Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400,000 By 2021, Study Projects
The federal government shows few signs it will legalize one of the biggest job producers in the country.
When it comes to projections, no sector of the economy currently has a rosier outlook than the marijuana industry.
The latest report from ArcView Market Research demonstrates how big the numbers are getting. The name of the report neatly sums up the optimism of its findings: “U.S. Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output.”
No one is questioning the potential for growth in the industry. Entrepreneurs have flocked to cannabis because of that potential. But there are headwinds, mostly involving an anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general, a White House administration that has largely stayed quiet on the issue and difficulties getting marijuana markets set up in some places even where voters have approved it.
Still, in a release on the new report, ArcView CEO Troy Drayton said the economic potential of legal cannabis “is no longer just theory. Due to the giant impact adult-use legalization is already having in the United States, it’s vital for key stakeholders to understand the full impact of legalization, beyond just retail sales numbers.”
So, what did the report find that impact would be?
The report was done against this backdrop: More than half of all U.S. states have approved a legal medical marijuana market, with adult-use marijuana sales are in place in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
California also started adult-use sales in January. Massachusetts is expected to start later this year. Lawmakers in Maine are still trying to work out a deal to get their adult-use market up and running, while New Jersey's new Democrat governor has pledged to legalize marijuana in the Garden State.
But California is the driver behind many positive projections. The biggest state in the union, California is expected to add billions to the marijuana market in the U.S.
ArcView, which did the study with cannabis business intelligence company BDS Analytics, projects the marijuana industry in the U.S. will account for $39.6 billion in economic output by 2021. About 60 percent of that will come from just six states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
The Golden State also is projected as a huge factor in another area: cannabis jobs.
The report projects that the California cannabis industry will add 99,000 jobs by 2021, about a third of all the cannabis-related jobs in the U.S. Indirect jobs related to the cannabis industry will total about 146,000 in the state.
Other projections and findings from the report:
- The cannabis industry will create 414,000 jobs across the country by 2021, either directly in the cannabis industry or in a related job.
- State and local governments are projected to reap $4 billion in total tax receipts from the marijuana industry by 2021.
- The report argues that the legal recreational marijuana industry in Colorado may have led to the state having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
- The total amount of taxes taken in by states where cannabis is legal reached $1 billion in 2016, including wholesale, excise and cannabis-specific sales taxes.
Clearly, those numbers are a business person’s dream (government officials, too). The growing economic power of the legal marijuana industry might be the one thing that keeps it from coming under attack by the current administration in Washington.