As New Jersey legalizes recreational use of marijuana and Pennsylvania looks in that direction, businesses such as Zen Leaf cannabis stores expect to expand with hundreds of well-paying jobs.
“Adult use opens the cannabis market to new consumers, a new base,” said Brian Ward, chief financial officer for Verano Holdings, the Chicago-based parent company of Zen Leaf. “We’re continually hiring at this point. … In terms of the region and the economic impact, I can tell you that it’s absolutely massive.”
The industry nationwide already employs 321,000 workers after expanding 32% during the pandemic, according to Leafly’s 2021 Jobs Report. A lot more jobs are coming. Verano, which operates in 11 states, already has two cultivation facilities and 14 medical dispensaries across New Jersey and Pennsylvania — totaling more than 500 jobs — and plans for seven more stores in the Keystone State that would add a couple hundred more positions, he said. On top of that, Ward said, all sorts of ancillary businesses — real estate, transportation, accounting — benefit from the marijuana market. “The opportunities,” he added, “can really be endless.”