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A Greener Future: How Cannabis Legalization is Impacting Local Economies

A Greener Future: How Cannabis Legalization is Impacting Local Economies
Photo by Esteban López on Unsplash

The legalization of cannabis across the US has generated a lot of buzz, with some people excited about the change and others more skeptical. 

Though many people in the debate focus on the health benefits of cannabis for both mental health and motor control, one thing that can’t be denied is the impressive economic impact.

If cannabis was a legal industry, it would create a boom in local economies. 

How Cannabis Could Boost Local Economies

There are four ways in which cannabis can boost local economies. They are through job creation, taxes, revitalizing communities, and expanding business ventures.

Although job creation and business ventures sound like similar concepts, one is based on the individual and their ability to pay bills, while the other spurs on innovation.

We spoke to Michael Barnerns, a cannabis expert, and the head of 420DC. He explained that “the economic impact of cannabis legalization goes beyond just job creation and tax revenue. It also contributes to the overall growth and vitality of the communities where it’s legal. 

We’re seeing a surge in innovative businesses and services catering to the cannabis market, which in turn benefits other local businesses and attracts new investment.”

For Michael, legalizing cannabis is about bringing the community together and expanding the possibilities of the plant.

Let’s break down each of these advantageous reasons to legalize cannabis in real terms.

Job Creation And Growth

By looking at the states which already have legalized cannabis, we can see that job opportunities instantly soared in these areas.

In 2020, 77,300 full-time jobs were created in the cannabis sector. This figure more than quadrupled in 2021, as 321,000 full-time workers were in the cannabis industry.

These jobs contained the expected positions of retail salespersons and farmers, but they also branched off into advertisement, mass manufacturing, ancillary services, therapies, and education. 

As time goes on we can expect more jobs in these legal states, and the job types to expand too. Using this template we can expect similar outcomes if other states make the change.

Tax Revenue And Investments

Tax revenue is used to fund public programs and services, such as education, mental health, and law enforcement.

With a new type of product to tax, the government can receive a higher budget to manage the important programs and services we need. This means states with legalized cannabis should receive better healthcare, education, roads, and fire fighting services.

Looking at states with legalized cannabis, we can see just how much tax can be gained.

In Colorado, 2020, over $387 million was received in cannabis-based tax revenue.

During that same year in California, $1 billion was received in cannabis-based tax revenue.

Before cannabis was legalized, these large figures would not have been collected.

Revitalization Of Local Communities

This type of business requires a large amount of space. However, in our over-industrial world, there are hundreds of abandoned warehouses and factories that need repurposing. 

Cannabis farms have taken these places on, as they are cheaper than building new ones. 

This means old buildings have been repurposed into functioning spaces once more.

In turn, the opening of new dispensaries and cannabis-related businesses have had the added effect of boosting investment in other local retail and dining establishments. 

For example, now that old factories are now in use, coffee shops and pops have appeared, hoping to sell to the new location-based demographic.

Attracting New Business Ventures

The growth of the cannabis industry spurs innovation and attracts entrepreneurs, with the development of new businesses, such as cannabis tourism companies, cannabis-infused product manufacturers, and technology startups. 

We have already seen vaping industries take on cannabis as a diffuser, and we have seen cooking shops explaining how to include cannabis in your meals.

We cannot expect every new business venture to succeed, however, the ability to grow from an idea and inspire others can help us as a society reach technological and practical advances we wouldn’t have been aware of before.

For example, scientists have been able to separate CBT (the part of cannabis that doesn’t produce a high) and THC (the part that does produce a high effect), so that medical users can have the medication they need without experiencing heightened anxiety.

This is only possible due to the legal ability to experiment and play around with cannabis.

Final Thoughts

Legalizing cannabis can boost your local economy by producing more jobs, and collecting more taxes. But, it can also spur a community spirit and inspire more businesses.