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Marijuana Jobs Higher Than Estimated

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The marijuana industry may have already added over 175,000 jobs and that's just the beginning. First, there are very few statistics on marijuana industry jobs. Hardly any states are tracking it and even the web sites that advertise for marijuana jobs don't have any information and didn't return calls.

So here's how I came up with this number. I went to each state to see if they published numbers on the amount of people licensed to be in the business. Then I counted up the states that allow dispensaries. I reviewed studies that tried to predict the number of jobs for their states budgets and reached out to several people in the industry. I round up for the numbers I have calculated to make the math easier.

The analysis that comes closest to being accurate is a report from Dale Gieringer, Ph.D. in 2009 for California NORML (National Organization for the Repeal of Marijuana Laws). He estimated that if marijuana were 25-35% of the California wine industry, then 60,000-100,000 jobs would be created. Since California is the oldest marijuana market, it is also the largest. There are almost 8,000 dispensaries in the state. If we assume it takes on average five to ten employees to staff a dispensary, then that is 40,000-80,000 jobs.

There are approximately 500 multi-acre farms according to Fresno CA police. Each farmer requires staff and security, so we'll give them 10 employees each and make that 5,000 farm employees. Next are the websites and tech firms created to complement the industry - we'll low ball that and say 100. If each dispensary needs a marketing or advertising person, that's another 8,000 supporting jobs.

There are 36 different edible companies in California. The average company has three employees so that's another hundred jobs. Over 6,600 caregivers have been issued cards, so those jobs didn't exist before. This very roughly brings California to 60,000-100,000 jobs.

Colorado would be the next biggest state for marijuana jobs. In 2012, A paper produced by the Colorado Center on Law & Policy found that Amendment 64 would add 372 new jobs, of which most of that (217) would be in construction. The first $40 million in tax revenue from marijuana is to be used for school construction projects. Demand for jobs has created demand for marijuana licenses with the state licensing between 100 and 120 employees a week.

There are 491 MMJ dispensaries listed in the state and 31 retail recreational stores. Colorado requires the dispensaries to grow 70% of their product, so it's similar to a microbrewery. That requires many people per site, so we'll assign 20 people per location to minimally staff these businesses which would mean 10,000 jobs. Again more advertising and marketing companies to support the dispensaries. Then there are the construction jobs from the school projects that are estimated at 217. So, we'll mark Colorado down for 11,000 new jobs.