Marijuana advocates often point to a variety of factors, like jobs, real estate prices and increased tourism, to argue that legalization improves local economies. But a first-of-its-kind study has definitely proven that is the case.
Researchers at Colorado State University-Pueblo examined to what degree marijuana legalization affected local economies. The found that the marijuana industry in 2016 had an economic impact of around $58 million in Pueblo County in Colorado, and that the industry had an economic cost of around $23 million. That means that in 2016, the marijuana industry had a net positive of $35 million in economic activity in one county alone. They predicted that net amount could reach $100 million by 2021.
The study looked at several factors to determine economic impact, including revenue, construction, marijuana use, homelessness, crime, environmental impact and many more. Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace actually said he believes the report is a conservative estimate, and he believes they may have actually overestimated the costs and undervalued the benefits.
The researchers also looked at various aspects that anti-cannabis advocates use as arguments against legalization, such as an increase in homelessness, poverty and crime, and found that none of those factors seemed to increase with legalization.
So this study is proof of what both cannabis activists and people living in legalized states have known for years: legalization is all good news.