Impact of marijuana legalization - United States

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Impact of marijuana legalization in the United States

Regions that have legalized marijuana in the United States have seen a wide mix of results including:

1. Reduced Opioid-related incidents

2. Increase in Employment

3. Increase in Tax Revenue

4. Save Money from law enforcement cost (for some types of marijuana-related crime)

5. Real Estate Industry Booms

6. Increase in Recreational Marijuana consumption

7. increase in Investment Opportunities

8. Increase in social good


  • "Medical marijuana is turning this crisis on its ear in many states — a 2014 study found that states with medical marijuana programs have a 25 percent lower opioid-related death rate than states without access to cannabis."
  • "Now, cannabis isn’t a cure-all for mental illness, but it has shown to be a very effective supplemental treatment for depression, anxiety, and even bipolar disorder — without all of the side effects traditionally associated with psychiatric medications."
  • "Medical cannabis has been used effectively for everything from chronic pain and cancer to multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis."
  • "Medical marijuana has proven to be an effective alternative to both over the counter and prescription painkillers, while still allowing the individuals to function normally during their daily life."
  • "Numerous studies as well as law enforcement data have shown that marijuana legalization reduces some types of crime. Arrests and court filings related to marijuana possession, cultivation, and distribution drop significantly after legalization. For example, according to a report from the Drug Policy Alliance, From Prohibition to Progress: A Status Report on Marijuana Legalization, crime dropped in each state after legalization"
  • "The Drug Policy Alliance study reported that the reduced number of arrests that law enforcement agents need to make after marijuana is legalized results in significant savings. In fact, those savings are estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars, which law enforcement can then reallocate to other things, including social investments."
  • "Marijuana legalization is linked to lower rates of opioid-related overdoses, death, and harm, which could significantly improve public health during the current “opioid epidemic” environment. The Drug Policy Alliance report explains that it’s not just medical marijuana availability that affects this aspect of public health, but recreational marijuana legalization has an impact as well."
  • "The Drug Policy Alliance references a separate analysis in Colorado that found after adult-use marijuana became available for retail sale in 2014, opioid overdose deaths declined by 0.7 deaths per month. For decades, the number of opioid overdose deaths in Colorado each year had been rising, but in 2014 (when adult-use marijuana became available), the upward trend started to decline."
  • "A 2017 study by the National U.S. Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration reported that cannabis use in teens declined in most jurisdictions where adult use marijuana had been legalized and was being regulated. This included Oregon, Washington State, Washington, DC, and Colorado – where the teen use rate of marijuana had dropped to its lowest level in nearly 10 years."
  • "In the first month that recreational marijuana stores opened in Colorado, recreational sales exceeded $14 million and medical sales more than doubled that amount at $32.5 million (Chart 1). Since then, recreational sales have grown sharply while medical sales have remained roughly flat.iii In 2014, total annual recreational sales were $303 million, while medical sales totaled $380 million."
  • "By 2017, recreational sales had grown to almost $1.1 billion, and medical sales were almost $417 million. Thus, in 2017, combined marijuana sales in Colorado exceeded $1.5 billion."
  • "By February 2018, recreational retail store licenses had more than tripled to 518 stores, while medical licenses had grown slightly to 503 stores. In addition to retail stores, the state of Colorado also provides business licenses for cultivation facilities, infused product facilities, testing facilities, operators and transporters. "
  • "According to the CBRE Group Inc., a commercial real estate services firm, the marijuana industry occupied 14.2 million square feet of industrial warehouse space in Denver in the fourth quarter of 2016, roughly 2.9 percent of industrial warehouse space in the metropolitan area. "
  • "As the marijuana industry has ramped up in Colorado over the past four years, employment in the industry and in supporting sectors also has expanded. "
  • "Better than expected sales of marijuana in Colorado and Washington over the past several years have resulted in buoyant tax revenues. In 2015, Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees on medical and recreational marijuana. "
  • "California, which is much larger in size and population than Colorado, could exceed $15 billion in sales revenue and $3 billion in tax revenue, according to an April 2016 study by ICF International. A special senate committee in Massachusetts estimated tax revenues from marijuana sales in the range of $50-60 million"
  • "A RCG Economics and Marijuana Policy Group study on Nevada says that legalizing recreational marijuana in the state could support over 41,000 jobs till 2024 and generate over $1.7 billion in labor income. The ICF study estimates at least 81,000 additional direct, indirect and induced jobs in California as a result of legalized marijuana sales. It also projects an increase in total labor income by at least $3.5 billion."
  • "Currently, federal marijuana enforcement costs several billion dollars per year. A 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that the costs at that time were approximately $3.6 billion per year. The more states that legalize cannabis, the lower the cost of enforcement would likely be"
  • "Researchers found that legalizing marijuana had a positive impact on the economy of Pueblo County, Colo. In a landmark report out of the Colorado State University-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research, researchers found that a taxed and regulated cannabis industry contributed more than $58 million to the local economy, reports The Denver Post."
  • "While there was about $23 million in added costs to legalization – including law enforcement and social services – the county still ended up with a net positive impact of more than $35 million."
  • "Pueblo has made headlines for its scholarships that are funded by a local marijuana excise tax. Last year, the county dedicated $420,000 to scholarships for 210 students. This year, the county is set to triple the number of scholarships it offers as tax collections are expected to top $750,000, reports KOAA."
  • "Legalizing marijuana on the federal level could result in an additional $105.6 billion between 2017 and 2025, according to a new report from the cannabis analytics firm New Frontier. That figure includes projections for business tax revenues, payroll withholdings, and a 15% sales tax."
  • "Total marijuana arrests dropped by half during a five-year period, decreasing to 6,153 in 2017 from 12,709 in 2012. "
  • "Marijuana possession arrests — the majority of all marijuana-related arrests — were cut by more than half during the same period, dropping to 5,154 from 11,361."
  • "Pot grown illegally on public lands — an indicator for the size of the black market — also is on the rise with 80,926 plants seized in 2017, a 73 percent increase in five years."
  • "Organized crime cases almost tripled in five years, increasing to 119 in 2017 from 31 in 2012."
  • "The number of adults who use marijuana increased between 2014 and 2017, with men getting high more often than women and young adults ages 18 to 25 the most frequent users."
  • "The real estate industry is booming in states where marijuana is blooming—that is, in states that have legalized the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Here is a quick overview. In November 2016, voters in California, Maine and Massachusetts, all approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use."
  • "With a number of states having already legalized medicinal marijuana the demand for cannabis continues to be on the rise. With an increase in demand for the product comes an increase in the need for production facilities."
  • "Marijuana retailers have been increasingly seeking high-end store fronts to sell their product. However, due to the difficulty in obtaining licenses to operate dispensaries and the amount of local and federal regulations involved, the biggest demand has instead been for cultivation space."
  • "Industrial space has been in the highest demand due to both marijuana growers and manufacturers seeking out industrial warehouses to cultivate and process their product."
  • "Following legalization of recreational marijuana, no significant changes in the numbers of youth who used marijuana occurred, yet increases in the frequency of use by youth who were already using marijuana were found. "
  • "For teenagers who had tried marijuana by 8th grade, the frequency of use during the following year increased 26% more for those who were in 9th grade after marijuana was legalized compared to those who were in 9th grade prior to legalization."
  • "The results indicate there may be an immediate impact of legalization for youth who had already initiated marijuana use because they increased their use after legalization. "
  • "According to the report, there’s been a significant increase in cannabis consumption among Californians' over the past year. Consumers currently account for 29 percent of adults in California, which is up from 23 percent in 2017. "
  • "Additionally, the number of rejecters decreased from 40 percent in 2017 to 38 percent in 2018, implying the tolerance and acceptance of cannabis is becoming more common."
  • "Some of that has to do with changes in legalization, what’s happening in distribution and retail systems, and brands. But it’s clear that open conversation about cannabis is happening more now than ever before, and it’s affecting everything from attitudes to opinions to consumption.”"
  • "High-net-worth individuals have become a go-to source of investment dollars. This is partly because of the size of many of the companies, which are generally too small for institutional investors. But it’s also because many of the companies require affluent investors who are willing to operate in a moral and legal gray area."
  • "nvestors put $500 million into private cannabis companies last year, said Troy Dayton, the chief executive and a co-founder of Arcview, which also has an investment arm. Since 2011, his group, which consists of 600 investors, has made $155 million worth of investments in the cannabis industry, from growers and dispensaries to companies that make ancillary products, like vaping devices."
  • "The safest investment is in legal businesses like pharmaceutical companies using cannabis in their treatments as well as companies that make devices to consume cannabis, create sales and tracking software, develop or manage the real estate related to cannabis, or even provide human resources to the industry. "
  • "For those looking for less risk, investing in real estate built specifically for cannabis companies offers high returns but at an arm’s length from the businesses housed within."
  • "Colorado distributed $230 million to the Colorado Department of Education between 2015 and 2017 to fund school construction, early literacy, bullying prevention, and behavioral health."
  • "Oregon allocates 40% of marijuana tax revenue to its state school fund, depositing $34 million into the fund so far. The state also distributes 20% to alcohol and drug treatment."
  • "California and Massachusetts will invest a share of their marijuana tax revenues in the communities most adversely impacted by drug arrests and incarceration, particularly low-income communities of color, to help repair the harms of unequal drug law enforcement."
  • "Washington dedicates 25% to substance use disorder treatment, education and prevention. The state also distributes 55% of its marijuana tax revenues to fund basic health plans."