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The Trump administration’s planned crackdown on states that have legalized cannabis could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to a new industry report that has analyzed the ways in which the cannabis industry is set to grow over the next several years.

What’s the deal?

A Trump Crackdown 2 A Quarter Million Jobs At Risk If Trump Cracks Down On Legal Weed
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The report – released by the Washington, D.C.-based startup New Frontier Data – finds that there will be around 280,000 jobs created in the cannabis industry by the year 2020.

In fact, according to some measurements, the cannabis industry is even likely to eclipse the more established means of employment in America: Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, find that the manufacturing sector is likely to lose almost 1 million jobs in the next seven years.

There is also real money at stake: According to the New Frontier study, sales of medical cannabis are projected to balloon to $13.3 billion in the next three years, with recreational sales jump to $11.2 billion.

Those numbers account only for the states that have legalized cannabis thus far; they do not factor in those states that could legalize the substance in the next several years.

According to New Frontier’s founder and CEO, Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, the stats paint a clear picture of what is to come.

These numbers confirm that cannabis is a major economic driver and job-creation engine for the U.S. economy.

Jobs in individual states

A Trump Crackdown 3 A Quarter Million Jobs At Risk If Trump Cracks Down On Legal Weed
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Things look even more promising on a micro level. The state of Colorado famously legalized the recreational use of the substance in 2012 and has seen a growth of 18,000 cannabis-sector jobs in 2015 alone, according to another study conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group (MPG).

According to MPG founder Adam Orens, the cannabis industry has real potential monetary benefits for those states that choose to pursue them.

If this is done right, regulated right, taxed right, this industry can bring real economic benefitst to a state…

If the state or the local governments manage, permit and enforce [marijuana regulation] in a thoughtful way, then this can have real benefits.

Administration’s maneuvers

A Trump Crackdown 4 A Quarter Million Jobs At Risk If Trump Cracks Down On Legal Weed
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One of the only things that appears to be able to stymie the economic progress of the legal cannabis industry is the federal government – which has indicated that it is more than willing to oblige.

Last week, Sean Spicer, the Trump administration’s press secretary, said that the federal government would likely begin a crackdown on states that have chosen to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes.

He went on to link the usage of recreational cannabis with the country’s ongoing opioid crisis, which was met with condemnation from activists and politicians nationwide.

Then, Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated that he was not in favor of state-crafted laws regarding the possession and use of cannabis, saying that the federal government would likely take a firmer hand in enforcing federal law due to continued “violence” around cannabis.

I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that. – Sessions

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