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
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Louis Weisberg contributed to this story.