Now that Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia have decided to join Colorado and Washington in the great statewide marijuana experiment, members of the business community predict the cannabis industry is poised to become an economic salvation for thousands of America workers by way of creating new jobs. With two states currently operating legal pot markets, two others green-lit for a launch, along with 23 medical marijuana states, both sectors continue to spawn an increasing need for employees to run various operations.
Cable television mogul, Bruce Nassau, who employs around 75 workers in several Colorado dispensaries, recently told Bloomberg that he expects to hire nearly 25 more by the first of the year. He also plans to fill additional positions if he and his syndicate can get a foot in the door of the medical sector set to get underway in Illinois and Nevada. “It’s an entirely new industry. It’s incredible – and there are many, many jobs,” he said.
As with any industry, the average worker is essential to the success of an operation, and the business of marijuana is no exception. Recent data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment indicates that the Centennial State’s cannabis industry employed over 3,500 people between January and March of 2014, which is a 14 percent increase from the end of last year. In addition, the Colorado Department of Revenue reports that well over 12,000 workers have been issued occupational licenses since the start of the recreational market.
A recent report from the Brookings Institution said the cannabis industry is an excellent opportunity for young people without a college education to escape the clutches of minimum wage. Most Colorado dispensaries offer employees a starting salary of $10 per hour, which can mean a substantial raise for workers trying to make ends meet on the state’s $8 minimum. What’s more is the cannabis industry offers better opportunities for advancement than, say, the restaurant business, providing ambitious workers with the possibility of earning between $14-20 per hour.
With Colorado as an example, it is easy to see that thousands of new jobs will be created as a result of Alaska and Oregon having legalized recreational marijuana, not to mention all of the newly formed positions to come in light of recently passed medical marijuana laws.