Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in both Colorado and Washington, and retail sales have officially kicked off in both states. Colorado got off to a head start, and has brought in millions of dollars in tax revenue for the state, prompting many others around the country to start the legalization conversation among their own legislators. Washington’s market has officially been open to the public for a short amount of time, and so far, revenues have been stymied by a lack of adequate supply. Over the course of the next several months, things are expected to even out, and Washington residents hope to see similar results to what Colorado is experiencing.
Tax revenue has been the major selling point to local governments throughout the legalization effort, and that makes sense. But there are also numerous other economical benefits to ending prohibition, including an influx of new jobs to the market. Keeping cannabis relegated to the black market meant that the profits from its sale, as well as those working to earn those profits, stayed off the books. By bringing marijuana into the legal realm, an accurate picture of how much money there is and how many people there are working within the industry is being developed for the first time.