The Impact of the Cannabis Industry on the Economy

In the newly released Marijuana Business Factbook, estimates reveal that legal marijuana sales could increase to between $63 and $77 billion by 2022. The cannabis industry is creating ripple effects across the country’s economy as new business opportunities and new jobs open up.

Tourism Dollars

Tourists are visiting states where recreational use of cannabis is legal to purchase and consume it. Cannabis business professionals are also traveling to conduct market research and attend meetings and conferences.

Impact on related industries

The economic boost that’s provided by the marijuana industry is really significant when it comes to related industries. The need for cultivation sites, dispensaries and more is spurring real estate and construction activity.

Previously vacant warehouse space is being utilized, and dilapidated storefronts are being renovated. Cannabis business incubators are even starting up in office spaces. Growers not only rent warehouse space but often purchase irrigation equipment and sophisticated lighting.

As new retail businesses open, this has a knock-on effect on many other businesses. They rely on lawyers and bookkeepers. They need items like cash registers. They need to purchase packaging.  This is how an economy is built.

Packaging is big business in the cannabis industry, and custom cannabis packaging can do much to elevate one brand above another.  Businesses need to keep cannabis flower fresh by using the right containers and find the best way to package cannabis concentrates and edibles for savvy consumers.   

Local and State Taxes

Cannabis businesses collectively pay a huge amount of money in local and state taxes. This helps to fund projects such as roads, rural hospitals, government programs for education and much more.

When Colorado legalized recreational cannabis in 2012, some people felt very skeptical about the move.  However, Colorado has shown that the economic benefits have far outweighed any potential problems. In 2016, it earned $122 million from tax revenue.

States such as California and Washington have also experienced significant economic boosts after legalizing marijuana. California was the first state to legalize medical cannabis, and it legalized cannabis for recreational purposes this year. There are already about two hundred or more licensed cannabis dispensaries in California.

If cannabis was legalized and taxed in all the states, there is no doubt it would stimulate the national economy. The money could be pumped into schools, public works projects, and even drug prevention centers.

When the sale and manufacture of alcohol were legalized in America and prohibition was ended, this saw a great increase in tax revenue. Now the U.S. has the opportunity to capitalize on the legalization of cannabis and explore its economic possibilities.

One town that was saved from economic disaster by the cannabis industry is Pueblo in Colorado. This town went through a depression when the Colorado Iron and Steel Mill left in the 1980s. Unemployment rates were very high, but the cannabis industry has been a key factor in bringing that figure right down.

A study showed that legal cannabis had a positive economic benefit on Pueblo, even when additional social service and law enforcement costs were taken into account.  Scholarship money is now available to high school graduates, roads and schools have been fixed, and the construction industry received a major boost.

Job Creation

An increase in job opportunities sees more money flowing in and out of the consumer markets. A study by consulting firm, Arcview, estimates that the legal cannabis sector will create more than 400,000 jobs by 2021 in the U.S.  This will be more than the expected jobs from manufacturing or from the government sector.

The different culture of the cannabis industry appeals to those who are not interested in working in a traditional office setting. Some of the jobs available in the industry are master growers, cultivation supervisors, trimmers and cultivation site workers, extractors, budtenders, cannabis chefs, dispensary managers, lab workers, marketing associates, drivers, and security personnel.

The industry is also attracting many professionals from traditional industries. They are looking for a different type of work environment and new challenges. Scientists, accountants, horticulturists and IT specialists are just some of those who are making the switch.

The cannabis economy is also helping too by bringing people into the mainstream economy who may have been active participants in the black market. They are not outsiders anymore and can utilize their skills in growing, retailing, etc. in a legitimate way. They are able to earn a legal living, bringing more stability in their lives.

When it comes to jobs in the cannabis industry, professionalism has become very important. Because many states have only legalized medical use, the dispensaries are like de facto doctor’s offices to a number of consumers. They are looking for professional service and advice.

Some caveats remain…

If it is regulated properly, done correctly and taxed right, the industry does have the potential of creating real economic benefits.  However, cannabis remains illegal under federal law. There are still those in the industry who fear that it could be shut down at the federal level at some stage and this makes the future of the industry very difficult to predict.

Speculating too far forward is just not possible. However, the potential for benefits to the economy are huge, and perhaps this will go some way towards preventing a shut down at the federal level.  

These insights into the impact of the cannabis industry on the economy are brought to you by Green Rush Packaging. Our packaging company is one of the leaders in packaging in the U.S., supplying dispensaries with all kinds of containers, from cannabis concentrate packaging to medical marijuana bottles. We offer dispensary supplies wholesale but can also do custom cannabis packaging. For success in the cannabis industry today, the packaging is an important part of branding and marketing.


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