Here’s How Many Jobs Would Be Created by Legalizing Marijuana

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Laws around marijuana use, for medicinal purposes and for recreation, have been expanding over the course of the last few years. Some advocate legalization, but others are concerned about the implications. One consequence that shouldn’t be overlooked in this debate is how legalizing marijuana would change the job market.

It’s important to understand the economic implications of legalization in order to make the right decisions about future legislation. New reports from the research firm ArcView and from New Frontier, presented by The Motley Fool alongside other research, sheds some light on this important aspect of the debate. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the key findings from the latest research:

1. Marijuana stocks are thriving

Research from other organization indicates that the public’s opinion of legalized marijuana, especially for medical purposes, is changing. Pew Research Center found that 61 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization in 2017. Only 12 percent of people supported it in 1969.

This fact, combined with rapidly growing sales, has helped marijuana stocks to thrive in recent years. Many are up more than 1000 percent. This is certainly a good sign for the future job market of the industry.

2. Legalizing marijuana nationally would create a lot of jobs

New Frontier estimates that, if marijuana were legalized today, roughly 782,000 new jobs would be created. Furthermore, they estimate that by 2025, that number would grow to 1.1 million.

The vertical production chain within the industry would grow – jobs would be created for farmers, processors, and retailers. Also, dozens of other related businesses stand to benefit from such a change. Consulting services, marketing companies, and accounting firms would all see an uptick in business, for example.

All of these factors combined mean that marijuana could become the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. if legalization were to take root nationally.

3. The economy would benefit in a big way

Researchers from New Frontier estimated that this change would generate 131.8 billion in federal tax revenue between 2017-2025. They produced this figure by assuming a 15 percent sales tax, payroll tax dedications, and business tax revenue which they calculated at 35 percent. After everything is settled, that leaves an estimated 51.7 billion in total tax revenue for collection by the federal government.

4. However, there are also potential downsides

The debate over whether or not to legalize marijuana in the U.S. has been going on for quite some time and it’s likely to continue for years to come. This is partially because it’s difficult to determine what the long-term implications of such a shift would really be, both socially and economically. However, marijuana, and other drugs, are a factor in the economy, and in many individual’s lives, whether they’re legalized or not.

Consider the fact that the opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse to be about 78.5 billion a year. Perhaps it’s time to focus federal attention, and funds, on this accelerating crisis rather than on fighting marijuana use and other lesser dangers.

Still, it’s unclear how exactly legalizing marijuana nationally, even just for medical purposes, would affect the country economically and otherwise. Although it is apparent that legalization would certainly create a lot of jobs. Still, more research would help lawmakers, and the general public, to settle on the best decision.

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