The Other Green Jobs: Legal Marijuana and the Promise of Consumption-Driven Economic Development

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Legalizing marijuana at the state level establishes via fiat a new industry. In practice, legal marijuana constitutes a large-scale test of consumption-driven economic development policies, which seek to shape industry and job growth via changes in local spending. Drawing on the critical case of Colorado, I assess the economic development outcomes and future potential of legal marijuana, and evaluate the broader applicability of consumption-driven development processes heretofore confined to the arts and isolated local cases. While most states should be able to replicate Colorado’s import-substitution gains, the most enduring economic benefits to legalization require place amenities that legalization alone cannot provide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-92
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019



  • consumption theory
  • economic development
  • marijuana legalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies

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