Firstly we’d like to thank Andrew Sacks of lawyers SWD for alerting us to the following piece.
The legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes is having a positive impact on states’ economies in ways that go well beyond tax revenue. From job creation to increased tourism, marijuana legalization is driving economic markets. Here’s how.
Nine Nevada, where retail sales became legal on July 1, retailers reported over 40,000 transactions in just the first weekend and $3.5 million in taxes in the first month. In Alaska, legal cannabis sales have generated $1.2 million in tax revenue over the first eight months.
In Washington and Colorado, tax revenues from the legal cannabis market are well above initial projections. In Washington, tax revenue totaled $220 million for the 12-month period ending June 30, 2016. In Oregon, marijuana-related tax revenues are yielding about $4 million per month – about twice what regulators initially predicted.
In Nevada, where retail sales became legal on July 1, retailers reported over 40,000 transactions in just the first weekend. In Alaska, legal cannabis sales have generated $1.2 million in tax revenue over the first eight months.
The legal cannabis industry is responsible for the creation of nearly 150,000 new full-time jobs, according to data compiled by the online content provider Leafly.com. Their September 12 analysis identified 149,304 jobs in the marijuana sector – a 22 percent increase over the number of jobs that existed one year ago. States reporting the largest number of cannabis-related jobs were California (47,711) Colorado (26,891), and Washington (26,556).
The state of Colorado has experienced an unprecedented increase in tourism following the passage of marijuana legalization. According to data released last year by the Colorado Tourism Office, a record-setting 77.7 million people visited the state in 2015, spending over $19 billion. It is the fifth year in a row that tourism has set records in the state, which is experiencing a rapid growth in toursm that is nearly double the national average. And while not all of Colorado’s visitors are coming there for legal weed, many of them are. Among vacationers surveyed by the state’s Tourism Office in 2016, 49 percent responded that marijuana’s legal status positively influenced their decision to visit the state, and 22 percent of Colorado vacationers said that marijuana’s legal status was “extremely influential” in shaping their decision.
WORKPLACE PARTICIPATION AND WAGES
Lifting cannabis criminalization is linked with greater participation in the workforce and an increase in weekly income. A 2016 University of California at Irvine study reported that ending marijuana possession arrests is associated with an increased probability of employment, particularly among young African American males, and an average increase of 4.5 percent in weekly earnings. According to separate data published last year in the journal Health Economics, medical cannabis regulatory laws are associated with fewer workplace absences. Data published by the National Bureau of Economic research similarly reports that medicalization is associated with a”9.4 percent increase in the probability of employment and a 4.6 percent to 4.9 percent increase in hours worked per week” among those over 50 years of age. “Medical marijuana law implementation leads to increases in labor supply among older adult men and women,” researchers concluded.