Researchers with the Marijuana Policy Group in Denver say that legal pot has a $2.4 billion economic impact in Colorado.
That’s according to a 24-page report released Wednesday. The study was done by a group of researchers who served as marijuana economists for the state of Colorado, including CU’s Miles Light and MPG’s Adam Orens.
Their study found that marijuana legalization led to 18,005 new jobs in 2015, and netted $996 million in sales and $121 million in taxes.
They also say the marijuana industry has more output and employment per dollar than 90 percent of all industries in the state, since cannabis can’t be imported, all of the workers live in state and the owners are also typically from Colorado.
This won’t come as a shock, but tax revenue from marijuana grew 91.1 percent from 2014 to 2015, largely because all of the new growth was recreational – something that is taxed at a higher rate than medical sales.
It’s not all positive news.
The researchers say they expect the marijuana’s growth to slow between 2015 and 2020 because the transition to legal from black market sales is almost complete.
They also predict fewer sales to tourists, since numerous others states – including Arizona, Nevada, California, Massachusetts and Maine – are also mulling legalization.
Finally, researchers say prices are dropping and expected to stabilize in the next four years.
Nevertheless, marijuana taxes are expected to eclipse cigarette taxes by 2020, reaching about $150 million.