Nevada Cannabis Workers Overwhelmingly Male, White in Executive Positions
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Nevada Cannabis Workers Overwhelmingly Male, White in Executive Positions

A demographic survey revealed that boards of directors have the largest gender and race workforce gaps in the state’s industry.

March 17, 2022

Black and female workers are represented in Nevada’s legal cannabis industry but not nearly at the same rates as white males for higher-level positions, according to a recent study.

In the state’s cannabis workforce as a whole, 52% of workers identified as white, 22% as Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin, and 12% as Black, according to a demographic survey completed in January 2022 by Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB).

In addition, 55% identified as male, 39% identified as female and the remaining 6% preferred not to respond or did not identify with either gender.

The survey was sent to 15,936 agent registration card holders—those who legally work in the state cannabis industry—as of Jan. 1, 2022, with a 42% response rate of 6,690 surveys submitted, according to CCB.

While overall race and gender demographics didn’t steer too far from the state’s broader population, the survey results showed major gaps for workers holding executive-level positions.

Among six position categories in the survey—owner/manager, board of directors, executive board member, officer, employee, consultant—the largest gender and race gaps were associated with those who identified as members of a board of directors.

Among 95 respondents in that category, 69.6% were white, 4.4% were Black, and 5.4% identified as Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin.

In addition, 83.7% identified as male, while 14.1% identified as female.

Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board | ccb.nv.gov
CCB did note that the response rate for industry executives in the owners, officers, and board members categories was much higher at 70% (510 surveys completed out of 724).

In comparison, the 5,531 respondents in the “employee” category were 50% white, 13.2% Black, and 23.3% Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin.

Among all respondents in Nevada’s cannabis workforce, 45.3% of workers who revealed their age were 25 to 34 years old. The next largest age group was 35-to-44-year-olds, who represented 19.8% of the state’s workforce.

The latter age group, however, dominated representation in the executive board member category: 35-to-44-year-olds (37%); 45-to-54-year-olds (25.9%); 65-to-74-year-olds (13%); and 55-to-64-year-olds (9.3%).

Among all respondents, 47.7% said they worked in a cannabis sales facility, 39.9% in a cultivation facility, 25.3% in a production facility, 10.9% in a support facility (consultant, delivery driver, vendor, etc.), 9% in a distributor facility and 3.4% in a testing lab. (Respondents could choose multiple choices).

As of the beginning of this year, 761 active licenses or certificates had been issued to 215 entities, including 93 dispensaries, in the state, according to CCB.