A new report highlights just how much of a transformational economic effect the spreading legalization of marijuana can have on the country. New Frontier Data’s annual overview of the cannabis industry found that the legal weed market will create close to 300,000 jobs by 2020.
By contrast, the manufacturing industry was projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to lose 814,000 jobs by 2024. Of course, the new White House administration pledged to bring back manufacturing jobs and it remains to be seen how Trump’s leadership will impact the trend. The Trump team also indicated a possible federal crackdown on marijuana, something that is at odds with its “states rights” position on other issues and also clashes with the data.
As reported in Forbes magazine, not only legal marijuana will create jobs, the market for legal cannabis, currently estimated at $7.2 billion, is projected to grow at a 17% annual rate. Considering only the states that already have passed marijuana legislations, adult recreational sales will hit $11.2 billion by 2020, while medical marijuana sales will be at $13.3 billion. And of course any new states that legalize pot would only add to the sales figures.
“These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job-creation engine for the U.S. economy,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data.
She noted that while other industries are struggling and shedding jobs, the marijuana industry is seeing a reverse trend.
The data analyzed by New Frontier was based on the economic analysis done for the state of Colorado.
Currently, according to surveys, there are an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 workers involved in the cannabis industry directly and 90,000 in related businesses.
A big challenge to the growth of the industry has been the legal duality of marijuana between state and federal laws. People have been afraid of the feds even while working in state-legalized weed facilities and companies. While it continues to remain a schedule 1 drug under federal law, marijuana has seen some support from the courts, with a U.S. appeals court saying that as long as you comply with state laws, you cannot be prosecuted by the government.
Cover photo: Tyler Williams of Blanchester, Ohio selects marijuana strains to purchase at the 3-D Denver Discrete Dispensary on January 1, 2014 in Denver, Colorado. Legalization of recreational marijuana sales in the state went into effect at 8am that morning. (Photo by Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)