Report: Cannabis contributes $2 billion annually to Washington state economy

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The legal cannabis industry has grown at a “staggering rate” in Washington and now contributes roughly $2 billion a year to the Pacific Northwest state’s economy, according to a new report from Washington State University.

The report, titled “2020 Contributions of the Washington Cannabis Sector,” found that in 2020 the industry was responsible for $1.85 billion of gross state product and supported about 18,700 jobs.

The report also concluded that even more growth is likely on the horizon.

“The expected 2021 contributions to Washington’s gross state product resulting from the Cannabis sector is $2.13 billion, up from the $1.8 billion in 2020,” the report noted.

“There is still substantial growth to come as the industry matures,” Caitlein Ryan, a spokesperson for the WSU Impact Center and the Washington State Cannabis Alliance, told Seattle TV station KOMO.

Retail marijuana sales alone have grown 605% between 2015 and 2020, the report found.

The report further suggested the economy would benefit even more if Washington state lawmakers legalized home cultivation for recreational use.

That practice is prohibited, though limited home grows are allowed for medical marijuana patients. A bill to make such a change is working its way through the state legislature.

The report found that allowing recreational marijuana home grows would not detract from existing businesses. Instead, it would more likely have a complementary effect by expanding the industry in general and allow for more experimentation and innovation.