Marijuana legalization opponents typically will cite a number of reasons against permitting the cannabis industry within their county or city limits. There is an assumption that by allowing marijuana into their community it will lead to an increase in addiction, homelessness and a general poorer quality of life. Opponents will often say that they first want to see how cannabis business affects other towns and cities first.
Evidence that the listed assumptions are false is becoming apparent as the many cities that have allowed the cannabis industry within their borders are finding it to be a boon to their economy. One of the best examples is Peublo, Colorado, where prior to recreational legalization in 2014, the city had one of the lowest employment rates in all of Colorado which were nearly all sourced through the prison system and local hospitals.
Researchers at Colorado State University-Pueblo say the cannabis industry has been a salvation’s wing for Pueblo County. Their study, which was a collaborative effort alongside the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and the Industrial Hemp Research Foundation, shows that legal weed struck an economic chord to the tune of around $58 million in 2016.
This success, however, did not come for free. The city invested $23 million during that time to lay the groundwork for legal cannabis sales. But at the end of the day, Pueblo still reaped the benefit of roughly $35 million of economic impact.
What’s more is the situation is still improving. The economic impression from legal marijuana will spawn approximately $100 million annually within the next three years, the report finds. Not too bad for a city destined for ruins just a few short years ago.
Marijuana legalization has brought in a tremendous amount of tax revenue and reports from New Frontier Data suggest that by 2025, if marijuana legalization has spread throughout the United States, it could bring in $105.6 billion in federal tax revenue and generate as many as 1 million new jobs. Are you a believer that cannabis legalization is an economically healthy contribution to any economy?