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CSUSM Report Finds $12M Impact of Local Cannabis Industry

Legal taxation on cannabis yielded a combined total of more than $12 million to the cities of San Diego, La Mesa and Vista in 2019, according to an economic impact report on the San Diego cannabis industry by Cal State San Marcos’ College of Business Administration.

The report was developed by the CSUSM Office of Business Research and Analysis (OBRA) in partnership with Blue Water Government Affairs. The cannabis consulting group worked with OBRA, an office that unites faculty expertise with student researchers to produce business analyses, to collect data on the San Diego cannabis industry. The student team used public records from the three San Diego County cities that allow legal sales of recreational and medical cannabis to examine how it influences community finances, police enforcement and public health.

The report also explores recent studies conducted by the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) that show cannabis storefronts are not positively associated with increased criminal activity, as well as national research on the reduction of opioid overdose deaths in states with legalized medicinal cannabis.

“We are grateful to CSUSM for their groundbreaking report on the economic impact of cannabis in San Diego County,” said Dallin Young, president of Blue Water Government Affairs. “This report demonstrates the positive impact commercial cannabis has had, generating millions of dollars in tax revenue while providing an essential service to county residents. Further, the report shows that the negative impacts foretold by cannabis opponents have not come to pass. And we now know there is significant untapped tax and employment benefits to be realized by jurisdictions throughout San Diego, which never have been more important than during our current economic crisis.”

Additionally, the report includes research on the diversity of the cannabis industry in the county, revealing that 68% of cannabis business license holders are white and 87% are male. The data presents a strong case for the need of an equity grants program for the county that would encourage more diverse applicants for the business license.

View the full report on the CSUSM Office of Business Research and Analysis website.


About Blue Water Government Affairs

Blue Water Government Affairs (BWGA) is a consulting firm that specializes in helping cannabis businesses establish government relationships, navigate the complex regulatory environments of cannabis, draft local ordinances, launch community education campaigns and establish strong advocacy and industry relationships. Drawing on years of legislative, campaign and grassroots advocacy experience, BWGA ensures that clients' cannabis businesses are protected and that issues are communicated effectively at both the state and local levels.