After Legalizing Weed, Unemployment In Colorado Has Collapsed To Record Lows

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Carey Wedler via,

Three years after legalizing cannabis, Colorado has the lowest unemployment rate in the country. “While the national unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in May, the lowest since 2001, Colorado’s jobless rate is the nation’s lowest at 2.3 percent,” CNBC reported Monday. According to Governor John Hickenlooper, multiple factors have contributed to Colorado’s job growth, including the state’s business-friendly policies. He touts the state’s very low business tax rate, noting Colorado has “one of the lowest business income tax levels at just a little over 4.6 percent.” This approach has helped create over 60,000 jobs in the clean energy sector, a fact that should please both business and environmental advocates.

One of the main factors in Colorado’s successful economy, however, is undeniably the cannabis industry.

Last year, cannabis generated $1.3 billion in profit, which yielded nearly $200 million in tax revenue that the state is using for various programs, including education, substance abuse and cannabis awareness programs for youth, and even the Attorney General’s office.

[ZH: As the following chart shows, since Colorado Amendement 64 was passed (leading to legalization in Jan 2014), Colarado's unemployment rate has accelerated lower dramatically faster than the nation... and at 2.3%, Colarado is at a record low]

Further, with over a billion dollars in business, jobs undoubtedly follow.

In 2015, alone, the state’s cannabis industry created 18,000 new full-time jobs. As the Washington Post reported:

These indirect impacts of marijuana legalization came from increased demand on local goods and services: growers rent warehouse space and purchase sophisticating lighting and irrigation equipment, for instance. Marijuana retailers similarly rely on other companies, like contractors, lawyers and book-keeping services, to conduct their own businesses.”

That growth has continued.

In July of last year, CBS reported that according to the Marijuana Business Daily, “Colorado now has 27,000 occupational licensees, up from about 16,000 at the end of 2014, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.

Though clean energy jobs currently outnumber on-the-record cannabis jobs by roughly 35,000, the speed of job creation appears far quicker with weed. According to the Denver Business Journal, for example, the clean energy sector created 1,583 new jobs in 2014. By comparison, the Marijuana Business Daily reported in May of 2014 that less than six months after legalization, the cannabis industry had already generated between 1,000 and 2,000 new jobs — roughly the same number of jobs as clean energy created in the course of the whole year.

Further, according to a 2016 Clean Jobs Colorado report by the organization Environmental Entrepreneurs, Colorado already had 62,000 clean energy jobs in 2015 — roughly where it rests now — making that industry’s growth apparently slower than the 18,000 new cannabis-related jobs the Post reported for the same year (it’s important to note, however, that some of these jobs already existed but were part of the black market and were counted as “new” when the industry was legalized).

This is promising news not just for Colorado, but the broader market. “Cannabis-related companies now employ an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 full and part-time workers, according to a new report by Marijuana Business Daily,” CBS noted last year.

As Business Insider pointed out in March, California, home to the world’s sixth largest economy, fully legalized marijuana last November. Its state capital region alone could see 20,000 jobs created if it becomes a hub for the industry.”

According to a report from the New Data Frontier, which focuses on cannabis industry data, there could be as many as 283,000 jobs in cannabis by 2020. Business Insider points out that this figure will outpace the manufacturing industry, which is expected to lose 814,000 jobs by 2024.

In Colorado, where Governor Hickenlooper initially opposed legalization but changed his mind when he saw the positive results, there are yet to be serious negative consequences. Though Hickenlooper told CNBC it’s still “too soon to know” what the downsides may be, he remained optimistic. “We don’t see more people doing more marijuana in Colorado after legalization. It’s through a regulated process now,” he said.

But we haven’t seen a big spike in teenage consumption, we haven’t seen a big spike in any consumption.”

It appears the only spike so far has been in jobs, coupled with other forward-thinking developments like the growth of the clean energy sector and the freedom for businesses to thrive.

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Still Losing Money's picture

bullshit numbers, they were bullshit under obama but they suppsoed to true and accurate when talking about trump, pot or whatver else the alt right favors. sorry, STFU

erkme73's picture

Pretty simple.  When you're stoned,  you don't mind doing mundane low-paying work - painting houses, mowing lawns, etc.   In fact, getting high actually makes those jobs kinda fun... or so I've heard.

skbull44's picture

It's all the fast-food restaurants that have opened...

Mr. Universe's picture

In Peru the Incas chew coca leaves all day to make the tedious work of their subsistence lives tolerable. It works for them.

FrankDrakman's picture

In east Africa, they chew khat, and in SE Asia, they take kratom. They all do the same thing as you suggest - take your mind off the tedium. 

847328_3527's picture

I read United has a home base in Denver and those pilots are always so happy they circle several times aournd the city just for fun ... until the bong wears off.

Mr. Universe's picture

The sad thing is here in the US is it's not Pot that has taken this place, it's Meth.

Eager Beaver's picture

The anti-Cannabis retards here always crack me up, fucking confused Republican idiots don't realize where y'all are, do you? Alt-Right? Please. Here's a little tidbit from the author of this article, enjoy:

Delving Eye's picture

Not that he has anything against pot, but my chiropractor grew up in Colorado and says his nice little town is now over-run with spaced-out flakes in beatup cars from out of state. All the charm is gone and it's unpleasant to walk anywhere. Just sayin'.

Occams_Razor_Trader's picture

Soooo Colorado is turning into Colofornia?

Occams_Razor_Trader's picture

In their natiural state the leaves have other compounds that buffer the effects of the dominant compund. The buffer moderates the effect and also the potential addicition. Chewing the leaves would have a very mild effect that would be sustainable- without craving skittles!

Turning poppy pants into morphine- makes it highly addictive without the natural buffers.

StychoKiller's picture

Hmm, poppy pants,  are those like parashoot pants?

Too much of anything isn't good for you -- "all things in moderation."

Mtnrunnr's picture

I live here and that is a bold-faced motherfucking lie. If you arent, black, a female or know someone you're working the floor in retail. granted, thats better than most other states.. at least we still have some retail. This job market is complete bullshit. I'm considering a sex change. you know. for diversity.

FrankDrakman's picture

You don't need one; just say you self -identify as a Muslim woman. Wear a veil or something, you'll be fine. 

847328_3527's picture

Best is a black-muslim-women-disabled-refugee. That's checking off all five boxes for ya. The gubmint still forces employers to hire some groups and fulfill quotas.

That combo may even get you a manager postion at Starbucks with no experience or education needed!

Chuck Walla's picture

I've been to Maggie's Farm in Manitou. It's a kinda surreal experience, but excellent products. I should move there.

Beowulf55's picture

Maggies Farm in Manitou Springs is a highpriced tourist rip off...Surreal is right, they make yhou take a number and wait to enter through the "Green Door"......

There are other rec places in the Springs that are a hell of a lot cheaper.  Denver is even cheaper.

Med Center Strawberry Fields in Old Colorado Springs has pot half the price and THC levels testing out at 30%.  Plus tax rates are cheaper on medical.

kermudgen's picture

I heard the same thing these last few weekends.

jaxville's picture

  Already tax revenue from pot is leveling off.  The retail price of legal weed is far too high.  People who grow their own are selling their surplus and are not too concerned with collecting taxes or keeping the price as high as legal dealers.

  Grey market product will soon be causing tax revenue to fall.  That will also be exacerbated by other states legalizing, reducing interstate demand.

Mtnrunnr's picture

It's pretty obvious you don't live here. people love legal weed. if anything it might be leveling off because other states are legalizing it, Grey market pot isn't as common as you'd think.

jaxville's picture

  I don't live there but it is obvious that you don't know many people in your community.  Grey market pot is becoming more prevalent and licensed dealers are starting to feel the pinch.

  You should find yourself a decent connection and save a pile of dough.

OregonGrown's picture

I am one of the 400 licensed dealers here in the state of Oregon and I must think that I have my finger on the pulse of retail marijuana market and know it better than most. Know that the average age of the person coming into my shop is 55 years old.  They love cominginto my well lit up shop which employs smart, well spoken people that have a passion for the plant as well as knowledge of its lineage as well as effect.  People love picking whatever top shelf choice flavor they desire from 20 different top shelf strains on my shelf that they know has passed state mandated testing for molds and pesticides.   Know, this is BY FAR our best year on record and I only see our brand getting more and more recognition = sales.  

Mr. Universe's picture

So is what your are saying (I can't believe it myself) is that when commerce is free from government tyranny it flourishes? The hell you say!

That can't be true, it's against everything I've ever read in a newspaper, seen on TV or heard from our representatives.

SilverRoofer's picture

It's the Hail Storms we have had the last 4 years and it continues this year as well

rent slave's picture

If they tried to legalize sports betting,$heldon and $teve would call out the Mossad as they did in NJ.

max2205's picture

Dude where's my car 

101 years and counting's picture

dude.....where's my uber.  a better headline: CO: land of the stoned deadbeats.  where you get paid by uncle sam to get high,

datbedank's picture

Correlation does not equal causation. Even in the damn graph you show Tylers, the trend was already established BEFORE amendment 64 was signed.

I'm all for removing the laws on weed and ending prohibition, but this is a poorly written article. Do better Tylers. 

silverer's picture

Yes. Likely since all the previous job seekers now just sit around getting stoned, the unemployment numbers don't count them, same as what happened for the eight years Obama shelved the economy.

Mtnrunnr's picture

people love living here and the age graphic demographics are much stronger here. That was all happening before weed and follows the jobs data very well. But it's pot. 

silverer's picture

It all sounds great until they create and put robots to work in the industry. The other issue is that like casinos, everyone jumps into the business until the market is saturated and profits become so diluted you actually start to see a shakeout. Same old, same old.

HRH Feant2's picture

Yep. That is what happened in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia). The farmers planted tobacco, a cash crop, rather than food. That caused the market to be flooded and prices dropped. The last I heard Zimbabwe was attempting to get white farmers that knew how to grow food to return to their farms. Was that successful? I doubt it.

On the other hand the prices for foodstuffs increased due to limited supply.

IndyPat's picture

Everyone's selling weed.

Åristotle's picture

They highly recommend it.

nukegm's picture

i live here in colorado. the homeless population around boulder has exploded since legal weed.

heck, they even tag team the drive thrus of fast food places - one on the drivers side with a sign , and one on the passenger side, also with a sign.


in between cell phone calls...


and the whole place smells 24/7

Mtnrunnr's picture

that is 100% true, although I blame the increase in homeless to the 1k plus rent a month, and the wild cost of living

847328_3527's picture

Who needs a house, Dude?


Just light up, sit back and you'll feel right at home whatever bridge you're under.

HRH Feant2's picture

I don't eat fast food but that has to suck. We have them on corners in my area. Sad.

Georgiabelle's picture

There are very few major intersections in Boulder County that don't have at least two panhandlers "working it". And the Pearl Street Mall is ridiculous...I think there are more panhandlers than customers and tourists combined. Part of the problem is the legal weed, but another honeypot is that Boulder has what is reputed to be the nicest homeless shelter in the country, which kind of kills the incentive to get a job and an apartment.

LN's picture

God gave all plants bearing seeds to man for his use.  Is someone surprised, that when you get our Gooberment out of the way things work better?


unsafe-space-time's picture

And satan created a mutation that produces thc. Heard of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? It was packed with thc

LN's picture

Show me in any BOOK where Satan created anything.  Dumb Fuck.


H H Henry P P P Paulson's picture

Start with page 1 of On The Brink, written by yours truly.

LN's picture

Former Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson?  Former Secretary of the Treasury?

You actually bought this book?

The first rule of holes, when you find yourself in one drop the shovel...


Delving Eye's picture

I give you Ray Dalio's "Principles." Now there's something created by Satan.

FrankDrakman's picture

You really don't know anything about weed, do you? Watched "Reefer Madness" once, and thought it was a dcoumentary?

Alcohol causes more deaths, more diseases, and more crime than weed ever has. Ask any cop, fathead. 

OregonGrown's picture

As per the CDC, 88,000 people died from an alcohol related death......  


Who has died from a marijuana related overdose/deaths 0


But.... Every 19 minutes someone in the USA dies from an opioid overdose..... 

wet_nurse's picture

There is only one God you heritic. 

Dwellerman's picture

The tree of knowledge was more likely packed with psilocybindimethyltryptamine, D-lysergic amides and probably a few opiates.... But nah, THC wasn't included as that is just hemp, an every day plant used for just about everything, when it's legal.