As we gingerly move into an unpredictable and so far unpleasant reality that some are calling Trumpism, we are trying to ascertain what the new administration, under the likes of virulently anti-pot Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, will mean for the cannabis industry. Admittedly, we are a bit nervous.
However, with a majority of states now enjoying legal weed in some form, we try to be optimistic in the hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights.
This begs an obvious question: How could the current administration not see the benefits of legal marijuana, one of the fastest growing industries in the country that is creating what everybody wants—jobs, jobs and more jobs?
A recent report from New Frontier Data projects that by 2020, the legal cannabis market will create more than a quarter of a million jobs. Yes, that many.
This is more jobs than are expected to come from manufacturing, utilities and the government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New Frontier Data is basing these projections on markets in states that have already passed legalization initiatives and does not include additional states that will likely pass initiatives in the coming years.
So, let’s do some numbers.
The legal cannabis market was worth an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016 and is projected to grow at an annual rate of 17 percent. MMJ sales are projected to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Recreational sales are estimated to jump from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.
“These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job creation engine for the U.S. economy,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, founder and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier Data.
“While we see a potential drop in total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017, as reported by Kiplinger, as well as an overall expected drop in GDP growth, the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline,” Aguirre De Carcer told Forbes.
Aguirre De Carcer said that despite a possible slow down in the cannabis industry in the next three to five years, projected total market sales are expected to exceed $24 billion by 2025, with the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020.
“It remains a positive economic force in the U.S.,” she continued.
New Frontier’s job projections are based on an initial analysis done by the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG), which was hired by Colorado for an economic analysis.
Using MPG’s estimates, New Frontier developed a model for the number of jobs created in the recreational and medical marijuana sectors of Colorado’s market.