In the last twenty years something happened that decades before no one would have imagined was actually possible – medical marijuana has been legalized in over half of the states in the U.S. On top of that, states are now moving in the direction of creating a legal cannabis industry for adult consumption. All this has done so much to change the way people see cannabis, especially as a medicine; it’s saved lives, it’s kept people out of jail and created opportunities for people they could have only ever dreamed of prior to legalization.
One of the biggest benefits to the community as a whole when it comes to cannabis legalization is the number of jobs that it has created for the states that have chosen to take this route. In creating a new industry, they created jobs at multiple levels – new government officials who are in charge of overseeing the industry, those who get hired to help pick up the slack in departments in charge of licensing, those who are investing in new businesses in all aspects of the industry from cultivation and processing to retail sales and accessories/products that go along with it – plus all the people that those companies need to keep their doors open.
“We expect the cannabis industry’s growth to be slowed down to some degree in the next three to five years,” Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data told Forbes. “However with a projected total market sales to exceed $24 billion by 2025, and the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020, it remains a positive economic force in the U.S.”
The cannabis industry is starting to look like one of the biggest, expected to produce at least 250,000 jobs within the next three years, and that only includes the states with existing medical or recreational marijuana industries (not even mentioning any states who are in the process of creating such an industry through initiative or legislation in the coming years). In comparison the biggest industry right now is manufacturing, which is expected to lose 814,000 jobs by 2020, followed by government jobs and utilities, which are expected to decline by 383,000 and 47,000 jobs, respectively.
“The governments and the programs that they’ve instilled into these (legalized) states have created great job opportunities and excellent business opportunities for entrepreneurs,” said Mark Lustig, Chief Executive Officer of CannaRoyalty. “They’ve created the right competition.”
Even though they are currently predicting that things could slow down for the cannabis industry in the next 3-5 years, that again, doesn’t include the states who have yet to move in the direction of legal cannabis. There are several states looking at legalizing marijuana through either ballot initiatives or lawmaker’s efforts, some hoping to finally bring medical cannabis to their state and others hoping to have a legal recreational market as eight other states have done so far. How things will play out with the new presidential administration is still shaky – but chances are, something this big is just too much to try and “put back in the box” now that the box has been opened – and we will continue to see such growth in the coming years.