California could become the fifth state to legalize recreational pot. And if it does, the state could make a lot of money. At least that’s what researchers at the University of the Pacific said. A group of market analysts at the University just published a new study. In it, they claim that legal pot in California could create thousands of new jobs and generate billions in economic growth.
California Recreational Marijuana
The report predicted massive growth if recreational pot becomes legal. In particular, it estimated that the cannabis industry could create as many as 20,000 new jobs. It could also generate up to $4.2 billion in total economic activity.
And that’s just in the Sacramento area. The researchers used data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to create economic models. They then applied those models to the Sacramento region.
If the report’s numbers are expanded to include the entire state, the figures would be significantly higher. And that represents some pretty explosive economic activity.
Some Important Variables
But some variables could change the report’s numbers. Even if the state chooses to legalize, individual cities could still choose how much to regulate the cannabis industry.
Researchers said that their projections would happen only under ideal conditions. And that would include local governments that actively embrace the cannabis industry.
If cities let a wide variety of pot businesses open up, then there will be more jobs and more economic growth. But if cities choose to crack down on cannabis sales, the numbers will be smaller.
Researchers said that if cities restrict the cannabis industry, the Sacramento area would see somewhere around 1,800 new jobs.
And a limited market would also generate less money. Instead of $4.2 billion, a restricted cannabis sector would create around $386 million in economic output.
The report’s numbers also depend on how many people end up buying weed from legal sources. If people keep buying on the black market, the figures will be on the smaller side.
The Upcoming Vote
The new report is timely. That’s because Californians will vote next month on a new bill to legalize recreational pot.
California is one of five states with recreational bills on the upcoming ballots. Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada could also legalize recreation cannabis.
And there are four other states considering legalizing medical marijuana. Those states are Arkansas, Florida, Montana, and North Dakota.