July 25, 2024
Legal Marijuana

Legal Marijuana: An Industry in its Early Growth Stages

Emerging Revenue and Tax Opportunities

As more states legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, many see potential tax revenue to be gained. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal tax revenues could increase by up to $7 billion annually if marijuana were taxed similarly to alcohol or tobacco. States that have legalized have already started seeing tax benefits. Colorado reported over $135 million in tax and fee revenue from legal marijuana sales in 2017 alone. With more states considering legalization, the tax opportunities are growing.

Job Creation Across Multiple Industries

Legal Marijuana opens up opportunities for legitimate jobs across various business sectors including agriculture, retail, marketing, law, consulting and more. In Colorado, the legal marijuana industry employed around 18,000 full time workers and contractors in 2017. As production and sales increase to meet demand, more positions will be needed to fill roles in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retail sales and regulatory compliance. Trade associations also predict related jobs in fields like security, technology and banking. Legalization could provide thousands of new jobs as the industry expands.

Challenges in Addressing Public Health Concerns

While legalization seems to be an inevitable trend, public health effects must still be addressed appropriately. Issues like preventing youth access, deterring drugged driving and developing prescription alternatives require consideration. Comprehensive regulations and education around proper use can help minimize risks. Legalization also provides an opportunity for more objective research on both medical benefits and health impacts. With better data, policies can aim to restrict negative consequences while preserving individual liberty and legitimate business activity. Overall public safety will depend on government efforts to regulate responsibly while respecting consumer choice.

Potential Reduction in Criminal Justice Costs

Enforcing Legal Marijuana prohibition has burdened criminal justice systems with high incarceration and court costs. The ACLU estimates states collectively spend over $3.6 billion a year enforcing pot laws. Some analysts argue legalization could help states redirect these funds to other priorities. In states that have legalized, tax revenues and reduced enforcement costs have covered regulatory expenses with money left over. As one market substitute replaces another due to changing social values, associated criminal justice spending may see decreasing burdens. Of course, legalization also requires new regulatory budgets, but total expenditures could be reduced compared to prohibition.

Growing Investment and Industry Maturation

As the stigma fades and legal barriers fall, major investors are putting money into cannabis companies. According to ArcView Market Research and BDS Analytics, legal marijuana sales grew 33% in 2018 to over $10 billion. As more capital flows in, industry structures will mature to employ best practices in areas like consumer safety, environmental sustainability and quality control. Large mainstream corporations may eventually enter the market, helping integrate marijuana into the economy and shape industry standards. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs with specialized expertise will drive product innovation and competitive market dynamics. Over time, marijuana appears poised to develop into a professionally-regulated industry supported by established business interests.

Evolving Social Attitudes Support Reform

Perhaps most significantly, changing social perspectives have helped advance legalization reforms. National surveys found over 60% of Americans now support legalizing marijuana use. Younger demographics in particular view marijuana much differently than older generations did during the “War on Drugs” era. As today’s youth become tomorrow’s voters and leaders, their more inclusive views will likely cement marijuana’s social acceptance on par with alcohol. Many argue non-violent drug offenders are serving excessively long sentences for behaviors that are no longer considered morally unacceptable by much of society. This gap between laws and social values provides momentum for continued policy reforms.

International Reform Trends Offer Clues for the Future

Countries around the world are watching America’s state-level legalization experiments closely as possible models for their own marijuana regulation approaches. Canada became the second nation to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018. Mexico may soon follow suit while other nations have decriminalized or legalized medical use. Some predict that within a few decades, prohibitions will fall throughout much of the world as tolerance rises and regulatory options prove viable. Countries establishing well-controlled legal markets may gain an early competitive advantage as international trade evolves. The ultimate outcomes in America’s nascent legal industry will shape debate and set precedents globally for how nations reconcile marijuana with public health and commerce going forward.

From criminalizing possession to taxing legal sales, perceptions of marijuana have swung dramatically in a short time. Remaining challenges regarding use and health still warrant prudent policymaking. However, most signs indicate the social tide and mature legal industry have momentum to transform marijuana from an underground vices into a mainstream product supported by small businesses and major corporations. As legal marijuana carves a recognized place in the free market, many local economies and criminal justice systems could realize long term benefits while upholding consumer safety regulations shaped by open debate on accumulated facts rather than lingering fears of the drug war era. How different jurisdictions resolve complex implementation challenges may clarify how to best govern newly legal vices going forward.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public Source, Desk Research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.

About Author:

Ravina Pandya, Content Writer, has a strong foothold in the market research industry. She specializes in writing well-researched articles from different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/ravina-pandya-1a3984191)