It’s been over a year since Colorado made the move to allow adults to purchase marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries. Hopes were high that this initiative would give the state a tidy economic boost. Six months into legalization, Colorado placed 1st out of all states in this Business Insider economic growth survey. Coincidence? We think not.
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Here are some of the ways legalization has already benefited the Colorado economy.
It Has Created Jobs
Now that four US states have legalized marijuana, becoming a “budtender” is one of the hottest retail job opportunities in the US. Johnny Green from theweedblog.com says that, “2015 could see the most jobs ever created in the marijuana industry in one year. The industry keeps getting larger, and there will no doubt continue to be a growing need for master gardeners, trimmers, processors, dispensary budtenders, etc.”
CannaInsider.com has made the bold estimate that US states that allow individuals of legal age to use cannabis will create over 200,000 new jobs in the cannabis industry in 2015.
It Boosted Revenue for the State Over the First Year of Legalization
Colorado marijuana revenue between January 2014 and October 2014 topped 40.9 million dollars in taxes, licences and fees. By the end of 2014, that number jumped to around $76 million, which included sales taxes on legal marijuana products. It is estimated that $44 million of that revenue represented new taxes on recreational marijuana.
It Has Contributed to a Significant Drop in Drug-Related Arrests
Data from the National Incident Based Reporting System shows that arrests for marijuana possession were responsible for 80 percent of all drug-related arrests in Colorado over the last five years.
Over the last two years, NIBRS data shows a 41% decrease in all drug arrests in the state. This decrease can be connected to the fact that legal adults are now allowed to possess, cultivate and privately use marijuana.
The Real Estate Industry has Flourished Since Legalization
The demand for commercial real estate in Colorado has increased drastically, with houses in the state appreciating up to 8.7 percent in the past year alone. Websites such as Colorado Marijuana Realty and Pot Prop have sprung up to meet the needs of the market, helping customers find “exactly what [they] are looking for when deciding to purchase marijuana-related property.”
A growing number of US states are now warming to the idea of full legalization and are aware of the potential benefits for the federal economy. This chart outlines the amounts the US stands to gain should nationwide legalization become a reality. The full take? Just over 3 billion dollars.
Legalizing marijuana on a federal level can provide huge economic benefits for the United States, at a time when the federal economy needs a major boost. And it’s not just the feds who would benefit; legalization would also provide top-down economic improvements in local communities, state coffers, and more, according to The Week. One only needs to look at Colorado to see that weed-smoking Americans are not the only ones in the country who can benefit from legalization.