Oregon Economist Beau Whitney Releases Cannabis Jobs Report

One of the most troubling aspects of current marijuana policy in this country, even in those states that have legalized marijuana, is the continuing job discrimination faced by those who smoke marijuana.

12,500 Cannabis Jobs in Oregon Generating $315 Million in Wages

OREGON: Cannabis industry economist Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics today released the results of “Cannabis Employment Estimates,” a report compiled at the request of the Oregon State House of Representatives Committee on Economic Development and Trade on the number of jobs associated with the Oregon cannabis industry and a projection of the economic impact the industry is having on the state.

“On a national basis, the $50 billion cannabis market is essentially the equivalent to the U.S. wine market ($55 billion),” Whitney said. “And there are more than 1,000 businesses in Oregon that touch cannabis. I suspect that this is a very conservative estimate based on limited data from the Department of Employment and the OLCC.

In summary, Whitney’s report found:

  • As of February 21, 2017, there are 917 OLCC licensed cannabis businesses and an additional 1,225 applications for a cannabis business. 2,142 in total. The Oregon Employment Department lists 776 cannabis businesses inOregon
  • There are approximately 12,500 jobs associated with the cannabis industry in Oregon. These are jobs that directly touch cannabis and are not jobs associated with auxiliary businesses such as security, regulatory, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. This is a very conservative estimate and these numbers are expected to increase once the more detailed analysis is completed
  • At an average wage of $12.13/hour, the total annual wages associated with these jobs are $315 million. With a multiplier of 4, this implies that there is $1.2 billion in economic activity related to these wages

The report does not extend into the supply chain for “shovels or picks,” meaning lights, greenhouses, insurance, real estate, accounting, security, etc.

“At present, I feel there are roughly 300,000 – 400,000 cannabis-touching jobs in the USA,” Whitney said. “That number will grow to more than a million as more states come online as legal markets. Cannabis is a job-creation machine.”

Whitney said a more comprehensive jobs report will be researched and published later in 2017, but this initial update should demonstrate the cannabis industry is a powerful force in the Oregon economic engine.

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