Cannabis Benefits Far Greater Than Retail-Sales-Only

When we talk about the scale of the cannabis industry, we reference the retail sales numbers and because these numbers are huge, we’re good with that. For example, last year Michigan’s combined “cannabis sales were $984.6 million.”

Now, just shy of a billion dollars in first-year sales is damned impressive but we say the REAL economic and social value of the cannabis industry is way more impactful.


For Exhibit A, let's take a headline from the South Bend Tribune.


Marijuana Boom Brings Jobs and New Life to Factories, Storefronts in Southwest Michigan


THE SCOOP

The article looks at small Michigan towns like Buchannan, Niles, and Edwardsburg where “Clark Equipment once offered thousands of jobs (in Buchanan) ... so did National Standard, Tyler Refrigeration, Simplicity Pattern and others (in and around Niles). But as those businesses started moving, closing or scaling back, the cities were left with abandoned and decaying buildings. And eventually stores in once-busy downtowns started closing too…”


Classic Rust Belt contraction.


“Then the state moved to legalize” cannabis. The money started moving long before the first retail sales.


“City leaders say the cannabis industry has packed more than a decade’s worth of redevelopment into a few years… The total investment in Niles and Buchanan already exceeds $50 million since 2019, and the cities say they’ve gained about 250 new jobs each."


A quick glance at real estate:

  • Properties that were empty now have new leases (money to property owners) accompanied by a new property assessment and all the inspections commercial transactions require

  • Leasing agents earn sales commissions and bonuses

  • Real Estate Taxes start to flow based on the updated assessment

  • The real estate hires additional staff due to increased business

  • The new staff requires new office equipment, furniture...

Then the new cannabis business spaces need upgrades and outfitting:

  • Updating the space requires plumbers, electricians, carpenter, floorers, painters, roofers, window glaziers, and all the materials and tools they use, deliveries, hauling waste, fees at the dump…

  • New security, safes (all-cash business), computers, software, phones, utilities,

  • Then they hire new staff...

Speaking about staff, consider:

  • The 3 levels of Income Taxes (Federal, State, Local)

  • The spending power of 500 newly employed people... they lease cars, buy washing machines, clothing

  • The local stores buy more merchandise and perhaps hire new people to cover the increased activity...

In addition to retail sales, there's additional Visitor Spending (Cannabis shoppers also shop for other stuff while they're in town, like food, gas, etc.)

  • Downtown Buchanan has filled several storefronts because of the cannabis industry

  • Niles gained Culver’s, Biggby Coffee and more because of additional traffic from dispensaries

  • Three Oaks Township got it first restaurant and liquor license

  • Galien Township saw Fellō build a new 40,000-square-foot building to grow cannabis…

And remember Simplicity Pattern? It’s 750,000-SF plant is being restored for use by cannabis growers and processors.


THE LOOP BACK

Unlike factories or other businesses looking for new locations, the cannabis-related operators have received NO tax breaks or other incentives to locate in southwest Michigan.


In other words, all benefit, without giving up a dime.



[Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels]


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