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Green Acres

Green Acres

Marijuana has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t partake, but it seems to be popping up just in the periphery of my notice.

For example, I was reading an article the other day about how a security firm laid off 289 guards at dispensaries owned by Trulieve in Florida. A bummer for anyone caught up in that obviously (and a missed headline opportunity to say they were weeded out), but I have a feeling they might be able to get new work easily.

You see locally there’s a proposition on the table to re-zone a pair of greenhouse complexes from agricultural to industrial so that they can be used for the growing of medical marijuana. It was legalized in Arizona in 2020 and its growth and demand has exploded during the pandemic. From what I’ve seen that proposition seems like a lock, and that means tax revenue, a huge economic impact, and an estimated 450 jobs.

And you can bet those jobs will include security guards. Being only recently legal in many places, marijuana is still widely sold illegally, and dispensaries and production facilities make a prime target for criminals. This represents a huge opportunity for the security services industry to carve out a piece of that pie.

It’s a big pie too. The Leafly 2022 job report estimated a 33% job growth for the industry in 2022 adding 107,000 new jobs. That makes a fifth year in a row with an annual job growth rate over 27% which Leafly said can’t be matched by any other industry in America. That’s a lot of green.

The security services industry has only grown by an average of 2.8% in the past five years by comparison. It’s still too soon to call the election on the proposition and whether NatureSweet Tomatoes will be able to sell their greenhouses to Bayacan. If it does though how many of those 450 jobs will be security related? Or the new dispensary to the south in Sierra Vista that opened this past Saturday (also owned by Trulieve), how many new security jobs has that added? More importantly how much will that move the needle from 2.8% five years from now.

In 2022 five states have Marijuana legalization on the ballot: Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota. That would mean a lot of revenue and a lot of new jobs. Fertile fields indeed.

Now I can’t get that theme song out of my head. Green Acres is the place to be…


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