by Michael Addady // Fortune
It’s in the billions.
Legalizing recreational marijuana could be a smart financial move for California.
A new study from the University of the Pacific in Stockton suggests legalizing recreational marijuana in California would create jobs and generate billions of dollars worth of business. The study was commissioned by Truth Enterprises, which is an investment fund focused on the legal cannabis industry.
According to the study, if Sacramento became a hub for recreational marijuana, it could create as many as 20,000 jobs and bring in $4.2 billion. The researchers also considered the possibility that there could be legislation limiting the number and type of marijuana businesses that are allowed in the state. In that case, they say it would still create 1,600 jobs and bring in $322 million.
“The entire Sacramento business community is looking at this with different eyes today,” Joshua Woods, CEO of the Sacramento Region Business Association, told Reuters. “With this many jobs, you can’t ignore it.” Daniel Conway, Truth Enterprises’ managing partner, compared Sacramento to Detroit, telling Reuters that the California capital “should be to cannabis what Detroit is to automobiles in terms of both a center of innovation as well as production.”
These results come just a few weeks before voters will cast their ballots to either support or oppose legalization in the state. Already, polls have suggested that California is likely to legalize recreational marijuana come Nov. 8, which would make it the fifth U.S. state to do so. Colorado led the way in 2014, and it quickly grew into a billion dollar industry. Despite the revenue it has brought in, Fortune reported that the state still doesn’t know whether or not it was a regrettable decision.