It turns out pot is a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries active in Colorado.
Legal weed created 18,005 full-time jobs and added about $2.4 billion to the state’s economy last year, an analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG) shows.
Between the dollars that customers spend and the money businesspeople invest in their crops and shops, pot is generating more wealth and activity than almost anything else on a pound-for-pound basis. Every dollar spent in the industry generates between $2.13 and $2.40 in economic activity. Only federal government spending has a higher multiplier.
The numbers land just weeks before voters in five other states must decide whether or not to follow Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska into the legal, recreational marijuana future. Three further states are weighing new medical marijuana systems, and Montana voters face a referendum on changes to a dozen-year-old medicinal cannabis program there that’s all but locked up thanks to years of legislative sabotage in Bismarck.
Medical systems in Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota would bring their own economic dividends. But tax-and-regulate legalization for adult recreational use is where the real money is.
The Colorado economics modeling can’t give precise, reliable projections for how adult-use pot legalization would play out in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Arizona. Sales volumes are particularly volatile to project as the green frontier opens wider, potentially redistributing pot tourism spending between states.