistent hours, better benefits and more opportunities to advance — which many say they’re finding in the legal cannabis industry.
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