It’s no secret that the legal cannabis industry has made tremendous strides over the last decade, growing from a non-existent entity into a multi-billion dollar industry. Despite being the second year of a global pandemic, and a difficult 12-months for many businesses around the country, marijuana only continued to thrive in 2021. With economic impact up by 30% since 2020, and billions in tax dollars filling state coffers, 2021 may have been marijuana’s biggest year yet.
State Tax Revenue
Underfunding, poor fund management, public health crises, social duress, and political turmoil have forced many states to overstretch their budgets. With many American households struggling to keep work and make ends meet, tax revenue has been threatened. Thanks to legalized marijuana, participating states have experienced incredible growth.
In Colorado, marijuana industry tax revenue hit an all-time high, reaching $392 million in November, with a full month left in 2021. Up by $5 million from 2020, Colorado isn’t a unique example. All states that have legalized either medical or recreational cannabis have seen tremendous growth during this economic year.
Broader Economic Impact
While all states with some form of legalized marijuana benefited from the industry’s sales in 2021, some did better than others. However, it’s difficult to measure relative industry ‘size,’ since population density and local production restrictions play such a large role in overall economic impact.
California had by far the largest impact in terms of dollars created, pumping around $20 billion into the state economy. Smaller, but similarly populated states like Illinois and Washington also created around $10 billion in economic growth.
In states with lower population density like Alaska, the economic impact is easier to measure in per capita terms. In 2021, the Alaskan cannabis industry added around $1,500 per capita to the state economy.
All in all, the economic impact of legal marijuana sales in the U.S. in 2021 totaled around $92 billion and added thousands of jobs and opportunities for the national workforce.