WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joint Economic Committee Democrats released a report today that highlights the economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels. The industry totaled more than $8 billion in sales in 2017 and employed more than 120,000 people. As more states move to legalize cannabis, these numbers will only rise, potentially providing a new stream of revenue and jobs to local economies. But to realize these benefits, policymakers must address conflicts between state and federal regulations that impede the growth of the cannabis economy.

“It’s time we legalize marijuana, but at the minimum, we must reduce the conflicts between federal and state laws so that the industry can continue to create jobs and bolster state economies,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, (D-N.M.), Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. “This conflict hurts small businesses and constrains the economic benefits of legal cannabis—an industry that is estimated to reach $11 billion in sales this year and $23 billion by 2022. But in order to realize the benefits, we must act on legislation such as the STATES Act to help these businesses thrive.”

The report, “The National Cannabis Economy,” offers a comprehensive snapshot of the eight states that have legalized the commercial sale of cannabis, as well as a table that shows the status of all states that have legalized cannabis in any form. The report examines the federal barriers that inhibit the growth of this budding industry, such as penalties for financial institutions that work with cannabis businesses and the crushing tax burden imposed on small businesses. The report also explores the positive effects of cannabis legalization, including social justice improvements and increased tax revenue that is being spent for important public investments.

The report advocates for resolving the conflict between state and federal laws on cannabis, including the STATES Act which has drawn support from the Trump administration and the cannabis industry. The STATES Act would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that its provisions no longer apply to individuals acting in accordance with state laws. Importantly, the bill would also clarify that financial transactions with state-legal cannabis businesses are not drug-trafficking, creating a solution for financial institutions and the cannabis industry. Congress should minimize these barriers and regulations so that this industry can thrive, create jobs, and continue to bolster state economies.

 

Click here to view the report online.