More than 18,000 full-time jobs were created by Colorado’s booming legal marijuana market in 2015.
Colorado’s legal marijuana market generated 18,005 full-time equivalent jobs in 2015, according to a new report by the Marijuana Policy Group. Researchers from the Denver-based economic and policy consulting firm examined two years’ worth of cannabis industry numbers to calculate the market’s recent growth and economic impact. They calculated that Colorado’s marijuana industry had created 14,209 jobs the year prior, in 2014.
According to the report, 12,591 of the jobs created by the cannabis market in 2015 were directly involved with the marijuana businesses, with employees hired by growing operations, product manufacturers, and cannabis retail stores and dispensaries. Retail stores and dispensaries hire clerks (“budtenders”) to manage sales transactions and administrative assistants to handle data-entry and general business duties. Growing facilities employ “trimmers” to hand-trim the cannabis plants, agronomists to oversee cultivation, and administrative staff to handle data-entry and compliance requirements. Product manufacturers need factory floor crew members, machine operators and chefs.
The remaining 5,414 positions were generated by ancillary services associated with the cannabis industry or by the additional housing, food and entertainment expenses of marijuana employees and proprietors. The ancillary jobs created by the booming marijuana market include positions like construction specialists, consultants, legal and advisory personnel, commercial real-estate agents and security guards.
The Marijuana Policy Group report found that the legal marijuana market in Colorado had a total of $996 million in sales and an economic impact of $2.39 billion in 2015. The industry’s continued growth since the legalization of adult use marijuana in 2012 has been well recorded, with recent reports estimating that the market will hit over $1.2 billion in sales in 2016, up 33 percent from the year prior.
“Legal marijuana demand is projected to grow by 11.3 percent per year through 2020. This growth is driven by a demand shift away from the black market and by cannabis-specific visitor demand,” the MPG report reads.
Colorado pulls in a significant amount of money by taxing recreational and medical marijuana. The state applies a 2.9 percent sales tax to both medical and retail marijuana sales, and an additional 10 percent special sales tax to retail sales.
“In 2015, marijuana was the second largest excise revenue source, with $121 million in combined sales and excise tax revenues. Marijuana tax revenues were three times larger than alcohol, and 14 percent larger than casino revenues,” reads the MPG report.
The tax and license fee revenue Colorado collects goes to school construction, the state’s general fund and to a Marijuana Tax Cash Fund that allocates funds to several state departments. Over the past year, Colorado collected a surplus of $66 million in marijuana tax revenue and decided to use a portion to help combat bullying in schools. The city of Aurora is using some of its excess tax revenue to support its homeless residents.
You can read the full Marijuana Policy Group report here.