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Cannabis industry supports nearly 450,000 jobs

Plus, Ohioans could buy legal weed as soon as June

Good morning.

On yesterday’s Cultivated Live, Jay and Jeremy discussed the weakness of the 63-year-old United Nations treaty argument against legalization. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to agree with us.

What else? 

We’re looking forward to tuning into a webinar honoring the work and life of cannabis pioneer Dr. Ralph Mechoulam, at 2pm EST. And, if that wasn’t enough — we’re also going to tune in to the Drug Policy Alliance’s webinar about federal rescheduling.

Let’s get to it. 

- Jeremy Berke & Jay Rosenthal

💡What’s the big deal?

Legal cannabis jobs grew over 5% last year

What happened: There are bright spots in the industry, despite the doom-and-gloom.

The legal cannabis industry supported over 440,445 full-time or full-time equivalent jobs in 2023 — a 5.4% increase over the year prior, with much of that growth coming from new markets, according to cannabis recruiting firm Vangst’s annual jobs report produced in conjunction with Whitney Economics. 

Cannabis sales are rising, too. Retailers sold about $28.8 billion worth of cannabis in the US last year, a 10.3% increase from 2022.

That’s all despite the federal government continuing to classify cannabis as a Schedule I illegal drug. 

What they’re saying: “When we started Vangst, there were less than 50,000 full-time employees in the cannabis industry. Less than a decade later, there are 440,445 full-time employees in cannabis, a number that will continue growing,” Vangst CEO Karson Humiston said. 

Where it’s growing the fastest: Michigan and Missouri posted the biggest job gains in the US, each adding more than 10,000 jobs.

New York and New Jersey added 2,050 and 4,870 jobs respectively. Western states with relatively more mature cannabis markets like California and Colorado experienced the most job losses, a pattern that regulators and policymakers would be wise to heed.

The report shows that Ohio — which is set to begin retail sales later this year — New York, New Jersey, and Maryland will be the hot job markets in ‘24, the report expects. 

Forecasting: The industry expects about 9% revenue growth next year, and more expansion as many expect lower interest rates to catalyze more investment. 

It’s not all roses: Still, despite the growth expectations, 82% of cannabis companies are struggling to get paid and more vendors are delaying invoices as a cash crunch percolates through the industry. 


📊 Chartable

79% of Americans live in a county with at least one cannabis dispensary, according to the Pew Research Center.

Yet still, the federal government considers cannabis a Schedule I drug.

🥊 Quick hits

Cannabis sales in Ohio are set to start as early as June, multiple outlets are reporting, thanks to an expedited, dual-track plan that will allow medical cannabis dispensaries to start selling to all customers, from the state’s Division of Cannabis Control

The cannabis banking bill, SAFER Banking Act, might get paired with Stablecoin legislation, in an odd twist, as Politico reports. 

Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize cannabis ahead of a committee hearing on cannabis reform set for today. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Amen Brown, is “grounded in safety and social equity.”

Cannabis information site Weedmaps sent notice that it is out of compliance with the Nasdaq after failing to file a form 10-K on time. The company said the delay was due to a change in the executive leadership team.  

Relief for New York’s embattled cannabis growers in the state’s 2024 budget appears to be in jeopardy, reports Syracuse.com. The Recompense Fund would have helped ailing growers with up to $128 million in loans, grants, and tax credits — but according to sources, it’s not in the final budget. 

A group of 20 senators introduced a resolution condemning Russia for arresting US citizens on the one-year anniversary of American journalist Evan Gershkovich’s detention. As part of the letter, the senators called out Russia for detaining Pennsylvania resident Marc Fogel for 14 years over a small amount of medical cannabis.

📈 Deals, launches, partnerships

Cannabis company MariMed is sponsoring two iconic Boston music venues, including the House of Blues Boston and Music Hall Fenway. 

Phylos Bioscience is partnering with I Love Growing Marijuana to introduce 15 new cannabis strains in time for 4/20.

📰 What we’re reading

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