HARRISBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman today joined Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly, and Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML, to call for the legalization of cannabis -- and to highlight the economic and social justice benefits of legalization for all Pennsylvanians.
Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis marketplace and resource, released new data estimating adult-use cannabis legalization in Pennsylvania would support at least 32,000 full-time Pennsylvania jobs, $3.3 billion in sales per year, and $520 million in annual tax revenue. Within 3-5 years of legalization, the legal cannabis industry could employ as many Pennsylvanians as the state’s famous steel industry. This new data -- building on Leafly’s 2021 Cannabis Jobs Report -- demonstrates that legal cannabis sales can drive economic growth and help Pennsylvania recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Legal weed is a powerful tool to create family-sustaining, full-time jobs while ending the prosecution of more than 20,000 Pennsylvanians every year,” said Lt. Governor Fetterman. “This is a strong bipartisan issue, and it’s past time to end prohibition, right the wrongs of the War on Drugs, and for Pennsylvania to reap the revenue, jobs, freedom, and benefits for our farmers that more than a dozen other states already enjoy.”
Leafly’s report reveals that cannabis prohibition in Pennsylvania has disproportionately hurt communities of color, with Black people arrested 3.5x as much as their white counterparts for marijuana-related charges, despite equal rates of consumption. The report also found that including social equity as a foundational element of cannabis legalization would not only address issues in Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, it would save the state $75 million annually in law enforcement costs.
“Cannabis legalization is a tremendous opportunity for Pennsylvania,” said Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita. “Legalizing cannabis would create tens of thousands of new jobs while boosting tax revenue by billions of dollars over time. Clemency, expungement, and equity policies would bring economic justice and generational wealth to communities throughout the state. With the rest of the country moving quickly toward legal, accessible cannabis, Pennsylvania cannot afford to fall behind. The time to legalize is now.”
Jeff Riedy, Executive Director of Lehigh Valley NORML, said, “As neighboring states embrace cannabis legalization, we in Pennsylvania are reminded of the continued impact of the criminalization of cannabis at home while reflecting on the racial disparity among arrests nationwide. The only real solution is enacting immediate decriminalization and eventual legalization of cannabis in Pennsylvania. We know that annually in Pennsylvania, more than twenty thousand lives are ruined for a simple possession charge, and that must end now! We’re talking about a plant.”
The state’s existing medical marijuana market created more than 7,000 jobs in 2020, making Pennsylvania a Top 10 cannabis job creation state in the country, according to the 2021 Leafly Cannabis Jobs Report. Cannabis legalization is widely supported by voters, with nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters and 68% of adults nationwide in support. The 2021 Leafly Pennsylvania Cannabis Jobs Report can be accessed here.
Market size estimation and job count: Leafly analysts used comparable states to estimate Pennsylvania’s semi-mature combined medical and adult-use market. Adult-use markets typically require 2-3 years to reach semi-maturity, as state license issuances ramp up and entrepreneurs gain the financing, real estate, inventory, and staff to become fully operational. The $2.3 billion to $3.3 billion range would depend on the number of retail licenses Pennsylvania officials choose to issue, and the level of state and local regulatory impediments to operations. Job estimations are FTE (full-time equivalent) jobs supported by Pennsylvania’s total state market (i.e. medical and adult-use combined), and include both plant-touching jobs, ancillary jobs, and occupations and businesses supported directly by cannabis companies. In other words: An independent attorney retained directly by a cannabis company would count towards the FTE total; a local grocer supported by the personal spending of a cannabis budtender would not count.
Cannabis marketplace Leafly helps more than 120 million people discover cannabis each year. Our powerful ecommerce tools help shoppers make informed purchase decisions and empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at Leafly.com or download the Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play.