The Colorado cannabis industry added 18,000 full-time jobs in 2015.
Marijuana Policy Group (MPG) has conducted a study that analyzed two years worth of legal cannabis sales figures from Colorado. This is considered the most comprehensive study to date on the cannabis industry in The Centennial State.
The study found that $2.4 billion in economic activity was generated by the industry in 2015. Besides the $1 billion taken in though direct retail sales, legal cannabis increased a need for construction, professional services, security personnel and equipment, warehouses, and more.
“If this is done right, regulated right, taxed right, this industry can bring real economic benefits to a state,” study co-author and MPG founder Adam Orens said, according to the Washington Post. “If the state or the local governments manage, permit and enforce [marijuana regulation] in a thoughtful way, then this can have real benefits.”
Orens believes the increase in jobs and market size is tapping into a demand that existed long before legalization.
“It would be easy to confuse the rapid growth in marijuana sales with an inherent growth in marijuana demand,” Orens said. “But that is not the case. Legal marijuana sales are increasing due to a supply shift — away from gray and black market suppliers, toward licensed suppliers.”
MPG feels that the black market is being eroded by legalization. The report suggests that 90 percent of the cannabis market will be directed through state-licensed dispensaries by 2020.
Advocates for legal cannabis have been making the argument that legal marijuana could help boost the economy, jobs, and tax revenues. The MPG report indicates that Colorado took in $121 million in taxes related to cannabis sales in 2015. Orens expects that number to rise to $150 million by 2020.
Colorado could also see a rise in income taxes collected as well. Simply put, 18,000 additional jobs comes with potentially 18,000 additional taxpayers.