The Cannabis Effect: How It’s Bringing Growth to the Job Market & Economy
Let’s face it––cannabis (or marijuana) has always been a bit of a mixed bag. For some, it is a highly revered natural plant that comes with a list of benefits for health and mood. For others, it is instead looked at as a burden to society or responsible for the rising levels of drug use by adolescents. Regardless of your viewpoint on cannabis, it seems like it is here to stay.
Only a few years ago, cannabis was considered an illegal drug nationwide in the United States. However, several states voted to make cannabis a legal substance in some way or another. Notably, the states of California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts opted to make cannabis legal for recreational use. Other states such as Florida and Arkansas voted for the legalization of medical cannabis as well.
As we go forward, more and more states are moving toward legalizing cannabis, whether for medicinal use, recreational use, or both.
While many people look for potential negative effects of cannabis legalization, one thing is for sure: the pot industry is bringing many great benefits to the job market. While other labor industries are steady or declining, the cannabis industry is just getting started in terms of job and economic growth. Let’s take a look at the positive effects of cannabis on the job market and economy.
More Jobs Available
Since the cannabis industry is still in its infancy in the United States, there are several steps that need to be taken in order for dispensaries and nurseries to be established and operated. Because of this, more and more jobs have become available in order to facilitate the launch of such places.
Especially in new cities where infrastructure for cannabis business operations has yet to be built, the jobs are plentiful from front to end.
In fact, according to the cannabis info source Leafly’s Cannabis Jobs Count report for 2019, the legalization of cannabis has resulted in the direct employment of more than 211,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. for 2019 alone. When we add in the indirect jobs created by cannabis, that number skyrockets to almost 300,000. As you can see, it’s no secret that cannabis is elevating the U.S. job market––pun intended.
Furthermore, if we look at a study by the RCG Economics and Marijuana Policy Group, the introduction of recreational pot in the state of Nevada may provide more than 41,000 new job opportunities until 2024. Furthermore, a study by ICF showed that more than 81,000 jobs––whether direct or indirect––will be made available in the state of California as a result of legalized cannabis.
The thing is, while the cannabis industry is bringing direct job opportunities, it also presents an increase in available indirect job opportunities as well, such as software developers, financial positions, construction, and more. This is, of course, a massive increase in available jobs, which will, in turn, boost the local and national economy even further.
An Increase in Tax Revenue
When it comes to marijuana legalization, another benefit for the economy is a massive increase in tax revenue. As with anything that is bought and/or sold legally, there are taxes that must be paid to local, state, and federal government agencies.
Especially in the states of Colorado and Washington, where cannabis has been legalized and decriminalized for recreational use, tax revenue growth has inflated quite handsomely. In fact, in the year 2015 alone, the state of Colorado amassed over $135 million in total taxes and fees for both medical and recreational cannabis sales, with the total cannabis sales bringing in well above $996 million in revenue.
By the year 2021, according to studies by Arcview Market Research, the total amount of cannabis sales in the U.S. is predicted to reach over $20.1 billion. While these numbers are all very impressive, this is only considering the partial legalization of cannabis in nearly half the country.
If cannabis were to be made legal on the federal level, however, we can expect amazing benefits for the economy in every way imaginable: federal tax revenue could potentially skyrocket to $131.8 billion by the year 2025, according to New Frontier, a cannabis analytics group.
For all states that have legalized cannabis in some fashion, the resulting increase in available jobs on the market and state tax revenue has been very favorable. For all other states, such as those on the east coast, that have yet to make cannabis legal either for recreational or medicinal use, the benefits would be equally as attractive.
That being said, marijuana legalization on a federal level could very well be what our slowing economy needs in order to see growth and revival on all fronts. What do you think: should cannabis be made legal nationwide or not? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
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By Peter Manley