America’s Own Homegrown Industry

Co-authored by NCIA and BDS Analytics

It all begins with the humble plant.

The fastest-growing industry in the United States relies 100 percent upon the simple cultivation and harvesting of one plant, cannabis sativa — its buds, its leaves, and the diversity of organic compounds the plant provides, including THC.

If the plant is grown indoors, as is most legal cannabis in the United States, it first needs a building before it ever digs roots and spreads a canopy. The building requires complicated lights, many of which are manufactured in the United States. It demands a wilderness of HVAC networks, to maintain a healthy temperature and humidity level. Irrigation systems, potting soil and soil amendments, complex sprinkler systems in case of fire, high-tech security systems — all of these and much more must be in place before the first plant begins to rise towards the light.

And these first steps produce jobs and work: real estate professionals, lawyers, accountants, bookkeepers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, HVAC specialists, irrigation experts, sprinkler and alarm installation technicians, factory workers. Once the building is ready, the company needs horticulture experts and trimmers, among others. And it requires ongoing work, too, from electricians and other trades specialists, as things break and need to be replaced or updated. The cultivation of the plant alone is a rapidly-developing career field.

But hands-on growing represents just one small patch of the cannabis landscape. Every step along the way, from seed to store, propagates work for people in hardhats, lab coats and blazers. And all of the jobs are Made in the USA. Even more, due to the patchwork regulatory environment, cannabis industry jobs also tend to root, and stay put, within individual states and communities.

Legal cannabis today in the United States is the ultimate homegrown industry. Detailed sales data from industry market research firm BDS Analytics reveals astounding growth within states where cannabis is legal. For example, during the first quarter of 2018 in Colorado, where sales of recreational cannabis have been legal since 2014, dollar sales of concentrates in recreational shops grew by 47.4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2017. Concentrates do not represent a tiny piece of the overall recreational marketplace: During this year’s first quarter, adult use concentrates sales hit $85.35 million, and captured a full 30 percent of the recreational marketplace. That’s an enormous chunk of the state’s mature adult use cannabis market, and yet sales still expand by close to 50% within a year.

And with all of that growth, quarter after quarter, comes increased need for workers.

States with laws that replace criminal marijuana markets with regulated industries are also benefiting from significant tax revenues that support important programs like school construction, law enforcement, and drug education. According to the National Cannabis Industry Association’s  , the five states that allowed adult-use sales realized nearly $800 million in combined state tax revenue alone.

Industry investment and market research firms The Arcview Group and BDS Analytics predicted in their study US Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output that the industry will hatch 414,000 jobs in a multitude of fields both directly and ancillary related to cannabis by 2021 — everything from delivery drivers to retail sales pros to extraction technicians, warehouse workers, bakers, marketing gurus, and PhDs in pest control.

The industry’s impact is certainly felt in Colorado, which began retail cannabis sales for adult use on Jan. 1, 2014 — the first in the nation to do so. Many economic experts attribute the state’s lowest-in-the-nation unemployment rate, at least in part, to the cannabis boom.

Colorado’s ascending sales results, as well as those in the other cannabis-legal states, would likely resound with even more oomph if two difficult issues could be resolved: banking, and the ability to write off business expenses for cannabis companies.

As the industry’s leading national advocate, NCIA is working hard on both fronts.

The Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2017, co-sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), seeks to let cannabis companies operating legally under state law to implement business-related tax credits or deductions for expenses — the entire issue is often referred to simply as 280E (the applicable section of the tax code) as shorthand. For now, the federal government treats marijuana sales in legal states the same way it treats sales of illegally-trafficked drugs — needless to say, people illegally selling controlled substances cannot itemize tax deductions or claim business-related tax credits but NCIA believes that state-licensed businesses should not be caught up in the wide net cast by 280E.

Meanwhile, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act seeks to provide a “safe harbor” and additional protections for depository institutions that want to engage with cannabis companies that are in compliance with state law. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are co-sponsors of this important legislation, which finally would, among other things, provide cannabis companies access to bank loans — taken for granted in most industries, but long outlawed in legal cannabis.

The success of the industry truly astounds despite such profound roadblocks. Success in alleviating such banking and taxation headaches would further stoke what is already the hottest industry in the country.

Research into the economic benefits of cannabis legalization and regulation is just beginning, and for now it remains too early to make definitive declarations about how legalization will influence the economic path of different communities. Undoubtedly the effects will vary from location to location — the effect on San Francisco, for example, may be entirely different from the effect on Fort Collins, Colorado.

One early study, conducted by the University of Colorado-Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research, found that legalization in Pueblo, a diverse, blue-collar area about two hours south of Denver, could be responsible for the County’s recent success. In addition, the study rejected predictions that legalization would bring increased homelessness and crime to the region.

“When compared to similar communities in states where cannabis is not legal in any form, Pueblo appears to be doing better on a variety of measures,” the study says. “Overall, the positive changes that are noticed in Pueblo County, such as increasing real estate values, higher income per capita, and more construction spending may be attributed to legalization of cannabis in the state of Colorado.”

To date, cannabis still represents a fairly small slice of the employment pie in Colorado. A recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City estimated the industry directly supports 17,821 jobs today. The study’s author writes: “Employment in the marijuana industry is a relatively small share of total employment in Colorado, but in recent years it has been one of the state’s fastest-growing industries,” adding that between 2016 and 2017 jobs in cannabis rose by 17.7 percent.

The study also noted the effect Colorado’s cannabis industry has had on state government coffers; in 2017 alone, it added $247 million to the budget. Cannabis tax receipts go to a variety of places. The state’s Building Excellent Schools Today school construction program, for example, receives the first $40 million from excise taxes on wholesale cannabis, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper recently signed a bill that will drastically increase this amount. Local governments receive another 10 percent of the taxation haul.

Nationwide, the cannabis industry now supports close to 10,000 active cannabis licenses — that is, businesses that need licenses to grow, manufacture, distribute or sell the plant, according to CannaBiz Media, which tracks marijuana licenses. These “touch-the-plant” businesses are the sturdy and rapidly expanding trunk of a flourishing industry — without them, none of the other jobs and businesses that are sprouting up around cannabis sales today would exist.

But if touch-the-plant businesses are the trunks of the industry, the branches, leaves and flowers are the ancillary jobs — those that don’t grow, manufacture or sell marijuana directly. Of those anticipated 414,000 cannabis jobs by 2021, many will not sprout directly from licensed businesses. For example, software developers targeting the cannabis industry are flourishing. Entrepreneurs across the country are opening factories that make everything from plastic containers and child-safe bags for cannabis, to customized extraction equipment. New legal, public relations, marketing, and other professional services appear every day that revolve around the industry.

During a recent economic conference, Ian Siegel, the CEO of ZipRecruiter, which is a prominent job recruitment marketplace, said of cannabis: “Twenty-nine states have legalized marijuana [in some form]. There’s a 445 percent job growth in job listings in the category year-over-year.” By comparison, Siegel said other hard-charging industries like technology and healthcare lag far behind, with job growth at 245 percent and 70 percent respectively. He also noted that cannabis jobs expansion grew at a more rapid pace during Q4 2017, which saw an increase of 693 percent compared to the previous year.

As growth rockets ahead (new jobs, workers with new skills, growing tax revenues, etc.), the same trajectory is beginning to rise in Canada, where adult-use cannabis use is expected to begin later this summer. Despite Canada’s relatively small size — with a population of 35 million, it is smaller than California and dwarfed by the United States population of nearly 326 million — it enjoys a distinct advantage on the global stage: Canada allows cannabis exports. Growers and manufacturers in Canada ship cannabis to Germany, Israel and other countries that seek cannabis for their medical programs (only one other country in the world, Uruguay, enjoys legal adult-use cannabis use and sales). This is a fairly small market, for now. But as more and more countries embrace the medical, if not adult-use, benefits of cannabis, it is a marketplace destined to expand and grow increasingly dynamic. Permitting cannabis exports remains another NCIA priority.

Either way, the cannabis revolution is here, across the United States — where it all began. It is the ultimate homegrown industry, one we all should embrace, nurture and strengthen. It’s good for America, and good for America’s cities, towns and citizens.

This post was co-authored by the National Cannabis Industry Association, the largest cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only one representing cannabis businesses at the national level and BDS Analytics, the leader in providing comprehensive cannabis market intelligence and consumer research. Learn more about NCIA by visiting: Learn more about BDS Analytics by visiting:

Android Jones joins the Cannabis Revolution!

As we approach Vive la Révolution!, our fourth anniversary banquet being held next month, we are thrilled to announce that a very special guest will be joining us for the evening!

Android Jones, world renowned “trans-dimensional artist” specializing in digital mediums, will be providing otherworldly visuals to accompany the music of Erothyme. He will be creating an array of beautiful digital landscapes in the moment to compliment the musical journey while incorporating our message to inspire attendees. Keep reading to learn more about his biography, his massive and varied catalog of work, and details on a very special surprise from Android Jones to commemorate the evening!

If you are unfamiliar with Android Jones’s work, start your journey down the digital rabbit hole by watching this video of his very moving collaboration with the Oceanic Preservation Society, projected onto the United Nations Headquarters in New York City during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit last month.

“IllumiNations: Protect Our Planet” Performance on the UN Headquaters in New York City with Live Visual Projections by Android Jones

Android Jones is at the forefront of the trans-dimensional art movement. His body of work aims to emphasize creativity as the foundation of consciousness and an agent of social change. Moving beyond the traditional organic vegetable and animal technologies of pencils, ink, and brushes, Android develops latent possibilities within software programs such as Painter, Photoshop, ZBrush, and Alchemy, discovering new combinations and uses for tools that exceed the original intentions of their programmers.

VLR - Android Jones - UN

Closing Scene of “IllumiNations: Protect Our Planet” Performance on the UN Headquaters in New York City with Live Visual Projections by Android Jones

Viewing the digital domain as a medium of energy and light capable of expanding the nature of reality, Android’s art encourages others to explore the potential interfaces of mind and machine in this time of accelerating change and increasing novelty.

VLR - Android Jones - Humming Dragon

“Humming Dragon” by Android Jones

Android Jones will be performing live during the musical portion of our program in addition to creating a unique piece of art throughout the evening to commemorate this special occasion. View highlights from one of his entirely unique live visual performances below at the Sydney Opera House as part of the grand finale of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra event in 2011.

Grand Finale of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra with Live Visual Projections by Android Jones

VLR - Android Jones - Sydney Grand Finale of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra with Live Visual Projections by Android Jones

Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on celebrating this incredible year of growth and progress for the cannabis industry while helping to raise funds for our only national trade association. Vive la Révolution! is being held at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Admission includes a three-course plated dinner, a hosted bar, and a few special commemorative gifts from NCIA and our sponsors, in addition to this enchanting entertainment.

Vive la Révolution! – NCIA’s Anniversary Banquet

Celebrating Four Years of Advocacy, Education & Community

Thursday, November 13 – 7:00-10:00 p.m.
Rivoli Ballroom
Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV

Sponsorships still available for this event but are quickly selling out! Contact us for more information now at!

Members who commemorate our anniversary with a $700 gift to NCIA will be listed as “Friends of the Industry” in our event program given to all banquet attendees and are eligible for a $100 discount on up to two tickets each. Contact us at or (888) 683-5650 to make a contribution that will help us start 2015 off in the best position possible as we work on your behalf. The program listing is only available to current NCIA members. Huge thanks to all of our sponsors listed below who are helping make this event and our next year of success possible!

Gold Sponsor

Canna Advisors

Silver Sponsors

Cannasure Insurance Services


Bronze Sponsors ArcView Logo

Bridge West

Denver Relief Consulting

Eden Labs

Heliospectra (transparent)

Kiona's Surface Solutions

Host Sponsor


Friends of the Industry

4-Front Ventures

American Cannabis Enterprises


Auntie Dolores

Berkeley Patients Group

Blum Oakland

California Growers Guild

Cassandra, Queen Hecuba of Troy


Cobalt LLP

CW Analytical Laboratories

Dixie Elixirs & Edibles

Freedom Enterprises

Gardening Unlimited

Goodwin Proctor LLP

Greenbridge Corporate Counsel

Harborside Health Center

Henry G. Wykowski & Associates

Illinois Cannabis Industry Association

Island Breeze Systems

MANTIS Ad Network

MedCanna Consulting

Medicine Man Technologies

Robert Raich, Attorney at Law

Rocky Mountain Business Products

Steep Hill Halent Labs

Venice Cookie Company

“In reality, change happens one person at a time on an individual basis. Art has the power to inspire change by making the invisible visible. We understand it takes more than a light show to change the world, but I believe we each have the power to change the version of ourselves and how we choose to interact with the world. Art can illuminate and reflect the truth of our actions.” — Android Jones

Illinois Cannabis Professionals Network in Chicago

More than 50 representatives from National Cannabis Industry Association member businesses gathered at Chicago’s Fado Irish Pub on the evening of September 16 to connect with each other and learn more about the work their association is doing on their behalf.

Attendees hear from Aaron Smith and Dan Linn about the work of NCIA and its state affiliate, ILCIA.
Attendees hear from Aaron Smith and Dan Linn about the work of NCIA and its state affiliate, ILCIA.

The event was timed just six days before the application deadline for businesses looking to open a medical cannabis dispensary or cultivation center. Illinois’s medical marijuana program was authorized by a pilot program approved by the legislature last year. The law allows for up to 22 cultivation centers and 60 medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.

NCIA executive director Aaron Smith and Dan Linn of the Illinois Cannabis Industry Association (ILCIA) spoke about the advocacy work each group is doing in Washington, DC and Springfield, IL, respectively. ILCIA is a newly-formed NCIA state affiliate that works to advance the industry’s political interests in Illinois through advocacy and the establishment of best practices.

Illinois Cannabis Industry Association board members Mark Passerini (left) and Lori Ferrara (right) pose during the Tuesday evening member reception.
Illinois Cannabis Industry Association board members Mark Passerini (left) and Lori Ferrara (right) pose during the Tuesday evening member reception.

The event was generously sponsored by NCIA members Alternative Garden Supply, Quantum 9, CFO Worldwide420 InvestorsMJ Freeway, and the ArcView Group. Check in to our events page frequently to find out about upcoming events in your community.


Illinois Medical Marijuana Program Accepting Applications

IllinoisAfter months of planning, the state of Illinois has officially begun accepting applications from potential medical marijuana patients and business owners for its Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.

On Tuesday, September 2, Illinois officials began processing paperwork from potential patients whose last names begin with the letters A through L. By the end of the first week, according to the Chicago Sun-Timesmore than 2,000 applications had been received. (Patients with names beginning with the letters M through Z will be eligible to apply beginning November 1.)

The pilot program’s coordinator, Bob Morgan, expressed excitement over the large number of patient applications in the very early days of the process. “It’s a strong indication of the interest in the program,” he told the Sun-Times.

The dispensary and cultivation licensing process promises to be a bit more challenging. With only 22 licenses available for cultivation centers and 60 for dispensaries, competition will likely be stiff, especially for the large Chicago market. (See this interactive graphic from the Chicago Daily Herald for more details on where the 60 dispensary licenses will be allocated.) The application process is extensive, and the capital requirements for applicants are steep. Even successful applicants will have to consider the “pilot” nature of the program, which includes the possibility that it could sunset after a few years.

As Troy Dayton, CEO of NCIA Sustaining Member The Arcview Group, told Chicago’s WBEZ Radio, “[Business owners] had better have a lot of money in the bank because it may be a long ramp up before they can make their businesses profitable.”

Despite these challenges, medical marijuana is coming to Illinois, and with it comes opportunity. Soon, the fifth-largest state in the nation will offer patients the potentially life-changing choice to access medical marijuana, and that’s progress to celebrate.

Are you applying for a dispensary or cultivation license in Illinois? Share your experience in the comment section below.

2nd Annual Southwest CannaBusiness Symposium – Speaker Presentation Slides

Below we have assembled all the speaker presentation slides from our 2nd Annual Southwest CannaBusiness Symposium for cannabis industry professionals, held at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on August 23, 2014.

For a full overview of the entire symposium and each session please read our recap.

Please join us for future NCIA networking and educational events. Check out our Events Calendar and sign up today!

NCIA Board Candidate Statement – Troy Dayton (Incumbent)

By Troy Dayton, The ArcView Group (CA)

I became a founding board member of the NCIA because I believe that the development of a responsible, politically engaged, and profitable legal cannabis industry will be the single biggest factor leading to a day when not a single adult is punished for this plant. Through my work at The ArcView Group I do everything I can to promote the NCIA by giving NCIA stage time to pitch our 180+ investors at every meeting, inviting NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith to introduce any political figures that come to speak at our events, and by inviting NCIA staff onto our market research report webinars. We offer a significant discount to NCIA members for membership in the ArcView Investor Network and for purchase of the the 2nd Edition of the State of the Legal Marijuana Markets report. We are also collaborating with NCIA on a jobs report. I also include NCIA’s logo in my auto-signature and mention them often when talking to media. I focus my attention as a board member mainly on fundraising and member development efforts since that is a special way that I can help. I don’t think I’ve ever missed a meeting or a phone call. I stand for not just building a new industry, but building a new kind of industry built on a social mission of health, wellness, responsibility, and freedom. We are part of one of the most incredible social, political, and economic stories of our time. With that comes great responsibility to make sure we write the history books in a way that continues to bring tremendous value to the world. I hope I can count on you for your vote.

See the full Board of Directors Voter Guide here.

Medical marijuana in Oregon: Ashland conference draws packed house | The Oregonian

ASHLAND — If the packed meeting room Thursday at the refined Ashland Springs Hotel is any gauge, interest in Oregon’s medical marijuana industry is, pardon the pun, high.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, the brainchild of Ashland businessman Alex Rogers, opened Thursday morning with a keynote address by Troy Dayton, the man behind The ArcView Group, a San Francisco-based business that, for a fee, pairs marijuana entrepreneurs with deep-pocketed investors.

The sold-out two-day event in Ashland is one of two conferences this week that focus on the business of marijuana – the latest sign that the state’s once-underground industry has moved into the mainstream. Beginning in March, the Oregon Health Authority will register medical marijuana retail outlets, the first effort to regulate an already thriving trade.

Read more: Medical marijuana in Oregon: Ashland conference draws packed house | The Oregonian

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