When the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission announced their top choices for cultivation applicants in February 2018, there was cause to celebrate in the tiny town of Cotton Plant, Arkansas, where a growing operation would be based. The New York Times highlighted this event in an article on the economic opportunities that can come with medical marijuana.

For the mayor of Cotton Plant in Woodruff County, new business is a rarity and his attempts to lure companies and franchises to the rural location have been futile. The population has steadily declined to a number now below 600. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission ranked Woodruff County in the Tier 4 division which makes it one of the least prosperous counties in the state. Applicants willing to build facilities in a Tier 4 county were given priority over others.

Elsewhere, in New Castle, Pennsylvania, with a population of 20,000, the opportunity for a small company to utilize large, empty warehouses for growing cannabis could create an estimated 100 to 150 jobs. And in Pueblo County, Colorado, long known for its poverty, unemployment and low education, unemployment dropped from 12.9 percent to 3.2 percent with the introduction of cannabis processing labs.

On a national level, the industry is set to explode as the number of jobs in the U.S. is predicted to reach 1.1 million by 2025. Revenues from legal cannabis sales in North America are expected to rise from $9.2 billion in 2017 to $47.3 billion by 2027.

Missouri is poised to share in economic benefits like these if medical marijuana passes in November. The Missourians for Patient Care Act is a statutory ballot initiative that gives patients the access they need while giving local government control in establishing local licensing authorities.

SOURCE: NY Times