Legalization of marijuana in Oregon has created at least 2,165 jobs and will add more as the market matures, a new report suggests.
Nearly $46 million in payroll will be paid to retail cannabis employees statewide in 2016, according to the “Oregon Cannabis Jobs Report,” sponsored by cannabis industry consulting firms New Economy Consulting and Whitney Economics.
By comparison, Oregon’s beer, wine and liquor sector employed 1,450 people and paid $28 million in wages in 2015, according to Employment Department data.
The department estimates there are nearly 2,500 dispensary employees statewide.
But the industry report delves beyond employment numbers and into potential effects of the cannabis industry. It concludes the market is “much stronger” than previously thought.
The total economic impact of paying cannabis workers could be in the hundreds of millions, said Beau Whitney, one of four authors of the report. As cannabis workers spend their wages, they cause an economic “ripple effect,” he said.
Other key findings of the report include:
- About $46 million in payroll to retail cannabis workers is expected in 2016, with a potential economic effect of $196 million by 2017 year-end.
- Up to 27 percent growth is anticipated in retail cannabis jobs by the end of 2017, based on high-growth projections.
- The cash-only nature of business makes it difficult to provide benefits to employees.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees marijuana business licensing, has received more than 950 license applications. Ten have been granted.
The report’s authors gathered their data by conducting confidential telephone and online surveys of dispensaries registered with the Oregon Health Authority.
The survey achieved a 55 percent response rate. Its margin of error is +/-10 percentage points.