Study: Allowing Cannabis Dispensaries Increases Local Employment Rates

A recent study found cannabis legalization had no negative effect on Colorado’s labor market and that allowing state-licensed cannabis dispensaries leads to an increased local employment rate.

Full story after the jump.

A study investigating Colorado data shows that the legalization of adult-use cannabis did not negatively affect worker productivity and in fact, the counties that allowed cannabis dispensaries to open saw an increase in employment rates.

Using eight years of Colorado data, researchers found unemployment went down in green counties when compared to counties with bans on the industry. Additionally, the study — which was first covered by Marijuana Moment — found the increase in jobs was largely tied to increases in the manufacturing sector in “green” counties.

“In terms of jobs, it is clearly the counties with the recreational dispensaries that benefitted most after Colorado legalized adult-use cannabis,” study co-author Avinandan Chakraborty said in a press release.

Because there was no negative effect on wages or the labor force, authors said that any possible negative effects related to increased cannabis access and/or use — things like “decreased job performance” and “reduced efforts to find employment” — are “limited.”

Researchers say their work can be used as a predictor for New Mexico‘s adult-use cannabis rollout, which is scheduled for April 2022.

“Our results suggest that, by preventing counties from banning dispensaries, New Mexico’s approach to legalizing cannabis will yield more widespread employment benefits than those experienced in Colorado. In fact, we may already have begun experiencing some of the benefits as producers begin preparing for dispensaries to open in April 2022.” — UNM co-author Sarah Stith, in a press release

The analysis was done by a team of researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) and California Polytechnical University.

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