January 28, 2021 Washington State University study: State cannabis industry grows at “staggering rate” – innovation and legal recreational home grow would bring additional growth.
SEATTLE – A new Washington State University study is clear: The state’s nascent cannabis crop has grown into a billion-dollar-plus industry over the past 15 years – and with new innovations and nurturing from state lawmakers it can grow even more.
The report, “2020 Contributions of the Washington Cannabis Sector,” estimates that total cannabis sales in Washington added nearly $2B to the state economy (gross state product), and that total tax revenues to the state exceed $883M.
The report, researched by WSU’s Impact Center for the Washington State Cannabis Alliance, is the first to detail the positive economic impacts associated with the state’s newest agriculture industry.
“This is a tremendous peek under the hood,” said Caitlein Ryan, interim executive director of the Alliance. “It’s easy to see how much the industry has grown and now contributes to the state’s economic wellbeing.”
She added, “These findings also clearly tell us that the industry has grown at a staggering rate, adding nearly 20,000 jobs to the private sector, and hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s economy.
“And there is still substantial growth to come, as the industry matures.”
Among the findings of the report, marijuana excise taxes are the fastest growing component of the state’s General and Selective Sales Taxes revenue streams, based on retail cannabis sales that have grown an astounding 605% between 2015 and 2020.
Despite the impressive growth rate, Washington still lags behind sales in Colorado by nearly 10%. One possible source of “additional energy,” according to Ryan, is passage of a proposed bill, SHB 1019, that would allow individuals to grow up to six plants in their home, for recreational purposes, with allowances for 15 plants per household. The legislation also includes numerous provisions to ensure community and personal safety.
SHB 1019 won approval from the House Commerce and Gaming Committee earlier this month and is before the House budget committee.
For a brief video of what home grow looks like in the home, please click here
“This opens the door to the same kind of explosive growth that the craft beer industry experienced in recent years,” Ryan said. “There is untapped potential here – in the home – to foster innovation, and improvements in quality, for example, that will further lift the state’s overall economy, create even more employment opportunities and establish Washington as a premier manufacturer of quality cannabis product.”
Moreover, the study finds home growers likely do not pose a threat in terms of lost revenues to the existing retail market, rather, the study suggests that an innovative home grower community “compliments the existing retail market.
For additional information, please contact:
Al Ralston, Government Affairs Director, Speed_998@comcast.net
Lara Kaminsky, Government Affairs Liaison, firstname.lastname@example.org
Caitlein Ryan, PhD, Interim Executive Director, email@example.com
Media Requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
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