The legalization of adult-use marijuana in Colorado increased jobs and did not negatively impact worker productivity, according to a new study based on eight years of data from the state. Researchers also found that unemployment fell in counties in which dispensaries opened, compared to counties in which dispensaries did not open. And overall employment increased, particularly in manufacturing, as a response to dispensaries opening in a county. “In terms of jobs, it is clearly the counties with the recreational dispensaries that benefited most after Colorado legalized adult-use cannabis,” study co-author Avinandan Chakraborty, of the University of New Mexico, said in a press release. Using county-level Colorado data from 2011 to 2018, and taking advantage of the variation across counties in terms of both the existence and the start dates of dispensary sales, the researchers tested for changes in the unemployment rate, employment and wages; overall and by industry subsector. The study, published recently in the IZA Journal of Labor Economics, found that a dispensary opening triggered a decrease in the unemployment rate, driven by a 4.5 percent increase in employment rather than any reduction in labor force participation. The authors found no evidence of any increase in wages or labor force participation, however, leading them to conclude that this new employment appeared to be drawing from unemployed and self-employed workers, rather than pulling cannabis employees away from other industries.

Dan Goldman, Marijuana Moment, 12/08/2021 15:01:00

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