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Legalizing marijuana is big business, bolstering the U.S. economy for both state and federal governments.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron wrote a widely supported paper in which he highlights the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana. From saving the U.S. government some $13.7 billion in prohibition enforcement costs to a major boost from tax revenues.  Most of the growth in the marijuana industry will come not from a new demand for cannabis, but from the reduction of the black market surrounding the shift to licensed suppliers.  At this point, tax revenue from marijuana is already bringing in three times the rate of alcohol, and it is expected to exceed cigarette taxes as well, by the year 2020.  Marijuana companies also help fund government programs, rural hospitals and road projects with the hundreds of millions of dollars collectively paid in state and local taxes.  There is a great deal of good to come from the disbursements and allocation of these funds that positively impacts our society.

Some changes sparked by the marijuana industry include new retail businesses that will employ many and create a need for more services in commercial real estate, construction for shops and for growing spaces as well as security and web design. Most of the jobs created will fall in the realm of growing, cultivation and extraction- with various positions such as cannabis chefs, ‘budtenders’ and delivery people as well. All of these combined will create significant ripple effects throughout the nation.

The facts are in:

Marijuana is the most valuable cash crop in the state of California. (TIME magazine)

Illegal marijuana costs the economy $36 billion a year. (Madame Noire)

In 2011, Colorado received $5 million in sales from medical marijuana businesses. (The New York Times)

60% of States support taxing marijuana. (Associated Press-CNBC)

Denver, Colorado has more dispensaries than they do Starbucks.

In 2015, Colorado created 18,000 new full time jobs in the cannabis industry, generating $2.4 billion in economic activity.  (Marijuana Policy Group)

Monthly spending on marijuana and related products is increasing for every generation due to widespread acceptance and lack of hesitation in purchasing it.

There is strong growth in every market, with the San Francisco Bay Area leading the way and a brand new market emerging in San Jose.

Incorporating the purchase of marijuana into major holidays is also increasing, not only is the obvious 4/20 (April 20) and Green Wednesday (Wednesday before Thanksgiving) important, Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July have seen growth as well.

Companies such as Eaze (marijuana delivery service), have seen a 323% increase in demand for products and a 239% increase in the number of brands on their menu between 2016 and 2017.

Research from the Marijuana Business Factbook 2017 suggests that the overall economic impact of marijuana in 2016 was $16-18 billion. The prediction is that its growth will continue exponentially, to the tune of $48-68 billion by the year 2021.  The population, by and large, support the cannabis industry and as long as that is the case, setbacks by the federal government that could hinder the market’s progression, will not be able to stifle sales.  The upside of the cannabis industry’s impact on the economy is increasing, and it will be quite awhile before it inevitably plateaus,  however, not before the green rushes in.

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