Although recreational marijuana has been legal in Oregon for about six years, the industry continues to see job growth. Meanwhile, California's marijuana job numbers decreased in 2019.
That’s according to a new report by Leafly, a Seattle-based cannabis publication and phone app, which recorded a 20 percent increase in marijuana industry jobs in Oregon last year.
Leafly uses state data and market sizes to estimate the number of full-time equivalent jobs in the legal marijuana industry — including farmers, trimmers, and botanists, as well as administrative staff. It doesn’t include workers who primarily work with hemp or CBD products.
The report measured about 18,200 marijuana industry jobs in Oregon last year. Its growth surprised researchers, since marijuana overproduction has caused many Oregon entrepreneurs to turn their attention to hemp.
Oregon’s job growth could indicate that consumer patterns are evolving.
“People who have not traditionally defined themselves as marijuana smokers, or folks who are in an older age category, are finding new products that actually work for them,” Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott says.
Microdosing edibles — like gummies and chocolates with tiny amounts of the high-inducing chemical THC — have become popular, and that could be contributing to an increased demand. Still, Barcott expects marijuana job growth in Oregon to start cooling off in the coming years as more workers switch over to the hemp industry, which is federally legal and therefore has fewer regulatory restrictions.
A Different Story In California
Leafly's report estimates that California had 39,800 marijuana industry jobs last year — the most jobs than any other state. Still, the state experienced its first-ever decrease in marijuana industry jobs.
California legalized recreational marijuana in 2016. Since then, jobs in the industry have skyrocketed.
Barcott says the slowed growth in 2019 was likely due to technical changes in state law — as well as local restrictions.
“One of the things that California is dealing with is that two-thirds of all municipalities — that is, counties or cities — in California don’t allow legal stores,” Barcott says.
California lost more than 8,000 marijuana industry jobs in 2019. Still, Barcott expects some cities to start allowing these businesses to open up shop, so Californians could expect some job growth in the coming years.