While some analysts predict the cannabis industry could be worth in upwards of $22 billion within the next decade, a new report from the Boston Globe shows that a number of traditional industries, ranging from electricians to heating and air conditioning professionals, will also experience a boon in communities where marijuana is legal.
In Massachusetts alone, the economic fallout from legal weed will undoubtedly provide dozens of industries with additional opportunities for work. Crews will be needed to construct cultivation facilities as well as transform retail spaces into dispensaries. There will also be an increased demand for security professionals to protect the safety and well being of those people involved in what remains an all-cash business.
The majority of the money generated from getting the legal cannabis trade off the ground (and keeping it functional) will likely end up staying in the very communities responsible for earning it. Since marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of the federal movement, “a lot of the goods and services for the industry will have to come from within the states,” said former Colorado pot czar Andrew Freedman, who now works as a cannabis consultant.
A study published last year by the Marijuana Policy group shows a $2.40 boost in economic activity from every dollar spent on legal marijuana. Incidentally, it is the support industries that benefited the most.
“In Colorado, we found security services got a good bump,” Adam Orens, one of the study’s authors told the Globe. “There is a whole class of specialized lawyers, and consultants — like me — that have done well. There’s real estate. We saw the cannabis industry rent a lot of B- and C-class retail space, and also transform a lot of industrial space,” he added.
Researchers found that while Colorado’s legal marijuana market generated $996 million in 2015, it had an economic impact of $2.39 billion and created more than 18,000 new jobs. The statewide unemployment rate is now only around 3 percent, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Last month, New Frontier Data published a study that showed how legal marijuana stands to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs all over the nation by 2020 – surpassing both manufacturing and government positions.
But before these jobs can be made available, it stands to reason that construction companies and other contractors are going to be some of the first to capitalize on legal weed.
Counties all over Colorado have confirmed this to be true.
Around “40 percent of all construction permits countywide have been attributed to the cannabis industry,” said Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace.