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Look For The Union Label, When You Puff On That Legal Weed

It’s no secret: Cannabis is the talk of the nation and, in New Jersey, marijuana is all the rage. From the taxes that expanded legalization will bring into the state, to how many mergers of growers and distributors will happen before a single extra plant is grown, everyone wants to be involved in this exciting opportunity.

One topic that has not been given enough attention by politicians is the potential creation of thousands of jobs through the Legislature-approved expansion of medical cannabis, and — fingers crossed — pending legalization of adult recreational use.

It’s clear that expansion at any level would bring an incredible economic opportunity for the working class of New Jersey. In April, Forbes magazine estimated that there were 211,000 full-time employees in the U.S. cannabis industry. If you include auxiliary industries, such as the accountants, marketing staff, lawyers, etc., that marijuana firms must hire, the employment volume soars to 296,000. Furthermore, the industry added approximately 65,000 jobs — a 44% increase — in 2018 alone.

With both Stockton and Rutgers universities already taking the lead in education for the cannabis trade, why shouldn’t these prepared workers be able to walk right into a union career when they graduate? This could help attract professionals from around the country and contain the infamous “leak”of people leaving New Jersey. Forbes estimates that, by 2024, cannabis jobs, in positions such as “budtender” and head grower, will outpace job creation in manufacturing, utilities and even public-sector jobs. College graduates who obtain a union-wage cannabis career should be able to pay back those notorious student loans.