By Steve Elliott
A new study says that an estimated 1,500 jobs will be created by Arizona's new medical marijuana industry.
Tim Hogan, a researcher with Arizona State University who wrote the study, said he used figures from Oregon's established medical marijuana industry to estimate the size of Arizona's market, reports Julia Shumway of Cronkite News Service.
"It's a pretty simple industry," Hogan said. "There's not too much nuance. The main driving mechanism is how many patients."
Hogan's study, paid for by the Regulated Dispensaries of Arizona Association, indicated the industry has the potential to directly create 1,500 jobs for marijuana growers and dispensary employees, and also indirectly create 5,000 more jobs at places like grocery stores.
Arizona has about 38,000 registered medical marijuana patients and is allowed 126 dispensaries. Only a handful of dispensaries are open so far.
His study only models the straight economic impact of the industry instead of offering a more extensive cost-benefit analysis, according to Hogan.
"Given the size of the industry, it seems it will generate substantial income and tax revenue," Hogan said.
Dispensaries brought in nearly $200 million in sales in Colorado in 2012, according to that state's Department of Revenue. The shops paid about $5.5 million in state sales tax last year.