Cannabis Conversations: News of the Week February 22nd
No Power, No Grow Lights: Growers in Texas, Oklahoma, and other States Recover From Power Outage.
The past week has been a difficult one for many across the United States, as millions have been impacted by weather-related power outages. The combined loss of life, property, and sense of safety that compounded over a few short days could not be overstated. In the cannabis world, it was hard to miss the posts about the weather’s impact on harvests.
Among those severely impacted by such widespread power loss are the hundreds of medical growers in the state of Texas and the thousands who rely on cannabis for their medical needs. Since power outages began early last week, growers in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana have taken to social media, posting concerns about the state of their facilities. Without power, there are no grow lights. Or worse, no water access due to freezing pipes. Without light and water, you know what happens to living things next.
With medicinal cannabis use now more widespread than it was in Texas when medical growing was greenlit in 2019 or Oklahoma when medicinal use was passed this past November (and with already over 365,000 Oklahomans enrolled), the impact on patients could be significant. Even still there are thousands throughout Texas without power, which presents a challenge not only to growers who may be among those powerless, but to many who are now at risk of health complications, including medical cannabis users unable to get access due to outages.
As more Texans and surrounding states impacted by the outages find their utilities restored, they will need help to recover. Many in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana still need help today. For more information on where to donate, click here.
Medical Cannabis Employees Deemed High Priority for Vaccinations
California updated their vaccination guidelines this past week, including cannabis employees as part of the first phase of inoculations. The guidelines now state, “Cannabis industry employees are included in Phase 1a for medicinal cannabis and Phase 1b Food and Agriculture for growing, production, storage, transport and distribution. Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated…by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications.”
And why shouldn’t they be accommodated? We have heard lots of discussion and commentary on the growth of the cannabis industry during this economic uncertainty, but we haven’t heard anything about the bravery of the workers who have gone to work throughout the pandemic.
As vaccinations have become more available throughout the past month, attention has also been given to essential workers, which rightly includes those who work in cannabis. Workers and customers should never have to risk their lives to provide and purchase necessary medical cannabis, just as grocery store clerks handling food should be protected due to similarly high exposure to consumers.
Cannabis workers are frontline workers, and their inclusion as a medical entity is a key sign that the industry, both medicinal and recreational, will only become more important in the months to come.
Leafly’s Job Report Gave the Industry Reason to Celebrate! Cannabis Industry Supports 321,000
Who says you can’t work your dream job? Leafly’s 2021 Jobs Report revealed the cannabis industry now supports over 321,000 full time jobs in the United States, with exceedingly more room to grow in the coming decade.
This is a 31.7% increase from the 2020 report, which claimed 243,700 cannabis industry jobs early last year. This dwarfs the previous year’s increase of 15% and has seemingly ignited a fierce debate on legalization in many states. In fact, legal cannabis jobs have far outpaced other growing professions, such as nurse practitioning, speech pathology, solar power installation, wind-turbine service technicians, and data analysis, just to name a few.
Leafly also reported that, as a result of COVID-19, cannabis use increased, with consumers buying 33% more per order. Some of the highest revenue drivers for 2020 were Baby Boomers and Gen X adults, who spent upwards of $120 a month on average and over $140 by year’s end.
The trends show a clear pattern: people are buying more cannabis than ever before, and with more states every year adopting legalization measures, sales are certain to grow even more in 2021.
Of the many important insights shared by the Leafly Jobs Report, cannabis is now a highly sought out career, and more importantly, has become normalized and elevated to the serious designation it has always deserved.