The employment rate in the cannabis industry is an enigma


The fact that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the United States, hinders the transparency of economic data

In the United States, everyone knows that the employment rate related to the cannabis industry is growing. But nobody not knows how much it grows

In fact, the increase in the rate of new jobs in the United States does not appear in the information that the federal government has. Workers from other sectors are unaware of the salaries and opportunities within the cannabis industry.

The only thing that all Americans know is that the cannabis industry generates the most jobs at this time. The federal government does not have access to many data that are only known to state governments.

It is impossible to know precisely the financial impact of the cannabis industry if the substance remains illegal at the federal level.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States rates any work related to cannabis as “unspecified categories”, such as agriculture or retail sales.

Beau Whitney, an economist in Portland, Oregon, recently published a study that analyzed the amount of new jobs and income, state by state, in the United States. The conclusions of his research work were decisive: the cannabis industry is the biggest creator of new jobs and the one that pays the best wages to its workers.

Since cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, state governments have purposely hidden 211,000 cannabis-related jobs in the United States in 2018.

The matter is absolutely absurd. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which makes a list of the fastest growing jobs industries through its Occupational Outlook Handbook, has left the cannabis industry off its list. Therefore, it is impossible to know precisely your level of growth or your potential in the future. At least it is impossible if we start from the data of the federal government of the United States government.

The summer begins and millions of young people in the United States read financial news to find out about the areas that will grow the most in the coming years. These young people want to be informed to decide what they will study to have a secure and well-paid job.

Any young person knows, for example, that the jobs of installers of voltaic solar energy will grow by 105 percent in the next 10 years. It’s a good option.

Young people also know that home health care jobs will grow by 47 percent and that employment among wind turbine technicians will grow by 96 percent during the same period of time.

And yet, these same young people have very difficult access to the labor information of the cannabis industry. In fact, this industry has grown 110% in three years and it is expected to continue increasing.

It seems absurd that the US Department of Labor does not provide this information to these millions of young people who are trying to decide what they are going to study.

On the other hand, it must be understood that the phenomenon of cannabis is relatively new. Federal agencies that follow the work and their censuses, update their data every five years according to the data provided by the Office of Management and Budget, which is directly controlled by the White House.

The North American Industry Classification System classifies workers in highly specialized sectors. To give an example, they classify in different sectors the workers who harvest the grapes than those who harvest the potatoes or carrots.

And yet, despite the fact that President Trump created his agricultural law on hemp (Farm Bill), classifications have not yet been created for works related to industrial hemp or for work related to marijuana. What has it been worth for Donald Trump to remove from list I controlled substances hemp? Why such a hyper specialized system does not contemplate these differences?

Oregon and Colorado have accounted quite accurately for the number of jobs created by the cannabis industry. However, Washington, which legalized recreational marijuana five years ago, made the final calculation in 2017.

The Oregon Department of Employment tracks 33 different types of businesses that are considered complementary to legal cannabis. In the first quarter of 2018, 669 companies hired 5,038 employees who received around 37 million dollars in wages.

However, some experts believe that these data are not correct because, according to them, 31539 people had an active cannabis license to work in the industry in Oregon. The average annual salary in this state was $ 29.62 per hour, which is $ 2.67 higher than the state’s “real hourly wage” average, which is $ 26.95 per hour.

Of course, the citizens of these states know reality. For this reason, Denver restaurants complained last year that they could not get employees because the cannabis industry paid them much more.

In Florida, more than 175,000 people obtained their card to access medical marijuana since the state created its medical program in 2018. But it is estimated that the number will increase to 250000 by the end of 2019.

Florida’s minimum wage is $ 8.46 per hour. However, average salaries in the cannabis sector were $ 15.99 per hour in 2018.

According to a private study, the five states with the highest number of jobs related to cannabis in the United States are:

Washington had 33,591 jobs related to cannabis in January 2019, which implies a growth of 36 percent in 2018, year in which there were 26,556 jobs.

In Colorado, jobs related to the cannabis industry grew by 17 percent so far in 2019. In total, 4595 new jobs were created compared to 2018.

Medical cannabis jobs in Florida grew by 703 percent, from 1290 in January 2018 to 10358 a year later.


In Nevada, jobs doubled in 2018. Last January there were 11766 jobs.

Arizona created 5120 new medical cannabis jobs in 2018, reaching 11370 jobs in the month of January 2019.

And the greatest is yet to come. The state of Illinois has become the number 11 in the United States to legalize recreational marijuana. The new law will come into force on January 1. Without a doubt, recreational marijuana will create new jobs.

In this state the growth in the use of medical cannabis increased to 3020 new direct cannabis jobs in 2019. How far will the figure with recreational marijuana? It is expected that up to 200 new recreational marijuana dispensaries will be created by the end of 2021, as well as new indirect businesses.

As the industry grows, states can be clearer in reporting their data, so that new jobs can be tracked more transparently.

Canada, which already legalized recreational marijuana, also uses the US job category system. Therefore, it could serve as a guide to track jobs in the cannabis industry.

In early 2019, Oregon asked the Bureau of Labor Statistics to create fields in its Quarterly Employment and Salaries Census software to track eligible jobs in the marijuana industry, related to manufacturing, agriculture and sales, confirmed the Department of Labor. They know where those jobs are. But they do not have a system to classify them; for now.

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