Last year, eight new states were added to the ever-growing list of medical and recreational marijuana markets. With that has come a lot of discussion around the industry and its legitimacy and impact. Here at Surna, we’ve seen this discussion play out over and over during the last few months so we wanted to share what we think of the industry and its current and potential impact.
To begin this conversation with anything but cannabis’ potential medical benefits would be remiss. Unfortunately, due to the way cannabis is currently scheduled in the US as a Schedule I narcotic, there has been limited research into potential health benefits. However, based on the anecdotal and limited research evidence we do have, it is safe to say that cannabis is a game changer for many suffering with everything from cancer to chronic pain to mental illness. Both of the compounds in cannabis (CBD and THC) have multiple medicinal uses and the potential to provide much needed relief to those suffering. In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of support from physicians around the world and the country for using cannabis medically. Fortunately, this support is growing among both citizens and health organizations (like American Public Health Association and the Federation of American Scientists, among others), indicating that we may be on our way toward greater research and ultimately, greater relief for those suffering with various illnesses.
Cannabis has also been a huge source of economic growth and revenue for the states that have chosen to legalize it. For example, Colorado’s cannabis market grew 32% in 2016 from $993 million in 2015 to $1.3 billion, leading to a state economic growth rate of twice the national average. The cannabis market helped Colorado to recover from an economic downturn and even as other states legalize, Colorado still sees steadily rising sales. When you then consider that every sales dollar of cannabis represents $2.40 in state output from the various activities related to its cultivation, processing and sale, you begin to recognize the incredible economic impact of this young market.
If the economic growth from cannabis isn’t enough, states have been making incredible revenues from taxes levied on the manufacture and sale of this plant. So far, Colorado has collected roughly $180 million in taxes with $50 million of it specifically allocated for building of new schools. This is real impact. This will create real opportunities for the next generation.
Furthermore, there are currently 122,000 people employed in the cannabis industry. Think about that for a moment. That’s 122,000 people working in areas directly related to plant- cultivation, processing and selling. Now consider all the ancillary jobs that have been created to support the industry- construction, regulation, technology, etc. This is no small number. California is already responsible for approximately 43,000 of those jobs and the adult-use market has not even been established yet. The potential for job creation in this young industry is amazing and exciting in a country where so many are currently un- and under-employed.
Last year’s election was promising for cannabis as a whole but the adult-use laws passed in California may be one of the most exciting things to happen to the market. Consider that California has the 6th largest economy in the world. In the world! It is projected that California’s adult use market in its first full year (2018) will be $1.6 billion! And California isn’t the only state. Florida’s medical market is expected to rival Colorado’s. Massachusetts will also see significant sales in its first year. In fact, experts are projecting that the industry will grow 184% nationwide to $21 billion by 2021, cementing cannabis as an incredibly valuable US industry.
The potential that the cannabis industry has in offering relief for those suffering, fueling economic growth, creating jobs and providing much needed tax revenue to states is immense. Here at Surna, we’ve dedicated our business to supporting those going after a dream that is becoming increasingly realizable. We are constantly awed at what is happening to the industry and are extremely excited to watch it all unfold from the front lines. For questions on how we can help you get in on some of this action, drop us a line. We’re always excited to talk to fellow dreamers!