Coronavirus is stimulating a wave of new job opportunities in the U.S. cannabis space


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

In the midst of national economic downturn, the rise of cannabis couldn’t have come at a better time. Despite the virus pandemic that has slowed much of the global economy down, medical and adult-use cannabis sales are on-track to reach at least $15 billion in 2020. 

This is according to Marijuana Business Daily’s Annual Marijuana Business Factbook, which predicts that sales will soar almost 40 percent this year. Moreover, cannabis employment could provide approximately 300,000 full-time positions, suggesting a 50 percent increase from 2019.

As one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S., it’s believable that the Marijuana Business Factbook’s estimates which foresee U.S. cannabis industry employment creating as many roles as the beverage and computer programming markets are correct.  

Coronavirus is encouraging new job opportunities in the U.S. cannabis market

When government departments deemed the cannabis industry to be “essential business” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a lightbulb went off in the minds of business owners and investors. Why? Steady cannabis revenues even after coronavirus stimulus funding was cut indicated the sheer demand for legal cannabis in the United States.

From cannabis companies to ancillary services/businesses, such as attorneys and packaging providers, the industry has not slowed down since the coronavirus outbreak. If anything, it has stimulated the expansion of workforces to serve the thriving consumer demographic.  

Things are certainly headed in the right direction. With demand for legal cannabis at its peak, cannabis staffing firm Vangst claims that 68 percent of companies will boost headcount during the second half of 2020.

“Remote hiring for non-plant-touching roles is becoming increasingly common, in keeping with many other sectors, and new employee safety protocols and procedures on the plant-touching side are absolutely shifting the workforce experience,” said the Founder and CEO of Vangst, Karson Humiston. “Interestingly, though, we’re also seeing a lot of candidates coming in saying that the recession – and either the loss of their last role or the inability to find a new one – was the nudge they needed to actively seek work in the cannabis industry. These candidates have been curious about cannabis for quite some time but hadn’t been motivated previously to make the transition from a mainstream career that previously felt more stable and less risky.”

In an effort to address inequalities in the U.S. cannabis market, activist groups are pushing lawmakers to introduce social equity programs that will allow the industry to further flourish. These social equity programs grant under-privileged people an opportunity to enter the ever-evolving legal weed space through qualifying for benefits and gaining job assistance.

“Many of the candidates we’ve seen come in lately have expressed a high interest in companies that embrace social equity in their hiring practices or actively champion the cause itself. We’re hoping this continues,” continued Humiston, who noted that her company is demonstrating evolution amid COVID-19 by switching to convenient e-commerce services that can effectively serve customers who are bound by social distancing measures something that will ultimately reflect on workforces.

More employment opportunities expected as new U.S. cannabis markets blossom

Currently, just 11 states have legalized adult-use markets. When the plant eventually becomes legal on a federal level and is legalized across all 50 U.S. states, there’s a good chance that employment opportunities will extend far beyond other more mature industries.

A handful of U.S. states will vote on cannabis legalization measures at the November elections, including Arizona (adult-use), Mississippi (medical), Montana (adult-use), New Jersey (adult-use) and South Dakota (measures for medical and adult-use). 

Successful votes will surely lead to increased interest from professionals who are keen to profit from the lucrative market. In the meantime, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fuel the U.S. cannabis market from strength-to-strength