Legal marijuana may be threatened by the Donald Trump administration, but legalization could actually help him achieve one of his top professed goals: more American jobs.
If nothing changes — no new states legalize medical or recreational, and no states overturn current legalization — more than a quarter of a million jobs will be created by 2020, according to a report from New Frontier Data. Compare that to the 814,000 manufacturing jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to leave the United States by 2024. In short, investing in a secure jobs plan means investing in cannabis legalization.
Legal marijuana was worth around $7.2 billion in 2016, Forbes writes, and it’s expected to grow at 17 percent annually. That puts medical sales up to $13.3 billion by 2020, and bumps recreational sales up to $11.2 billion by 2020.
“These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job-creation engine for the U.S. economy,” Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the founder and CEO of New Frontier Data, told Forbes. “While we see a potential drop in total number of U.S. jobs created in 2017, as reported by Kiplinger, as well as an overall expected drop in GDP growth, the cannabis industry continues to be a positive contributing factor to growth at a time of potential decline.”
Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, recently compared recreational marijuana — which eight states have legalized — to opioids. He said that the federal government will use “greater enforcement” on recreational marijuana users, but didn’t address medical marijuana, which is legal in 28 states and Washington D.C. The prediction from New Frontier Data would need to be adjusted if the Trump administration does indeed decide to crack down on states with legalized marijuana.
Regardless of the future of legalization, though, the future of marijuana jobs looks bright. It won’t be long before it’s a common occurrence rather than a novelty to hear someone works with weed.