The cannabis industry has been one of the fastest-growing industries in the country, and as it grows, it has been employing more and more Americans. The industry now employs between 165,000 and 230,000 full- and part-time workers, according to estimates published in the Marijuana Business Factbook 2017. By comparison, there are around 201,000 dental hygienists working in the U.S., about 238,000 telemarketers, and 169,000 massage therapists.
These estimates were calculated using surveys to determine the average number of employees for every kind of business in the industry. Employment data from wholesale growers and cultivators, edibles or concentrates manufacturers, retail stores and dispensaries, testing labs, and many other canna-businesses were collected and analyzed.
This data was then applied to the estimated number of canna-businesses in each canna-legal state in order to come up with the estimated number of employees. Although this is only a rough estimate, it does show that this growing industry has serious potential to drastically increase employment in the United States.
Most of these employees are currently working for small businesses and startups, but the number of people working for each company has slowly been rising as more states legalize. If the federal government were to decrease restrictions on the cannabis industry or legalize it altogether, the overall national employment would likely rise as the industry shifted from small state-based businesses to larger nationwide enterprises.