The cannabis business is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. today. As more states make cannabis accessible, opportunities for entrepreneurs and customers alike are expanding practically overnight. However, staffing increases don’t yet reflect this reality.
The reason for this is complicated. Obviously, nothing about the past year has been “normal,” and that’s reflected in the cannabis jobs market. Here’s what you need to know about the current outlook for jobs in this industry.
The Pandemic and Cannabis
The start of 2020 saw some of the brightest times for cannabis in the past century. As many states continued to expand access to medicinal and recreational cannabis, entrepreneurs gained the opportunity to start new businesses in a market hungry for the chance to buy.
When the pandemic lockdown took hold in March 2020, however, the situation became complicated. Many cannabis businesses relied entirely upon in-person cash sales because of federal laws and regulations limiting cannabis financing. Dispensaries and cannabis growers faced challenges because customers and employees had to visit physical locations to play their part in the industry.
But the cannabis field is full of innovators, so it didn’t take long for these companies to find workarounds. The industry bounced back almost immediately through masking, following strict hygiene guidelines in dispensaries and production facilities, and creating well-oiled curbside pickup programs.
That spirit of innovation is part of why 2020 was such a successful year. While there was absolutely a period of struggle in March and April, the industry added more than 77,300 new jobs by December in the U.S. Despite the pandemic, that’s still more than double the growth seen in 2019. However, despite that impressive growth, hiring still lagged behind the dramatic increase in revenue in 2020.
Legalization and the Future of Cannabis
Part of the reason for this growth rate was that several states legalized recreational cannabis for the first time. Illinois made it legal in January, for example, and many businesses expanded in the state despite the pandemic.
In comparison, states like California with well-established cannabis markets saw much lower levels of job growth. Washington state, where cannabis has been legal for several years, added only 524 jobs through 2020.
It’s possible to take several things away from this. First, legalization leads to a massive boom in jobs over the first few years as new businesses pop up and companies from out of state establish new locations. Second, cannabis jobs are remarkably stable — even a pandemic wasn’t enough to close the industry down. Third, once cannabis businesses are established and stable, job growth slows dramatically.
Get In on the Ground Floor
It should come as no surprise that it’s harder to break into an established industry. However, the outlook for jobs in the cannabis field is by no means poor. Plenty of states still have not yet opened their doors to cannabis and are poised to make a change.
Whether you want to expand your business or start a new one, there’s never been a better time to join the cannabis field. Working with Bespoke can help you get the dispensary loans you need to get in on the ground floor and grow with the industry.