How Does a Million New Jobs Sound?

By David Jenison on January 23, 2018

New Frontier Data believes ending cannabis prohibition would create more than a million jobs by 2025. The D.C.-based firm made the case for the employment spike in Cannabis in the U.S. Economy: Jobs, Growth & Tax Revenue, which explored the impact of full legalization in comparison to the current patchwork of state-by-state legislation.

Per the 2018 report, current employment in the legal cannabis industry sits around 200,000. Under full legalization, that number would reach 782,000 jobs, and employment would reach 1.1 million by 2025. This would mean that, by 2025, cannabis would employ several hundred thousand more workers than mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction combined.

Likewise, cannabis sales would add $18.9 billion to the economy under the standard tax rate, and the federal government could collect an additional $52 billion if it implemented a 15-percent sales tax on cannabis. In total (with the federal sales tax), full legalization would net nearly $132 billion in new tax revenue over the eight-year period. The government would also collect an additional $24 billion in payroll taxes during that period, going from $19.7 billion to $43.9 billion. 

Even under federal prohibition, the total legal cannabis market reached $8 billion in 2017, up from $1.5 billion in 2000. If no other states legalized medical or recreational consumption, total state-legal sales should reach $24 billion by 2025 (adding up to $155 billion in total sales between 2017 and 2025). If more states legalized cannabis and/or the federal government ended its prohibition, these numbers would go way, way up. For example, the report estimated nearly $62 billion in sales for 2025 if cannabis were legal in all 50 states. 

Prohibition might help create jobs for the prison industry, but ending prohibition would create jobs across countless industries, from growers and retailers to transportation and professional services. In fact, this is already happening in Canada ahead of its pending national legalization. For all the Americans under- or unemployed, a million more jobs must sound great. 

Photo credit: High Maintenance.

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