The Industries Most Impacted By The Legalization Of Cannabis

By Trevor McDonald

For an industry that’s still relatively new, we’ve seen some amazing success stories come directly from cannabis sales. In states like Colorado, marijuana is surpassing alcohol in tax revenue, which helps funnel funding to schools and other important programs.

But legalized marijuana also has a broader impact. Its effects can be felt in various industries, but some are impacted more than others.

The following industries have felt the most impact from the legalization of cannabis:

Under federal law, cannabis is still treated like any other controlled substance. As far as the federal government is concerned, cannabis is illegal, regardless of what each individual state has to say about it. This may change with the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018, but dispensaries remain cautious. Because of the legal gray area surrounding marijuana, 70 percent of cannabis companies use cryptocurrency instead of traditional banks.

In states where marijuana is legal, we’re seeing a major boost in funding for education. This comes from the increase in tax money collected from cannabis sales.

To drive this point home, let’s look at Colorado as an example. Between 2015 and 2017, the Colorado Department of Education received over $140 million from cannabis revenue alone.

Oregon schools received an extra $40 million in tax revenue in 2016.

Software and Technology
Where cannabis is legal, all states require a seed-to-sale tracking system. Although there are a few companies providing software for the job, two emerge as leaders. METRC is one such company, and they received nearly $900,000 in their first contract with the state of Colorado. MJ Freeway made headlines when it secured a $10.4 million contract with the state of Pennsylvania for their seed-to-sale tracking system.

There are many industries singing the praises of legalized cannabis, but the liquor industry is not one of them. You might have guessed that alcohol sales would take a hit when cannabis became legal, but a few researchers at the University of Connecticut and Georgia State University wanted to see the full picture. As it turns out, alcohol beverage sales fell by 15 percent following the introduction of marijuana sales. With easier access to marijuana, people don’t seem to be drinking as much alcohol.

Big Pharma
The pharmaceutical industry has been fighting marijuana legalization since before it was legal anywhere. This because they stand to lose a lot. As people start taking cannabis and stop taking prescription painkillers for common injuries, big pharma loses. As people choose CBD oil instead of Prozac, big pharma loses. Whenever a prescription medication is replaced with cannabis, it equates to a loss for the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, one report estimates that if the entire nation legalized cannabis, the pharmaceutical industry would lose an estimated $18.5 billion in the span of three years.

Whenever anything of value enters the market, we can expect it to make major waves. Cannabis is no exception. In most industries, its impact is favorable. We’re only seeing a decline in the industries where cannabis replaces something. But based on the long and short-term effects of alcohol and prescription drugs, marijuana’s impact may still be favorable.