Science 5 min read

Cannabis Will be a Job Creator in Industry 4.0

This is part two of a series about the role of Cannabis in Industry 4.0. click here to read part one, which covers how hemp can be a super companion crop of the future. 

Budding Opportunities for Cannabis

Despite protests from the federal government, the medical and recreational marijuana industry is continuing to grow and expand, creating thousands of jobs for people every year.

Marijuana Business Daily reports that the industry already employs 100,000 to 150,000 workers, and they project that the number will increase to 300,000 by 2020. These workers report a high level of job satisfaction. The increase of employment opportunities and new job titles is providing an economic boon to states. What’s more is that the one year’s cannabis industry taxes have provided millions of dollars for educational investment in Colorado alone.

High Standards

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The female strain of cannabis sativa is what produces the psychoactive THC used by medical and recreational consumers. Hemp, derived from the male strain of the plant, has fibers stronger than bamboo.

Hemp is also making a comeback due to fewer regulations on this controversial product. Hemp production is being encouraged even more in the US due to the exceptional strength and versatility that the fibers made from the plant exhibit. Cultivating the crop requires less water than cotton, and it is generally a more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic manufacturing. 

In a world inundated by plastic, hemp production could offer a viable transition to a sustainable option that is just as ubiquitous. It is already used successfully in the production of plastics, oils, bio-fuel, insulation, and textiles.
Industrial hemp has enormous economic potential for several key industrial sectors including food and manufacturing–all while encouraging more sustainable cultivation using less water and virtually no pesticides. Industrial hemp is still officially lumped in with its better half, but awareness of the prohibitive nature of former hemp laws is helping to rebuild an industry that was once a major part of the American landscape.  

Trail Blazing

It’s time to get rid of the lazy pothead stereotype.
In a report on the economic impact of legal marijuana, the Marijuana Policy Group explains the volume of jobs that are created directly or indirectly to support the industry.

Here are just a few jobs the cannabis industry helped create:

1. Dispensaries

Stores hire sales associates, aka “budtenders,” in addition to managers that perform data entry and do administrative work for the business.

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2. Cultivators

Medical and recreational cannabis growers employ “trimmers” to harvest and trim buds by hand. More specialized, skilled growers are employed to install and manage a complicated growing and curing process.

3. Manufacturing Operations

Several different kinds of workers are needed for the successful distribution of edibles. From top to bottom, dispensaries and manufacturers need staff to work on the floor, janitorial staff, bakers and candy makers, quality control, and machine operators.

4. Security Guards

Guards are necessary for dispensaries to keep up with strict regulations. As the recreational business is cash only, large sums travel from the dispensary through private security firms. In many places where the drug is legal, the federal banks are hesitant to deal with the money involved because of fears of legal ramifications.

In many places where the drug is legal, the federal banks are hesitant to deal with the money involved because of fears of legal ramifications. Laws are becoming less severe, but still, it is often up to distributors to figure out ways to store and manage their income without traditional banking.

5. Real-estate Agents

Both industrial and commercial real estate have seen a rise in purchases thanks to the industry. These are often tricky deals as, again, the transactions are cash only.

6. Construction and HVAC Specialists

Most cultivation in Colorado takes place indoors, meaning that this is a great opportunity for builders of all kinds.

7. Consulting, Business and Legal Services

We have already covered the role that Microsoft is playing in the legal marijuana industry. Bill gates is first major investor and business owner to provide computing services to KIND financial, a business that provides services for marijuana businesses.
This is only the beginning of the relationship between cannabis and tech, and it will be interesting to see what comes next as the plant loses its stigma. Capitalists will surely see that the business is wildly profitable for everyone involved.

8. Hemp Industry

The industrial hemp industry opens up the doors to several jobs in tech, manufacturing, and industrial farming. The range of products that can be created with this miracle crop are endless and range from direct involvement in the production of products like fuel and plastic to indirect building and distribution.
Hopefully, the positive effects that cannabis has on the job market will satisfy the federal government enough to let the industry keep growing and expanding without having to hurdle any expensive legal roadblocks. We will see if AG Jeff Sessions backs up his claim that Marijuana is almost as damaging as Heroin.
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