Last month I gave the keynote address at the Cannabis World Congress Business Expo in New York City. CWCBExpo is the trade show for the cannabis industry. I had the pleasure of meeting thousands of like-minded cannabis activists, and the experience was truly refreshing and inspiring on many levels.
I learned firsthand that those in the legal cannabis industry — whether they're growing hemp, medical marijuana or recreational marijuana in Colorado or California or Oregon or wherever — have formed a united front. Everyone at the convention was looking to work together to come up with solutions on how to get the federal government to move forward and embrace this industry, which has grown exponentially.
When it comes to economics, let me put the state of marijuana to you in this way: If Trump reverses state law, he'll be crippling if not bankrupting the states that have legalized marijuana. Not only will this action go against the will of the people who voted for legalized marijuana, this action will cause yet another economic collapse. And no, that isn't an exaggeration.
Over half of the states have now legalized marijuana in some way and multiple states are receiving millions, soon to be billions, in tax revenue from this industry. When those states no longer have this tax revenue coming in (tax revenue that is projected to increase steadily each year), where will that money come from?
More from America's Top States for Business:
Top States for Business 2017: Complete coverage
Colorado is cashing in on the private space race
States' rights battle heads into uncharted waters over climate deal
Think about it this way: The auto industry was bailed out with roughly $80 billion from taxpayer money, but it is still here, and the industry was able to repay taxpayers overtime. We're talking about making a profitable, multibillion-dollar industry go away overnight. Meaning America's president will voluntarily make hundreds of thousands of Americans unemployed overnight. How many will default on their mortgages? How many will declare personal bankruptcy?
A report by New Frontier Data states the marijuana industry is projected to create a quarter of a million jobs by 2020 — that's more jobs than the manufacturing industry, utilities, or government jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prior to the 2016 election, the marijuana industry, which existed in 25 states at the time, was worth a combined $7.2 billion. Now, this industry is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 17 percent, with medical marijuana sales growing from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Adult recreational sales (recreational use is only available in eight states) are expected to go from $2.6 billion in 2016 to $11.2 billion by 2020.