One of the biggest selling points of marijuana legalization is that it creates a taxed and regulated industry that generates jobs. In my home state (Oregon) the cannabis industry has already generated over 12,500 jobs, and that figured doesn’t even include ancillary cannabis industry jobs. That statistic is also from six months ago, so I think it’s safe to say that the number has increased. A lot of the jobs are in areas that have been hard hit by economic downturns in the past few decades, so they are especially welcomed.
The federal government is going to start releasing cannabis industry employment data beginning next month. The announcement was included in an article by Arkansas Online, and was recently tweeted out by Tom Angell. Below is an excerpt from the article:
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics will begin releasing data Sept. 6 under an updated jobs classification system that details marijuana wholesalers, stores and grower employment, David Hiles, an economist with the bureau, said in an email.
That’s a significant milestone for an industry that didn’t even exist not long ago, especially considering that the federal government still prohibits cannabis and categorizes it as a Schedule I substance. I am very curious to see how the federal job statistics compare to ones put out by industry publications. At the beginning of this year Leafly estimated that the cannabis industry had created 122,814 full-time jobs. In June Marijuana Business Daily put the figure as high as 230,000, but with the caveat that their statistic included part-time employment too.
The federal government’s statistics, whatever they end up being, need to be heavily scrutinized by cannabis advocates and industry members to ensure that they are fair and accurate. The feds could really throw some shade at the cannabis industry and movement by releasing data that is skewed in a way that could be used to downplay the size of the emerging cannabis industry. I am not saying that will be the case, but as history has shown the federal government is not above putting out information about cannabis that is misleading or outright false. We shall find out what the new data is soon enough!