California, Its Quest to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
California’s state capital region could reap 20,000 jobs and generate $4.2-B in business if it becomes a hub for a legalized marijuana industry, a study released Monday showed.
The report from the University of the Pacific in Stockton was commissioned by the cannabis investment company Truth Enterprises, just 1 of hundreds of businesses counting on voters to legalize marijuana next month.
“The Sacramento region should be to cannabis what Detroit is to automobiles in terms of both a center of innovation as well as production,” said Daniel Conway, who left his job as chief of staff to Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star Kevin Johnson to become Truth Enterprises’ managing partner. “This region has the ability to be to cannabis what Sonoma and Napa are to Wine.”
If local leaders choose to limit the number and type of marijuana businesses, the study showed, legalization would bring as few as 1,600 jobs and generate about $322-M in revenues, wages and other economic impacts.
Polls indicate voters in California are likely to legalize marijuana on November 8, instantly creating a massive marketplace and making California the 5th US state to permit recreational use of the illegal drug.
Centering some of that business in the Sacramento region would take advantage of the area’s proximity to farmland and agricultural processing facilities as well as such population hubs such as the San Francisco Bay Area and tourist destinations like Lake Tahoe and the Napa Valley, the study said.
“The entire Sacramento business community is looking at this with different eyes today,” said Joshua Woods, chief executive officer of the Sacramento Region Business Association. “With this many jobs, you can’t ignore it.”
The University of the Pacific report offers the 1st hard look at the potential economic impact of the marijuana business on the Sacramento region, Mr. Woods said. But that does not mean his group, or other business and political leaders is ready to make the area a hub.
For that to happen, policymakers would need to be persuaded that a busy marijuana growing and processing industry would not also be a magnet for crime, addiction and other problems.