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2024 Forecasts a Green Wave: The Cannabis Industry's Hiring Surge and the Rise of Retail Opportunities

Updated: Mar 31

The cannabis sector is on the verge of a significant employment surge in 2024, with projections showing substantial job additions within the next year, particularly among retail cannabis enterprises.

Following a downturn characterized by layoffs and slow economic growth, the U.S. cannabis sector is anticipated to experience a vigorous hiring spree in 2024, as highlighted in the latest salary guide from cannabis employment platform Vangst.

This resurgence is a reaction to a previous shrinkage, attributed to the stabilization of consumer habits post-COVID and a decrease in investment funding spurred by escalating interest rates.

Despite previous negative forecasts, the industry witnessed a commendable 12% increase in legal sales, hitting $29 billion in 2023, as reported by Vangst. This recovery, alongside the anticipated federal reclassification of cannabis, is poised to spark job creation, particularly as new state markets emerge and existing ones undergo consolidation.

Vangst forecasts that the reclassification of cannabis to Schedule III could lead to the creation of up to 100,000 new jobs, a change that would lessen tax pressures and instantly boost company valuations and investor engagement, based on Viridian Capital Advisors' analysis.

The retail sector, in particular, is poised for significant employment growth, with 93% of retail companies surveyed indicating plans to expand their workforce in 2024.

"An impressive 90% of companies surveyed are gearing up for hiring in 2024, with two-thirds of retail entities aiming to recruit at least five new staff members in the upcoming period," Vangst stated.

Moreover, the report highlights a widespread optimistic outlook towards hiring within the cannabis industry, with 86% of companies planning to grow their teams. Businesses are now seeking candidates who possess direct industry knowledge and the flexibility to navigate the quickly evolving legal and market environments.

Emphasis is increasingly placed on cultural alignment and communication abilities, rather than solely on traditional skills such as professionalism and problem-solving.

As the demand for employees climbs, so do the salary scales, with top salaries witnessing a 4.7% increase, surpassing the average growth rate outside the cannabis industry. However, the provision of non-salary benefits is still not on par with other sectors, with only 74% of cannabis businesses offering comprehensive benefits packages, affecting employee contentment and retention rates.

"The takeaway is clear: candidates in the cannabis industry are seeking health insurance and a balanced work-life," the report emphasizes.

Efforts toward diversity and inclusion are also becoming more prominent in cannabis recruitment strategies, with nearly half of the companies surveyed implementing D&I initiatives. The industry employs a considerable number of veterans and individuals with disabilities, reflecting a diverse workforce, though there's a call for further advancements in this area.

The quest for higher wages, improved benefits, and greater opportunities for career advancement is prompting employees to look for new opportunities outside their current roles.


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