It was revealed on Thursday by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that the Trump Administration would likely impose a major crackdown on the recreational cannabis market. However, the cannabis industry remains hopeful that its ability to contribute hundreds of thousands of new jobs to the grand scheme of American commerce may keep recreational marijuana safe.
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In fact, the latest market analysis from New Frontier Data shows legal cannabis may have the power to resurrect the “middle class,” which is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, by contributing more jobs to the American workforce in the next few years than the manufacturing industry. The report shows legal weed could easily lend to the addition of a quarter of a million new jobs by 2020. That’s more of an employment boost than the combination of factory and government positions, according to Forbes.
“It’s very hard to look at both the numbers and associated economic dynamics and envision that this genie could be put back in the bottle,” said John Kagia, New Frontier’s executive vice president of industry analytics.
However, policy experts, like John Hudak of the Brookings Institution, say the impressive financial projections surrounding the cannabis industry is nowhere near large enough to keep the federal government from shutting it down. Hudak recently told a crowd at the Virginia Cannabis Conference that they were “insane” to think legal marijuana was “too big and popular” to become a target for federal drug enforcers.
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“Your industry is small by any metric of American capitalism,” Hudak said. “You are a speck of dust in a clutter of dirt of American capitalism… The president is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If you think that hospitals, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry are small enough to be shaken down by the president, but the cannabis industry is too big to face the same challenge from the president, once again, you’re insane.”
Although a federal crackdown on the recreational marijuana industry in states like California and Maine, which have yet to launch their newly legal markets, would not likely sting too bad, it could have a devastating impact on places like Colorado and Washington, which have grown accustom to the legal marijuana business over the past three years.
Kristi Kelly, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, said the Trump Administration’s decision to wage war on the legal cannabis industry would “cause a recession,” in Colorado, sending tens of thousands of workers to the unemployment line.
“The economics of this are huge in Colorado,” Kelly said. “There is a billion-dollar economic impact in Colorado, which is directly attributable or affiliated with the cannabis industry, so that equates to 20,000 people licensed in trade.”
But if President Trump and his U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, allow the legal cannabis industry to continue with business as usual, New Frontier estimates the nationwide marijuana industry will be worth $24 billion by 2025. However, there is a possibility that only medical marijuana will survive – a scenario that would severely cramp the market’s overall growth potential.