While there’s been much hype from Washington about the strong labor market and low unemployment rate in the United States, one aspect of these numbers has been completely ignored by the government–namely, the massive role of the legal cannabis market in creating new jobs.
According to a new report by Leafly and the consultancy group Whitney Economics, the United States has added over 211,000 full-time jobs in the legal cannabis industry, with over 64,000 of these full-time jobs being added in 2018 alone.
The report said:
“Amid the roiling debate over American jobs, the legal cannabis industry remains a substantial and unrecognized engine of grassroots job creation … In 2019, America’s cannabis industry is one of the nation’s greatest economic success stories. That success deserves to be recognized and celebrated.”
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The marijuana industry added 64,389 jobs in 2018, an increase of 44% from the year before, according to a new report from the cannabis website Leafly and Whitney Economics.#marijuana #WeRisetoLegalize #WeRiseNY pic.twitter.com/6FlR12KzbK
— We Rise To Legalize (@risetolegalize) March 16, 2019
When one takes into account indirect cannabis-related jobs such as lawyers, accountants and others, the number of people working “weed jobs” full-time rises to nearly 300,000.
In 2019 alone, California is expected to add over 10,000 cannabis jobs while Florida will add 9,500. The numbers contribute to a 2017-2020 expansion of the cannabis workforce by about 110 percent.
This means that cannabis is set to be the largest and fastest job creator in the country, with the second-fastest growing U.S. job belonging to solar voltaic installers, whose numbers will only increase by 105 percent over the course of a decade.
California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medical use in 1996, and 33 other states have since done the same. Ten states along with Washington, D.C. have freed the herb almost entirely, allowing adults over 21 to partake in the recreational use of cannabis. In 2018, legal cannabis sales increased by over one-third to $10.8 billion.
— Leafly (@Leafly) March 5, 2019
And as more states are expected to continue doing away with antiquated prohibitionist laws barring medical and adult recreational use, the number of new jobs created is projected to rise by leaps and bounds in what the report calls “America’s hidden job boom.”
“There are now more legal cannabis industry workers than dental hygienists in the United States,” the report said.
But the report also noted:
“And yet some jobs seem to count more than others. Political pundits still argue over jobs saved or lost at Carrier’s Indiana factory. Job-count dips in the coal mining industry are treated like lost national treasures, while other industries disappear without notice or mourning. “
Yet the fact that cannabis remains technically illegal under federal law means that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has refused to consider these to be real jobs or to factor these very real job gains into official statistics and reports.
And while job growth has bogged down in February, according to the bureau, the cannabis industry has prospered.
DataTrek Research co-founder Nick Colas said in a statement quoted by CNBC last week:
“U.S. marijuana legalization is a rare example of disruption creating jobs rather than destroying them … With the U.S. labor market recently showing signs of weakness and fears of an eventual recession in the wings, this is one industry that might soften the blow of an economic downturn.”
A recent poll by Pew Research Center also found that 62 percent of U.S. residents– including 74 percent of millennials–favor an end to the prohibition of cannabis, signaling an emerald dawn across the once cannabiphobic United States.
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