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Arizona Medical Marijuana Program Estimated to Create 1,500 Good Paying Jobs

Arizona Medical Marijuana Program Estimated to Create 1,500 Good Paying Jobs

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 04/24/2013 in Medical Marijuana Economics

Back in 2010 when Arizona voters approved the use of medical marijuana, a man saw a way to combine his laboratory background and his interest in the plant he’d been studying since his eleven year old son died of cancer more than a decade ago. This man is Steve Cottrell, the current owner of AZ Med Testing, a medical marijuana testing laboratory that performs numerous tests to determine the true medicinal properties of each strain. Medical marijuana dispensaries pay Cottrell and his business partner, Brenda Perkins, to test their marijuana strain samples for both mold and different pesticides.

Cottrell says they’re making money, but his business definitely has its challenges. However, now that dispensaries are beginning to open, his part of the program is moving forward. This marks the slow progression of jobs becoming more readily available in Arizona to those who need it. According to a study that was sponsored by the Regulated Dispensaries of Arizona, the two jobs held by Cottrell and Perkins at AZ Med Testing are among an estimated 1,500 jobs that will be created by Arizona’s medical marijuana industry.

Arizona State University research associate, Tim Hogan, authored the study and used information from Oregon’s established medical marijuana industry to estimate the size of Arizona’s actual market. Hogan said that the main driving mechanism of the program is how many patients need to be serviced. He found that the industry had the potential to create not only 1,500 direct jobs for marijuana growers and dispensary employees, but it could also create up to 5,000 indirect jobs at places like grocery stores.

Currently, Arizona has about 38,000 medical marijuana cardholders and is allowed 126 dispensaries, only a handful percentage of the state’s actual operating dispensaries. There are only a couple of dispensaries that are open as of right now in the state and more are expected to follow. Tim Hogan said his study models are on only the straight economic impact of the industry as opposed to offering a more extensive cost-benefit analysis. The medical marijuana industry in the state is small, but should definitely play a role as a substantial contributor to the state’s economy. In Colorado alone, which legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2000, medical marijuana dispensaries brought in nearly $200 million in sales and paid about $5.5 million in state sales tax in 2012.

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