In 2015, the legal marijuana industry in Colorado created more than 18,000 new full-time jobs and generated $2.4 billion in economic activity, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis of the economics of legal cannabis in the state.
The study, conducted by the economic consulting firm Marijuana Policy Group, is based on two years of sales numbers from the state of Colorado. It measured both the direct effects of legalization — including close to $1 billion in retail sales in 2015 — and the industry’s spillover effects on the Colorado economy.
These indirect impacts of marijuana legalization came from increased demand on local goods and services: growers rent warehouse space and purchase sophisticating lighting and irrigation equipment, for instance. Marijuana retailers similarly rely on other companies, like contractors, lawyers and book-keeping services, to conduct their own businesses.
“If this is done right, regulated right, taxed right, this industry can bring real economic benefits to a state,” study co-author and MPG founder Adam Orens said in an interview.