ST. LOUIS - Missouri voters will decide in November whether they want to allow recreational cannabis in the state, an issue that has typically come with promises of leafy, green economic uplift.
If voters legalize pot for recreational use, some local cannabis businesses say their workforce would increase, or even double. And unlike the rest of the economy, still wracked with staffing shortages, it appears there’s a supply of candidates eager to work in the industry.
“We are seeing a huge demand for people who want to work in this space,” said John Pennington, co-founder and CEO of Rock Hill-based retailer and manufacturer Proper Cannabis.
Experts and industry officials credit the legalization of recreational marijuana with growing jobs from Colorado to Illinois. In Missouri, advocates say much the same: And while the numbers are hard to pin down and unlikely to be transformative, marijuana businesses will certainly have to scale up if voters approve Amendment 3.
States that have legalized recreational marijuana have generally seen some swift hiring at first, said Alison Felix, a senior policy adviser at the Denver branch of the Kansas City Federal Reserve.
“They’re looking to hire, open retail stores, grow product and manufacture edibles. You immediately need to hire quite a few workers,” Felix said. “Then as the industry starts to mature, which can certainly take several years, you see it growing at a much more moderate pace.”