·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary


The Economic Benefits of Cannabis Can’t Be Ignored

— December 23, 2019

Leading the way in tax revenue for the first quarter of 2019 is California up by 91% from last year; the first legal sale was in January 2018.

The legalization of cannabis has many economic benefits that can’t be ignored. Job creation is on top of the list: 210,000 jobs created in the first quarter of 2019, plus the indirect workers gives us a total of 296,000 Americans with jobs. And, there are billions of dollars earned by the government from tax revenues, and also billions in savings from government expenditures for enforcement of prohibition laws.

Cannabis money also helps support drug abuse programs, a place for the homeless, fund scholarship programs for underprivileged students, medical research, and construction projects.

Impact on Tax Revenue

An ITEP report suggests that excise and sales tax revenues from the sale of cannabis could reach $1.6 B this year, a ~15% jump from the 2018 revenue of $1.3 B.

States which recently legalized cannabis have revenue increase twice or more in the first and second year. But, it slows down afterward as the market matures because the quantity is reduced and price cuts begin to take its toll on the price-based cannabis taxes.

Leading the way in tax revenue for the first quarter of 2019 is California up by 91% from last year; the first legal sale was in January 2018. Alaska follows up by 49% compared to the first quarter of 2018; the first legal sale was in October 2016. Following these states are Nevada with 25% growth, Oregon at 20%, Colorado at 14%, and Washington State at 6%.

The two fastest-growing states are new in the market and are experiencing rapid stages of growth. At the end of the growth scale are Colorado and Washington, the two states began legal sales in 2014. Consumption ramped up and shows signs of slowing down.

As quantity slows down, the fate of the tax revenue of the older markets will be closely tied with the cannabis retail price. This is not good for the cannabis industry in the long term. Prices will continue to decline as competition heats up and as state and federal laws loosen. Consumers will enjoy hefty markdowns on purchases resulting in lower tax revenue and state and federal coffers will suffer.

Income and Jobs 

Leafly did what the federal government refuses to do, and that is to count the jobs created by the cannabis industry. Together with Whitney Economics, they mounted the painstaking task of counting the cannabis jobs generated.

In 2017, there were 29 states legalizing marijuana for medicinal use, and four states and the District of Columbia approved both medicinal and recreational use. There were about 120,000 jobs generated by the cannabis industry at that time.

The figure rose to 210,000 in 2019 or a 75% jump two years later. Marijuana for medicinal use was legalized in 34 states, 10 states and the District of Columbia approved both medicinal and recreational use.

And, the count does not include the indirect jobs created. Consider the lawyers, accountants, security consultants, media companies, marketing firms, and community jobs and you’ll wind up with a whopping total of 296,000 jobs generated by the cannabis industry.

Culled from Investopedia, an RCG Economics and Marijuana Group study on Nevada says that legalizing cannabis recreational use could create over 41,000 jobs up to 2024 with a labor income of $1.7B. The ICF study predicts at least 81,000 jobs in California and a labor income of $3.5B. 

As more states approve the legalization of cannabis, more job opportunities are presented to the American people. Statistics don’t lie: we are watching the making of a booming American industry.

Investment Opportunities

What started as the legalization of medical marijuana is now heading towards legalization for recreational use. A few years back only a few states approved cannabis use, today more states are turning green. And with growth, there is money to be made. Here are some opportunities for the investor.

Pot Stocks

If you are a risk-taker try the pot stock. The high risk has the potential for a high reward. Only a few stocks are traded on the floor but the numbers are starting to grow with big companies joining the bandwagon.


Growing marijuana is likely to get bigger. The passage of the US Farm Bill in 2018 removed hemp from the controlled substance clearing the way for an organization to produce cannabis in large quantities.

Delivery Service

Deliver cannabis right to the doorsteps of the buyers. Minimal investment required all you need is a license to operate, a vehicle, and yourself. 

Trimmer and Bud tender

Budtender holding grey tongs and kush; image by Add Weed, via
Budtender holding grey tongs and kush; image by Add Weed, via

Trimmers work in the field cleaning the buds to make them attractive to customers before selling.

A budtender is like a wine connoisseur; they are the specialists at the cannabis dispensary giving advice to customers on strains and explaining about the product. 

Device maker

Device makers can take advantage of the market since marijuana can be ingested in many ways. Use creativity to design devices to transform into different forms like grinders, bongs, vaporizers, and other smoking paraphernalia. 

Online Entrepreneur

Sell weed online. Stuff your website with materials to educate your clients, mix your strains with edibles, and everything in between made of marijuana, show your weed-themed store, and client reviews.

Save Money and Still Get High 

Regularly smoking cannabis can be an expensive habit. There are many ways to save your stash and still get high.

You can cut back on your weed. Saving the roach for your next toke or buying weed with high THC are some ways if you are on a tight budget.

There are also a few strategies you can use to save money without denying yourself the pleasure of cannabis.

Grow your own weed

Budding your own weed is cheaper than running to the dispensary every time you feel like toking. Growing cannabis for personal use is easy: all you need is seed, soil, water, and grow boxes. There will be no waste as stems and leaves can be fashioned into different beneficial marijuana products.

Grind it well

By grinding your weed you are increasing the surface of the material. Pack the finished product into a smoking device. They don’t have a wasteful burn and it seems you have more weed for the same amount.

Share only if you have more

Friends are nice, but there are freeloaders who get onboard when you have a full stash, then they vanish. You’ll save a heap of weed and money if you keep your intentions to yourself. Gather your friends if you have more for a fun pot session.

Join the conversation!