Legal cannabis in Colorado is generating more combined economic activity than any other industry, according to a report from the Marijuana Policy Group. In the report, the research group uses a new “Marijuana Impact Model” by which to measure the economic impact that legalization has brought to the state. The group says the new impact model “accurately characterizes how the legal marijuana industry impacts the overall state economy.”
The report starts by covering what we already know. Legal cannabis-related commerce generated $2.39 billion in 2015 and close to $1 billion in sales. The sales from 2015 increased by 42.4 percent from 2014. A remarkable 112 metric tons of buds and 132 metric tons of flower-equivalent products — like edibles and concentrates — were sold in 2015.
Legal Colorado cannabis now ranks number six as far as product sales. Cigarette sales are a close number five. Even in a state with an incredible venue like the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, legal cannabis beats all performing arts and sports venues. The cannabis sector also bests all non-grain crop farming.
While these numbers are greatly encouraging, the real positive economic impact is seen in terms of “output and employment per dollar spent”. In these terms, the cannabis industry outperforms all private industries in Colorado. According to the report, each dollar spent on retail cannabis generates $2.40 in state output, followed by cannabis manufacturing at $2.34. Cannabis cultivation brings in $2.13 for each dollar spent. If we combine the three, cannabis is generating far more than any other entity.
The legal Colorado cannabis industry is benefiting from the fact that they operate almost entirely in state. Once legalization takes hold in other states, this could change for Colorado. For now though, business is booming.
Some other impressive numbers from the report:
- Legal cannabis created more than 18,000 jobs in 2015
- The cannabis industry is growing at 42 percent, a faster pace than any other industry
- 36 percent of the economic growth of cannabis was attributed to the increasing uselessness of the black market
- The visitor demand segment is poised to grow from 14 metric tons in 2015 to 55.1 metric tons by 2020, based upon these new, sole-purpose visitors choosing Colorado as a marijuana destination
- Combined marijuana excise and sales tax revenues were $63.4 million in 2014, and $121.2 million in 2015
- In 2015, marijuana taxes were the second largest revenue source among excise products in the state
The high tax rate on Colorado cannabis certainly isn’t deterring people from enjoying the plant. The report noted that much of the cannabis revenue came from visitors on weed vacations, pointing to the fact that marijuana tourism is seeing a big rise as well.
This report is yet another piece of evidence that there is seemingly no ceiling when it comes to the growth potential of all things legal cannabis. Despite all of the risks involved and hoops to jump through, the American green rush continues in full effect – with no particular end in sight.