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

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.


Occams_Razor_Trader Mr. Universe Tue, 06/06/2017 - 06:39 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Mr. Universe

Mtnrunnr skbull44 Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:47 Permalink

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.

In reply to by skbull44

Beowulf55 Chuck Walla Wed, 06/07/2017 - 19:44 Permalink

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.

In reply to by Chuck Walla

jaxville Still Losing Money Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:37 Permalink

  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.

In reply to by Still Losing Money

OregonGrown jaxville Tue, 06/06/2017 - 02:18 Permalink

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.  

In reply to by jaxville

datbedank Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:31 Permalink

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 Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:32 Permalink

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 silverer Tue, 06/06/2017 - 01:56 Permalink

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.

In reply to by silverer

nukegm Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:37 Permalink

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

Georgiabelle nukegm Thu, 06/08/2017 - 19:28 Permalink

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.

In reply to by nukegm

LN Mon, 06/05/2017 - 21:38 Permalink

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?LN