As Recreational Marijuana Looms in California, Government Jobs are Increasing
As recreational marijuana use is set to become legal in California next year, government jobs have begun increasing. The state is hiring people to fill what eventually will be hundreds of new government positions by 2019, with the intention of bringing order to the legal pot economy. Thousands of additional jobs are expected to be added by city and country governments. The Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state’s chief regulatory agency overseeing the pot market, is expected to grow to more than double its size and by February the agency expects to have more than 100 staffers. John McCowen, who chairs the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, states:
My biggest concern is that the state regulations may prove to be so onerous that it will discourage people who want to be legally compliant from coming forward. And that will mean greater opportunity for those operating in the black market.
This year’s state budget contained around $100 million to fund regulatory programs for marijuana, which includes personnel to review and issue licenses, watch over environmental conditions and carry out enforcement. The planned hiring into 2018 covers a range of state agencies including: 50 people bound for the Public Health Department, 65 bound to join the Water Resources Control Board, and 60 new employees expected at the Food and Agriculture Department, which will oversee licensing for cultivators. The state and local governments are rushing to enact rules to govern the new pot economy, a process that so far has produced mixed results. The California Highway Patrol has also been expanding training for officers to identify “buzzed” drivers. Hopefully the local and county governments will be ready next year for the legalization of recreational marijuana.