As of June 2016, there were 30,391 active occupational licenses issued by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. Oregon, which began legal sales of marijuana in 2015, has created at least 12,500 jobs in the marijuana economy. Ancillary businesses, such as accountants, building contractors, and electricians also benefit from the legal marijuana industry.
In 2016, Colorado generated close to $200 million in revenue from marijuana taxes and fees. Over $40 million from marijuana revenue is put into Colorado’s school system annually. The total cost of enforcement, regulation, and education for Colorado’s program is less than 10% of all funds raised from marijuana. Washington state raised $256 million in revenue from marijuana in 2016.
Marijuana-related businesses are fueling real estate markets. Colorado’s warehouse vacancy rates plummeted from 7.6% in 2011 to 3.1% in 2015. Denver’s retail vacancy rate dropped in 2015 to the lowest it has been since 2006. In the same year, home prices in Colorado rose at the fastest rate of any state in the country.