Over the past few years, Puerto Rico has been experiencing economic issues that could culminate in the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history. Puerto Rico is currently struggling to repay over $70 million dollars in debt. Fortunately, the medicinal cannabis industry has been offering ways to solve the economic issues. Other states that now have legal marijuana businesses have been successful at creating more jobs and generating revenue.
Whenever you hear about job growth in the United States, the industries mentioned usually revolve around the technology sector or health care of some sort, when in fact, some of the largest growth is happening in the cannabis industry. Even though not every state has legalized the use of cannabis products, it is still one of the fastest growing markets in the country. The cannabis industry employs over 211,000 full time workers in the United States, and that’s not including jobs with an indirect link to the industry. In the past year, 64,000 jobs were created –a 44% increase — and another 20,000 are expected to be created in California and Florida alone.
In the state of Florida, the number of medicinal cannabis patients rose from 65,000 to 165,000 in the past year. This in turn led to an increase in more than 9,000 jobs in the cannabis industry alone over the same time period. These numbers could increase even more if Florida also legalizes the adult use of cannabis, thereby increasing the demand for the product.
The highest concentrations of jobs in the cannabis industry are in states where both medical and adult use is permitted, such as Colorado and Washington. The jobs that are created are not only dispensary jobs, but also professional and technical workers such as lab workers, marketers, accountants, and tax experts. All of these professional positions make up more than half of the new workforce, which leads to a median annual salary of $58,511, almost 11% higher than the overall U.S. median.
The Department of Labor and its Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t count the number of jobs related to the cannabis industry due to the fact that cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug in the eyes of the federal government. It is even considered to have no medical value, which just goes to show how far behind the government is with the new emerging industry. Therefore, it is up to third party businesses to keep track of statistics and jobs in the medicinal cannabis industry.
An undeniable fact about the new marijuana laws is that they’ve allowed the cannabis market to boom. In 2018, legal cannabis sales increased by 34% nationwide to $10.8 billion. Even though most states now have some form of legal cannabis use ,the states that are still holding out are now considering decriminalizing the plant. Washington D.C. and ten other states have also lifted prohibitions against recreational cannabis use by adults.