The marijuana industry is on fire in the US, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. With the fourth quarter of 2019 still ahead of us, the industry is positioned to bring in more than the $52 million in sales posted already. But that’s not the end of it. Recreational marijuana use is legal in 10 US states, while medical marijuana is legal in 33. Let’s look at some of the economic impacts the marijuana industry has brought to the table with four of the most mindblowing facts about the industry.
The GDP, Baby
According to the Marijuana Business Factbook, in 2017 alone, the legal marijuana industry brought between $20 billion and $23 billion into the economy. By 2022, economic impact estimates are as high as $77 billion. That’s a lot of dough, and, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, comparable to the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of Idaho and West Virginia combined, and worth more than the GDP of nine states, including Alaska.
Let’s not skip over Colorado — A group of researchers at Colorado State University-Pueblo in 2018 found some interesting information. They learned that in 2016, the marijuana industry in Pueblo County alone, for just one year, was $58 million. Despite additional costs related to the industry, such as law enforcement and social services, the county of fewer than 200,000 residents made out $35 million in the black.
Mega-Employer with Higher Wages
Just the jobs directly involved with handling legal marijuana plants employ at least 250,000 people, and that’s not including auxiliary roles in the industry. That’s according to information from New Frontier Data, a firm involved with cannabis market-research and data-analysis.
Another study, by BDS Analytics, estimates the industry has the potential to generate more than 467,000 jobs in 2022. Those are huge numbers that tower over the 268,000 employees working at US steel and iron mills or the 52,300 employed by the coal-mining industry in 2018.
The marijuana industry pays better, too. According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary in the marijuana industry was $58,511 in 2018. Compare that to the $52,863 median salary for all US workers.
Billion Dollar Investment
In 2018 alone, over $10 billion was invested in the marijuana industry. It’s predicted that 2019 will generate another $16 billion in investments into the industry. Recent growth is just the tip of the iceberg, and there’s more money to be made. Despite federal prohibition, the legal cannabis industry grew 31% in 2017, and forecasts predict more explosive growth. With continuing legalization, both for medical use and adult-use, nationwide spending in the US is estimated to be close to $23.4 billion in 2022.
Black Market Remains Lucrative
While the legal side of the marijuana industry is generating profits, the black market remains extremely profitable as well. According to a report from Arcview Market Research, while the marijuana market in the US in 2016 is estimated at $52 billion — legal marijuana sales made up just $6.2 billion of that total. The remaining $45 billion-plus owes to the black market. End result? 87% of marijuana sales in 2016 were illegal.