On May 23, 2017, the Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Research Division released the most recent results of its marijuana employment tracking, identifying rapid growth in the recreational sector.
Marijuana Employment Assessment
According to the OED’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the OED found that 3,506 individuals were employed at 440 reporting firms during the fourth quarter of 2016, with the employees earning a combined total of $22.2 million in wages and an individual employee earning an average annual wage of $25,340.
With 25 industries identified as having some degree of participation in the state-legal marijuana market, the OED noted that the greatest number of firms and employees were in the “other services” category, the coding category for marijuana dispensaries, with 250 firms and 2,290 employees.
Agriculture is the second most populated industry in the marijuana market and producers fall under this category. With 1,422 producer applications submitted as of May 15, the producer license is the license type with the most applicants. Marijuana employment in manufacturing came in as the industry with the highest annual wage, averaging $35,128.
Marijuana Employment Outlook
According to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Dispensary Sales Report 2016, state dispensaries logged $79.4 million in medical marijuana sales and $215.3 million in recreational sales in 2016, generating $66.3 million in marijuana tax revenue for the year.
With the Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast cautiously optimistic about marijuana tax revenues continuing to rise, paired with the prospect of new firms opening, there may be increased demand for marijuana employees.
“We are seeing rapid growth in the recreational marijuana industry and at the same time transition from medical to recreational sales,” said Brian Rooney, a regional economist with the OED.
“We know that the 3,506 workers at 440 firms listed with OED’s QCEW program are a minimum that doesn’t include sole proprietors or new firms started since January 2017. Looking at licenses from OLCC, we can assume that there will likely be at least 2,500 firms in the near future,” Rooney added.