Because cannabis remains illegal at federal level, the US government refuses to report on the jobs boom in the legal cannabis industry – but Leafly has has done the maths and reveals that it is “currently the greatest job-creation machine in America”.
There are 211,000 full-time jobs in the industry, with 64,000 added in 2018 alone, growing by 44%, following 21% growth in 2017.
“We expect at least another 20% growth in jobs in 2019. That would represent a 110% growth in cannabis jobs in just three years.”
This compares to projections over the next 10 years for jobs for home health care aides to grow by 47%, wind turbine technicians by 96%, and solar voltaic by 105%.
Democrat Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Don Young, members of the House of Representatives, joined forces on Thursday to present the US Congress with a bill to decriminalise cannabis and remove it from the list of dangerous substances where it persists under an “archaic” federal anti-drug policy.
While some states have already legalised cannabis use, continued federal-level prohibition has resulted in “over-criminalisation and mass incarceration” and is “wasting billions of dollars” said Gabbard, who represents Hawaii.
Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran, said many former service members struggling with post-traumatic syndromes or chronic pain from wounds are left “with no other choice than to be given highly addictive opioids when many of them would choose medical marijuana if given the opportunity”.
The bill aims to resolve the “contradiction between state and federal laws creating disorder in our economy and leaving state-licensed businesses and banks in confusion and uncertainty”, Gabbard said.
Cannabis professionals have no access to the banking system and are likely to be prosecuted by tax authorities, Young said.
Young and Gabbard also introduced a second bill on the collection of data on cannabis. It would authorise studies about the effects of local legalization policies on health, crime or the economy. Some of this research is currently prohibited, while other studies are currently based on hearsay, said Young
Both texts must be voted on by the House of Representatives and then the Senate. If approved by each chamber and then endorsed by the White House they will become law.
New Mexico could become the 11th US state to legalise recreational adult cannabis use in July after the New Mexico House of Representatives voted in favour of the move.
The bill, whose prime sponsor is state Rep. Javier Martinez (Democrat), now heads to the Senate, where it has to clear three more committees.
House Democrats tweeted that in the first year, legalisation “will create 11,000 jobs and bring in more than $70 million in tax revenue”. They also tweeted that House Bill 356 will invest in substance abuse treatment programs, community public and road safety, as well as education
For the first time in the US, the bill would attempt to create state-run dispensaries.
Olivia Newton-John has said that medicating with cannabis has “helped incredibly with pain maintenance and sleep” during her battle with breast cancer
Newton-John was diagnosed for a third time in 2017 and is being treated for stage four breast cancer. Doctors say the 70-year-old’s condition is incurable, but she is managing it through treatment. Newton-John said she has decided to use “everything she can” to get stronger.
“It’s an amazing plant, a maligned plant, but it’s helping so many people,” she said.
“My husband hands me all these herbs every morning and makes me a green algae drink,” she explained. “He grows the plants and makes them into liquid for me. I take drops maybe four to five times a day.”