Investigating the Economic Impact of Cannabis in Pueblo County blog photo

Investigating the Economic Impact of Cannabis in Pueblo County Colorado

In the ever-evolving landscape of cannabis legalization, Pueblo County stands out as a shining example of both the economic potential and the dedication to research and education in the cannabis industry. The economic impact of cannabis in Pueblo County has been significant, contributing to its status as a vital player in this booming sector. How did Pueblo County achieve this, and what does the future hold for the county and the industry?

Short Summary

  • Pueblo County has seen a rise in legal cannabis, making it a hub for research and education.
  • The Cannabis Research Bill facilitates advancements in research with potentially profitable drugs, while educational programs provide individuals with the necessary skills to contribute to the economy.
  • Tax revenue generated from legal cannabis sales can fund social services, and law enforcement is taking action against illegal marijuana activity. County commissioners have an important role in shaping the industry’s landscape.

The Rise of Legal Cannabis in Pueblo County

Pueblo County embarked on its exploration of lawful cannabis by initiating a study conducted by Colorado State University Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research. The research aimed to assess the local implications following the legalization of recreational cannabis.

Covering various aspects, such as social and economic impacts, water and power usage, and optimal buffer zones between hemp and high THC cannabis sites, the study provided valuable insights into the effects of marijuana legalization on the county.

Simultaneously, on a national scale, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act has been proposed. This legislation could potentially declassify cannabis from the federal register of controlled substances, creating a pathway for countrywide legalization of marijuana and abolishing any legal consequences related to its distribution and possession.

As the legal landscape shifts, the role of Pueblo County in the broader marijuana industry becomes even more crucial.

Pueblo County: A Hub for Cannabis Research and Education

With the rise of legal cannabis, Pueblo County has witnessed a surge in cannabis research and educational opportunities, fostering a conducive environment for the growth and development of the marijuana industry.

Let’s delve deeper into the advancements in cannabis research and the educational opportunities available in the cannabis industry.

Advancements in Cannabis Research

Pueblo has emerged as a prominent location for cannabis research, with recent findings shedding light on the potential risks of cannabis use disorder. As the industry continues to grow, so does the need for further research. The Cannabis Research Bill promises to facilitate domestic research into medical cannabis, allowing American researchers to investigate the water and energy use associated with cannabis cultivation and become more competitive in the field.

The potential for future discoveries in cannabinoid research is considerable, with the possibility of developing profitable drugs and furthering our understanding of the plant’s properties and its effects on human health. As research progresses, it is essential to ensure educational opportunities are in place to support the burgeoning marijuana industry.

Educational Opportunities in the Cannabis Industry

Many educational opportunities are available in the cannabis industry, ranging from certificate programs in cannabis law, cannabis business, and cannabis cultivation to courses and degrees offered by institutions such as the University of Denver, Stockton University, and Medgar Evers College.

These educational programs are designed to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge required for success in the industry, contributing to the Pueblo County economy by providing a skilled workforce. As the sector persistently advances, it’s vital to possess a workforce capable of deciphering the intricacies of the constantly-transforming cannabis scene.

Economic Benefits of the Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry has brought various economic benefits to Pueblo County, including job creation, increased tax revenue, and financial support for social services, particularly following the introduction of recreational marijuana.

To better understand these benefits, let’s examine the job creation potential, workforce development initiatives, and tax revenue generated by the industry.

Job Creation and Workforce Development

Based on the 2023 Vangst Jobs Report, the lawful cannabis sector in the US presently sustains 417,493 jobs equivalent to full-time positions. Even a small one-location brand like Cannasseur can create over 50 jobs. With the industry still in its nascent stage and evolving regulations, it is estimated that it could create up to 1 million jobs in the US by 2025.

To support this growth, the cannabis industry offers a variety of workforce development initiatives, such as job training programs, apprenticeships, and educational opportunities, aimed at equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge required for success in the industry.

As the cannabis sector expands, a skilled workforce becomes critical for sustaining its economic impact.

Tax Revenue and Funding Social Services

The tax revenue generated by the cannabis industry can be used to fund social services, providing vital support to communities in need. By the conclusion of 2022, states collectively disclosed over $15 billion in tax income from lawful cannabis sales to adults. In Pueblo County alone, the total annual tax collection from cannabis sales amounted to $3,449,842 in 2016.

This significant tax revenue allows funds to be allocated to various social services, addressing pressing issues such as education, homelessness, and public health. The economic advantages of the cannabis sector transcend mere job generation and economic expansion, profoundly impacting the societal structure and enhancing life quality for the people of Pueblo County.

Addressing Environmental Concerns

The cannabis industry has been linked to various environmental concerns, including energy consumption, water usage, soil erosion, and water depletion, as well as the loss and fragmentation of sensitive habitats due to road construction and other land-intensive processes. Addressing these concerns is crucial for ensuring the industry’s sustainability and minimizing environmental impact.

Pueblo County is taking proactive steps to address these environmental issues, striving to strike a balance between the economic benefits of the cannabis industry and the need to protect and preserve the county’s natural resources. By implementing responsible practices, the county can continue to thrive as a leader in the cannabis industry while safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Law Enforcement and Illegal Marijuana

While the cannabis industry continues to grow, law enforcement efforts are focused on reducing illegal marijuana activity in Pueblo County. The Drug Enforcement Administration supports state and local law enforcement agencies with resources to aid in eradicating illegal cannabis operations, and multi-agency enforcement task forces work to disrupt the illegal market and shut down unlicensed dispensaries.

ICR researchers found an increased crime rate in Pueblo since legalization. This is likely due to a higher population and fewer law enforcement officers. The researchers also suggested the establishment of more efficient systems for monitoring marijuana-related crime, emphasizing the need for accurate data and effective strategies to tackle illegal marijuana activity.

County Commissioners’ Role in Shaping the Cannabis Landscape

County commissioners play an essential role in shaping the cannabis landscape in Pueblo County, controlling the sale, cultivation, and production of cannabis within the county, and implementing local licensing and regulations. Their decisions have significantly impacted the cannabis industry in Pueblo County, providing a framework for the industry to flourish.

As the industry advances and meets new challenges, the importance of county commissioners grows in navigating the complex features of the cannabis sector and ensuring Pueblo County maintains its leading role in the field. By working closely with the community, law enforcement, and the cannabis industry, county commissioners can continue shaping a prosperous and sustainable future for Pueblo County.

The Future of Cannabis in Pueblo County

Since its legalization in 2012, the cannabis industry has considerably affected Pueblo County’s economy. Still, the industry’s future remains uncertain, and it is unclear if it will continue to exhibit the same degree of growth.

However, Pueblo County is taking proactive steps to remain a leader in the industry, ensuring a bright future for the county and the cannabis sector. By fostering a strong research and educational environment, addressing environmental concerns, supporting law enforcement efforts, and working closely with county commissioners, Pueblo County is well-positioned to navigate the uncertainties of the cannabis industry and thrive as a hub for legal cannabis production and research.


In conclusion, Pueblo County has emerged as a vital player in the cannabis industry, providing a solid foundation for its growth and development. The county has demonstrated its ability to adapt and lead in this rapidly evolving sector through its commitment to research, education, environmental responsibility, and effective regulation. As Pueblo County’s cannabis future takes shape, it’s clear that the county’s commitment and tenacity will persistently influence the trajectory of the industry, serving as a beacon of what legal cannabis can potentially achieve.


H.R. 3617 (EH) – Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act – Content Details –

H.R.8454 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act | | Library of Congress

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