Marijuana Boosts Local Economies, Study Finds
New research out of Colorado details the positive economic impact of legal marijuana on local communities. The results were reported by Colorado State University-Pueblo's Institute of Cannabis Research, and show how the regulated industry brought $58 million to the local economy of Pueblo County.
The research is important because it highlights the impact legal marijuana can have on communities as opposed to entire states. While regulating the industry brought Pueblo around $23 million in extra law enforcement and social services costs, the county still net over $35 million from legal marijuana sales.
The research highlights how marijuana is an outstanding factor that sets Pueblo apart from other similar communities where cannabis remains illegal. The researchers say Pueblo County is thriving, comparatively, by multiple measures.
The study also disproved various myths about legalization, including the idea that legal marijuana increases homelessness or contributes to under-age drug use – neither proved right in Pueblo. It also refuted the notion that legalization would negatively affect property values. Colorado municipalities posted a 6 percent increase in housing values after adopting recreational marijuana sales.
The county also made headlines for funding nearly a half-million dollars in scholarships for 210 students through its local marijuana excise tax. The number of scholarships funded by marijuana is expected to triple in Pueblo County this year, based on tax projections.
However, the study's authors were careful to point out that legalization is not without downsides. The number of illegal grow operations increased after marijuana became legal, causing confusion among law enforcement.