The amount of money the marijuana industry contributed to state economies in 2017 is amazing, and it does not even include California yet. Sales matched that of the entire snack bar industry or Pamper’s diaper sales .
While the following statistics are both impressive and promising, there is a lot to consider about the future of the U.S. economy and the marijuana industry’s financial rise. On January 26th, 2018, the S&P 500 hit a new all time and has, since 2009, been on the most aggressive bull run in history. While the marijuana industry has contributed to the rise in the overall stock market, the stock market may also end up being one of the cannabis industry’s largest upcoming setbacks.
The emerging industry took in nearly $9 billion in sales in 2017, according to Tom Adams, managing director of BDS Analytics, which tracks the cannabis industry. Sales are equivalent to the entire snack bar industry, or to annual revenue from Pampers diapers.
That was before California opened its massive retail market in January. The addition of the Golden State is huge for the industry and Adams estimates that national marijuana sales will rise to $11 billion in 2018, and to $21 billion in 2021.
The industry has also been creating jobs and opportunities. There are 9,397 active licenses for marijuana businesses in the U.S., according to Ed Keating, chief data officer for Cannabiz Media, which tracks marijuana licenses. This includes cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, dispensaries, distributors, deliverers and test labs.
More than 100,000 people are working around the cannabis plant and that number’s going to grow, according to BDS Analytics. The industry employed 121,000 people in 2017. If marijuana continues its growth trajectory, the number of workers in that field could reach 292,000 by 2021, according to BDS Analytics.
BDS Analytics estimates that the industry owed $1 billion in state taxes in 2016, and owes another $1.4 billion for 2017.
Again, all of these statistics are astonishing and promising, but there are few people in the country that have forgotten the 2008 or the 2001 market downfalls. Has our economy actually made adjustments enough to prevent that from happening again? Or, is the truth that our economy is more vulnerable to a market collapse than ever? The U.S. marijuana industry may be benefiting from a somewhat robust U.S. economy now, but if the overall market collapses again, how will the cannabis industry avoid taking a massive step backwards financially? One of the greatest benefits to the legal marijuana industry may be that it actually helps cushion an overall market collapse since, like other commodities, consumers will continue to purchase it with their limited amount of capital.