A new report from New Frontier predicts that approximately 300,000 people will work in the legal cannabis industry by 2020.
The legalized cannabis in the United States only started in 1996. In 20 years, a social and economic movement has fought stigmas and legal obstacles to become a major force in the United States economy.
(Unfortunately, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer warned yesterday that “greater enforcement” of recreational marijuana laws could be on the horizon, which would effect any future job or revenue projections.)
The statement was issued shortly after data was released from New Frontier. The cannabis data firm painted an optimistic picture of the industry’s potential growth.
The cannabis industry was valued at close to $7 billion in 2016 and already employs approximately 150,000 people. That number is expected to nearly double in three years. New Frontier estimates that there will be approximately 283,000 jobs in the U.S. cannabis sector by 2020.
The economic impact is likely to continue beyond 2020. New markets will become available if states continue the trend of legalizing medical and recreational cannabis. The report also indicated the cannabis industry will grow to a massive value of $24 billion by 2025.
“These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job creation engine for the U.S. economy,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data. “While we see a potential drop in the total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017, as reported by Kiplinger, as well as an overall expected drop in GDP growth, the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline. We expect the cannabis industry’s growth to be slowed down to some degree in the next 3 to 5 years, however with a projected total market sales to exceed $24 billion by 2025, and the possibility of almost 300,000 jobs by 2020, it remains a positive economic force in the U.S.”
The New Frontier numbers are impressive on their own merit. However, there is more to measure than just simple job numbers and overall industry value. New markets require professional services such as lawyers and accountants. Grow facilities have to be built by construction workers. There are also security personnel and surveillance needed in dispensaries. The list goes on. New jobs also equal new income tax revenue for local municipalities. In Colorado, cannabis has helped pay for new social services.
Spicer’s comments were not what members of the cannabis industry wanted to hear. But “greater enforcement” does not necessarily mean the Trump administration will want to tear apart the blossoming industry. Perhaps the White House will be swayed by promising data like that included in the New Frontier report.