Casinos, Cannabis, and Careers


I’m graduating this year, and I have a job offer--that’s the good news. The thing is, though, that the job offer came from my cousin, who is kind of the black sheep of the family. He’s working the legal marijuana industry out in Oregon, and he says I can come work for him right away. If I’m not into that, he says, he has a ton of connections in the casino business.

Well, my family is very conservative, so you can imagine the reaction my dad had when I told him my career choices were down to casinos or cannabis at the moment. He thinks both are dead-end careers, though my cousin seems to be doing well. I’m not sure what I should do here. Any advice?

While your father is free to feel however he likes about both the gambling and marijuana industries, you’ll have a hard time finding experts to back up his claims that careers in these industries are “dead ends.”

In fact, the gambling industry is actually growing, one Oregon casino told us. Online gaming and other innovations have led experts to predict worldwide growth in the gambling industry, and the $137.5 billion share of the gambling economy that the United States plays host to is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

The marijuana industry is growing even more dramatically--which makes sense, because it was not so long ago that the industry didn’t exist at all! There’s a $6.5 billion market for marijuana right now, and that figure is expected to grow quickly to $30 billion by 2021. Marijuana is tightly regulated by the states that have legalized it, marijuana business lawyers told us, so there are arguably still fewer people in the business than there might be in a freer market. In other words, it may be a good time to be a part of one of the fully licensed marijuana businesses that is tasked with meeting all this demand.

But, to be frank, it doesn’t sound like the viability of these careers is the only thing that you have to make up your mind about. It’s certainly possible that you could make good money in either the legal marijuana or the legal gambling industry. It’s very clear that your cousin likes his career and that your father would not be keen to trade places. But what do you think? Ultimately, that’s what you need to decide. If you like the sound of these industries and think you’d enjoy working out in Oregon, by all means, take one of the opportunities that your cousin is offering. If you feel like it’s not your idea of a good life, though, there’s nothing wrong with that. Your career is about more than just your financial health--it’s about your overall well-being, too. So make a decision you know that you can live with, explain it as best you can to your father and your cousin, and rest easy knowing that you’ve done the right thing for your own life.

There is no cul-de-sac for those who have no ability to lose their hopes! ― Mehmet Murat ildan

(Martin J. Young is a former correspondent of Asia Times).

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