Oregon’s Cannabis Industry Generates $46M in New Wages, New Report Finds

A recent report estimates that the booming legal cannabis industry has generated thousands of new jobs and millions in wages for Oregonians since the state began selling legalized adult use marijuana last fall. The cannabis industry in Oregon has generated 2,156 new jobs and $46 million in wages in the state of Oregon, says a new report by cannabis consulting companies New Economy Consulting and Whitney Economics. Oregon legalized adult use marijuana in 2014 after voters passed Measure 91, but legal dispensary sales didn’t begin until October 1, 2015 after Gov. Kate Brown signed an emergency bill that allowed adults to purchase marijuana from medical dispensaries. The state adopted medical marijuana legislation in 1998. The recently published “Oregon Cannabis Jobs Report” used data collected from telephone and online surveys of dispensaries registered with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). Surveys were conducted between December 9, 2015, and January 16, 2016, just months after the launch of adult use sales. The state’s legal cannabis industry is projected to continue growing at a steady pace, the report claims. Estimated monthly sales of adult use and medical cannabis totaled nearly $11 million in September 2015 and almost $23 million in October 2015, representing a 112 percent increase in a month’s time. Recent figures provided by the Oregon Department of Revenue show that the state sold an estimated $27 million worth of adult use marijuana since the beginning of the year, blowing out initial predictions from economists. By 2017, the industry is expected to have an overall economic effect in Oregon of $196 million. Cannabis employees are predicted to pull in almost $100 million in 2017, and they’ll spend their wages, causing an economic “ripple effect” throughout the state. “The key finding of this report is that the market is much stronger than might have been imagined, and the economic impact to Oregon is considerable,” the report reads. Dispensaries that offer both recreational and medical marijuana experienced greater growth than the dispensaries that service medical marijuana patients only, the report found. Certain local governments have imposed restrictions to not permit new cannabis retail establishments following the adult use law change, opting instead to allow only the already established medical dispensaries to continue operation. Of the 2,156 new jobs created, 1,347 were full time positions (62 percent). Most of the full-time positions (65.1 percent) were generated from dispensaries that sell medical and adult use marijuana. The report did indicate that one of the main challenges currently facing dispensaries is the inability to provide employees with benefits. Only 28 percent of full time dispensary employees receive benefits. Because banks are unwilling to service legal cannabis businesses, most cannabis businesses are forced to operate with cash-only transactions, making it difficult to offer benefits to employees. Cannabis employment opportunities and wages will continue to grow in Oregon, the report estimates. Using the assumptions that the total number of licenses issued by Oregon Liquor Control Commission could have a low growth scenario of 850 total licenses, a medium growth scenario of 880 total licenses, or a high growth scenario of 984 total licenses, the state would experience a 9, 13 or 27 percent respective job increase by the end of 2017.]]>