New Report Ranks Oregon 4th in Cannabis Jobs

The cannabis industry in Oregon has suffered from an oversaturated market and downsizing, but a new report from Leafly, a cannabis guide and industry magazine, suggests that Oregon’s industry has stabilized.  

Oregon ranked 4th overall in cannabis jobs, behind states with more mature industries like California, Colorado and Washington. Leafly’s report, based on data from 2019, shows sustained growth in Oregon, with approximately $800 million in combined medical and recreational sales and 18,274 full-time jobs. The industry has added more than 5,000 jobs since 2018.   

DIFFERENT STATE FIGURES, SAME TREND: A report from the Oregon Department of Employment, which only looks at jobs covered by unemployment and may exclude some dispensaries, shows similar growth. The OED tracked 5,784 cannabis jobs in 2018, versus 6,786 in 2019.  

NATIONAL GROWTH: Markets in Washington and California faced a similar overcorrection in 2018 and 2019, but cannabis remains a booming market. This growth is expected to continue as many states implement medical marijuana legalization and states like Michigan and Illinois enter the recreational market. More than 33,700 jobs were added in 2019.  Per Leafly’s report, the legal cannabis industry is valued nationally at $10.73 billion and supports 243,700 jobs.   

INDUSTRY COMEBACK: In 2018, the OLCC reported that Oregon had grown enough cannabis to satisfy demand for 6 years. Faced with a bumper crop and plummeting wholesale prices, several Oregon cannabis companies laid off employees. Cannabis prices began to rise late in 2019, and many growers were able to recoup by selling off their supply to extract and edible producers. The federal legalization of hemp in 2018 and the rise of CBD products in 2019 allowed many growers to pivot from the oversaturated cannabis market to hemp.   

By Kevin Davenport-Rackham