Are the NY cannabis industry job projections realistic?

The cannabis industry is booming in New York City. But many wonder how much of this growth can be attributed to the legalization, and whether the projections are realistic. There’s no data on job opportunities for budtenders or quality control specialists, but there could be an opportunity for those who want a steady paycheck without having to deal with transportation challenges that come with working at dispensaries.

The “highest paying jobs in new york state” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer to the question is highly dependent on what you are looking for and where you live. Some of the highest paying jobs in new york state include those in the cannabis industry.

Are the NY cannabis industry job projections realistic?



When Governor Kathy Hochul started appointing key marijuana regulatory officials, she emphasized the industry’s potential to produce “thousands and thousands of jobs.”

According to studies, the recreational marijuana market in New York will generate tens of thousands of employment. According to a survey released last year by economic policy and labor market analysts, the business might employ roughly 51,000 people by 2027, earning $2.2 billion per year.

As some cannabis investors have discovered, industry estimates may be exaggerated, but two experts who have monitored cannabis employment in other legal states believe 50,000 jobs earning middle-class salaries sounds reasonable. The time it takes for the state to attain that figure, on the other hand, may be heavily influenced by policies that impact supply, demand, and pricing in the sector.

According to Beau Whitney, founder and chief economist of Portland, Ore.-based cannabis research and consulting company Whitney Economics, “a lot of the job development potential hinges on the sort of regulatory framework New York imposes.”

“I could easily see 50,000 employment by 2025,” Whitney added, “but that relies on whether you can convince New Yorkers to engage in the legal market.”

According to Whitney, who co-authored Leafly’s cannabis employment study for 2022, entry-level jobs at cannabis firms pay rather well. Entry-level retail and cultivation employment, including as budtenders and trimmers, may earn up to $50,000 per year, according to Whitney.

According to statistics from ZipRecruiter, the average cannabis sector salary in Massachusetts is about $68,000. According to ZipRecruiter statistics, workers in New York’s medicinal marijuana sector earn an average of little over $65,000.

Some may find the concept that individuals in lower-level retail and agricultural industries may earn comparable wages to those in numerous professions that need a college diploma confusing, and potentially unsustainable. And, given that drivers got better money per mile at the dawn of ridesharing applications than they do now, it’s reasonable to wonder whether a similarly nascent business — cannabis — may follow suit.

However, Catharine Morisset, a Seattle employment attorney and co-chair of Fisher Phillips’ cannabis practice department, said salaries in Washington, which legalized adult-use marijuana a decade ago, have not decreased. In reality, wages in the retail sector have increased.

“These occupations began off as simply earning minimum wage, and then when you saw higher quality stores – or those attempting to compete – they shifted to a minimum fixed salary plus tips” model, according to Morisset.

Although dispensary tips aren’t comparable to those made by waiters at high-end steakhouses, Morisset said that a budtender earning $30 per hour once gratuity is taken into account isn’t unusual.

Lower-level cultivation employees, according to Morisset and Whitney, get relatively high hourly compensation. Whitney said he paid trimmers between $20 and $25 per hour when he owned a grow business, partially out of principle and partly because lesser compensation leads to people not turning up.

The cannabis business looks to be providing employment that pay middle-class salaries equivalent to manufacturing, but without the need for apprenticeships or lengthy training programs, according to Morisset.

According to ZipRecruiter, the typical entry-level wage in the cannabis sector in New York is slightly under $44,000. According to ZipRecruiter, entry-level manufacturing jobs in New York pay about $30,000 on average.

“I believe that entry-level retail employment are quite highly paid,” Morisset added.

“Someone who works for a grower – the trimmers or people who perform the extractions – can be educated pretty rapidly in how to do it, and they’re wonderful entry-level jobs.”

According to Whitney, the number of cannabis sector employment in New York will certainly increase to over 50,000 in the future years, but the rate at which those jobs are created will be primarily determined by legislative choices.

According to Whitney, one of the most important drivers in employment development is the quantity of legally cultivated marijuana available to serve the state’s adult-use business. An undersupply of marijuana, as well as an overabundance, would have detrimental consequences.

“If there is a greater demand for something than there is supply for it… Prices will stay high, people will continue to use the black market, and you will not meet your employment and tax forecasts,” Whitney said.

“You could get a lot of people to apply for licenses, but they won’t succeed.”

As a result, restricting the canopy size of cannabis enterprises may stifle employment development at permitted firms.

On the other side, as Oregon has seen, an excess of cannabis may push prices down, harming producers’ and merchants’ bottom lines.

For the first year, Whitney estimates that New York will need around 425,000 pounds of marijuana to meet demand.

According to Whitney, New York’s THC-based tax might have a detrimental impact on employment development. He thinks the tax system will force prices too high and retain users in the legacy market, which is not taxed. Similarly, if the state only permits a small number of dispensaries, users may continue to buy from unauthorized dealers simply because they don’t want to drive far.

“When it comes to job generation and business formation in cannabis, high taxes, restricted access, and limited canopy are the true deal killers,” Whitney added.

So, although Whitney believes the cannabis sector in New York will create tens of thousands of good-paying employment in the future years, he doesn’t believe it will do so right now.

“I don’t think we’ll have a lot of success in the near future,” Whitney remarked. “In fact, I’m advising my customers to tread carefully in New York and not get too far ahead of themselves.”

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