According to estimates by Leafly, the legal cannabis industry has created over 211,000 direct jobs across the US and over 64,000 nationally in 2018 alone. Leafly also estimates that the US has a total direct, indirect, and induced job count of about 296,000. Of those 296,000, about 67,000 are in California with about 48,000 direct jobs. Leafly estimates that California will add over 10,000 jobs to the legal cannabis industry in 2019. Leafly also suggests that legal cannabis sales make up less than half of the current market in California. As consumers move away from the illicit industry, the legal market will see huge growth in sales and jobs.
The legal Cannabis industry "is currently the greatest job-creation machine in America" according to Leafly: the legal cannabis industry is expected to have a 110% growth in jobs from 2017-2019. In these 3 years alone, legal cannabis is expected to have greater growth than the fastest growing single jobs from other industries are expected to have over 10 year periods (Solar Installers - projected 105% growth from 2016 to 2026, Wind Turbine technicians - projected 96% growth from 2016 to 2026). Leafly also compares cannabis job growth of 44% in 2018 alone to the 2018 US manufacturing sector job growth of 2.7% which was labelled a "roaring comeback".
Our own estimates using county licensing data and information from local cultivators suggest that Santa Barbara county currently has about 4,889 direct jobs from legal cannabis cultivation as well as 1,123 indirect and induced jobs for a total of 6,012 jobs. With only about 30% of land licensed for cannabis cultivation in the county being actively cultivated, we expect the number of jobs to continue to rise as more licensed land becomes active. Additionally, these estimates don't include jobs from cannabis distributors and retailers, so the number of jobs created by the legal cannabis industry as a whole in the county are expected to be even higher.
Using information from several local cannabis cultivators, we estimate that local cultivators employ about 16 employees per acre of cultivation with an average income of $65,000. Vangst, a cannabis specific recruiting platform, analyzed the most popular jobs on their platform and each job's average salary, and their salary averages seem to match up with our Santa Barbara County estimations. Vangst also analyzed benefits for all cannabis jobs posted on their platform.
According to ZipRecruiter, an average worker in the agricultural industry in Santa Barbara County makes about $58,000 a year. This number includes salaries from managers, engineers, and others who work in the agriculture industry but don't do any form of cultivation or field work (which are usually higher than salaries of field workers). Still, in Santa Barbara County the average cannabis cultivator makes about $7,000 more per year than the average agriculture worker.
According to University of California research, the average yearly salary for a farm field worker in California is between $20,000 and $30,000. As such, the average cannabis cultivation worker in Santa Barbara County makes more than double the average income of a California farm worker. Many farm workers also don't work year-round because of the seasonal nature of farming; cannabis cultivation can be done year-round in most cases, so cannabis cultivation jobs do not see this seasonal unemployment.