marijuana

The state of Wisconsin is among 16 states with no legal cannabis industry jobs, according to a study by Leafly, a website that provides information about marijuana and connects licensed retailers to consumers. 

The state has not approved either recreational or medicinal marijuana products and thus has no legal cannabis sales, the report states. 

Nationwide, the $10.7 billion legal cannabis industry supports the equivalent of 243,700 full-time jobs, according to the Leafly analysis, as of the beginning of 2020. Such jobs are increasing at a rate of 15 percent per year in the United States, the study said.

Moreover, Leafly concludes that cannabis-related jobs are growing faster than the employment growth that’s occurring in the nation’s other industries. Yet the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics does not tabulate the number of jobs supported by legal marijuana, according to the analysis. 

Wisconsin remains an outlier

In late 2017, Wisconsin passed a bill establishing state licenses for farmers  to grow industrial hemp. Hemp is a category of Cannabis that contains 0.3 percent or less THC, which is the main psychoactive compound of marijuana.

Retailers across the state began selling CBD oil, the most profitable product derived from hemp. CBD is used to treat seizures, pain and other medical conditions.

But hemp does not deliver the "high" associated with smoking marijuana, or the medical benefits. Still Wisconsin voters appear to strongly approve both. In the 2018 midterm elections, pro-cannabis referendums passed overwhelmingly in the 16 counties and 2 cities in which they on the ballots. Up to 88 percent of voters supported the use of marijuana for medical purposes and 76 percent supported it for recreational.

Only 16 states prohibit marijuana use for either one or both of those uses. Illinois and Michigan have legalized it for both.

Wisconsin's 2018 referendums were only advisory, meaning they were not binding by law. Then, as now, the state's Republican Legislature firmly opposed marijuana for any use.

Notably, marijuana legalization is supported by Tony Evers and Josh Kaul, who were elected governor and attorney general, respectively, defeating anti-marijuana candidates Scott Walker and Brad Schimel in 2018.

Number of Legal Cannabis Jobs per State

State / JurisdictionNumber of Legal Cannabis JobsEstimated Annual SalesRank
California39,804$2,030,000,0001
Colorado34,700$1,770,000,0002
Washington23,756$1,210,000,0003
Oregon18,274$800,000,0004
Florida15,598$800,000,0005
Arizona15,059$709,000,0006
Nevada14,305$730,000,0007
Massachusetts13,255$700,000,0008
Oklahoma9,412$480,000,0009
Illinois9,176$470,000,00010
Pennsylvania8,765$406,000,00011
Michigan8,235$420,000,00012
Maryland6,353$324,000,00013
Ohio4,275$220,000,00014
Alaska3,559$181,500,00015
New York2,941$125,000,00016
New Mexico2,549$130,000,00017
New Jersey2,356$120,000,00018
Montana1,800$92,000,00019
Arkansas1,777$90,000,00020
Connecticut1,372$60,000,00021
Missouri1,100N/A22
Rhode Island1,098$50,000,00023
Minnesota764$39,000,00024
Hawaii745$35,000,00025
Delaware720$37,000,00026
New Hampshire441$22,500,00027
Maine400N/A28
Washington, D.C.390$19,000,00029
Vermont266$14,000,00030
North Dakota200N/A31
Iowa120$6,000,00032
Utah100N/A33
Louisiana90$5,000,00034
West Virginia30N/A35
Alabama0$036
Georgia0$036
Idaho0$036
Indiana0$036
Kansas0$036
Kentucky0$036
Mississippi0$036
Nebraska0$036
North Carolina0$036
South Carolina0$036
South Dakota0$036
Tennessee0$036
Texas0$036
Virginia0$036
Wisconsin0$036
Wyoming0$036

Source: Leafly.com

Louis Weisberg contributed to this story.

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