Across the United States, views are changing about medical cannabis (and cannabis in general.) The anti-drug war stance is gradually softening at a seemingly indiscernible pace, despite solid proof that the economy would greatly benefit from the legalization of marijuana.
The cannabis industry is hotter than ever. Based on current statistical trends, legalization is opening up the nation’s economy.
Marijuana Business Daily has recently released data indicating that the U.S. cannabis industry will add $44 billion to the nation’s economy by 2020. That’s only if the current legalization trend continues.
Yahoo Finance reported that the figures aren’t tied only to marijuana sales. The estimates also include the amount of money circulating as a direct result of the marijuana transactions.
According to Yahoo! Finance: “As for actual sales of marijuana, that figure is estimated at $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion for this year in just states that have legalized medical and recreational use. That’s up from $3 billion to $3.4 billion last year, and in 2014 it was $2 billion to $2.4 billion.”
The overall yearly marijuana sales market for the US, which includes the black market, has reached the $30 to $45 billion mark. It is estimated that by 2020 legal sales will reach anywhere from $6 to $11 billion.
According to MBD: “The estimates attempt to capture the industry’s overall contribution to the economy, encompassing everything from revenues generated by cannabis-related companies, licensing fees and taxes to marijuana tourism, employee spending, job creation and the impact on real estate prices in a community.”
“We’re witnessing the emergence of a business that is about to become a massive economic force,” MBD’s managing editor, Chris Walsh, explained. “These figures, which we deem conservative, show not only how important the industry already is to the U.S economy at large, but also how much more important it is about to become.”
Federal regulations will be a determining factor for legalization. Although the MBD figures are promising, Yahoo! Finance argues that the federal laws keeping marijuana illegal may impact these estimates drastically.
Prohibition at the federal level continues to make banking for marijuana businesses nearly impossible. There is a growing push at the grassroots level to change the federal definition and scheduling of marijuana.
In Mid-April, The United Nations General Assembly will be holding a Special Session to discuss International Drug Policy. This will be the first one in over 17 years.