Hundreds of people came out to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center on a chilly Newark evening in January to learn how they might be able to get a piece of New Jersey’s recreational marijuana industry.
No bill has been passed, so there is no recreational marijuana industry in New Jersey. Still, many attendees of the New Jersey Cannabis Symposium had green in their eyes as they heard about a new industry, one that offers more ways to make money than just from growing and selling marijuana.
This NJ Advance Media reporter recently went to Oregon and Washington to get a sense of different parts of the industry opportunities. According to a 2017 report from Leafly, Washington and Oregon had 22,952 and 11,295 full-time cannabis jobs, respectively.
Should New Jersey legalize recreational marijuana, thousands of jobs would follow, likely generating more than $1 billion in economic activity.
Here are some of those opportunities, starting with the obvious:
Cultivation is the foundation of the marijuana industry. After all, it’s tough to sell or tax weed if it’s not being grown.
But these typically aren’t like when your college roommate grew a couple of plants in a closet. As marijuana industries mature, grows become increasingly sophisticated.
At House of Cultivar, a grow operation in Seattle, room after room of cannabis is grown using state of the art technology designed to cultivate the highest quality marijuana.
On a recent tour, Matthew Gaboury, one of the company’s founders, showed off the 20,000 square feet of marijuana canopy at House of Cultivar.
“We have 300 active strains,” he said, talking about the different types of weed he grows. “With 25 strains growing at any one time.”
After the marijuana is grown, it gets dried, cured and packaged before being sent to retailers, where customers can get their hands on the product.
New Jersey has five medical marijuana dispensaries. Should state lawmakers approve recreational weed, that number would spike. Oregon, for example, has 523 licensed marijuana retailers, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates the state’s cannabis industry.
Dispensaries sell a variety of products, including marijuana buds, concentrates, edibles, lotions and drinks, among others. At Farma, a dispensary in Portland, a budtender — yes, that’s what the dispensary employees are called — sold this reporter a tin of cannabis-infused mints.