Expect a hiring boom from the state’s marijuana producers by the end of the year—and a likely boost in union membership.
The law that legalizes recreational marijuana use, which the General Assembly approved Friday, has two distinct features: a quick timeline and clear language that encourages union jobs. Existing players in the state’s medical-cannabis market plan to move into the bigger recreational business, resulting in a hiring surge that will dwarf the industry’s initial wave. “Illinois will have one of the largest adult-use markets in the country,” says Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs, a Chicago-based cannabis company that operates in Illinois and 10 states. He estimated the Illinois recreational market will be four to eight times the size of the medical-use market in the early going but could eventually grow to 10 to 20 times the size. Existing medical-use sales are on an annual run rate of about $130 million. Estimates of recreational-use revenue in Illinois are $1.6 billion a year. The state intends to allow retail sales of marijuana to ordinary consumers by Jan. 1. Illinois marijuana growers plan hiring binge
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