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Federal Cannabis Legalization Could Repair An Economy Wrecked by COVID-19, CEOs Say

Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, and Cresco Labs are making the call

Three American cannabis CEOs and an investor think that weed could save the economy, which tanked after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. 

On Sunday, the heads of the licensed cannabis companies Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, and Cresco Labs, as well as an investor in the cannabis space, spoke with CNBC about the nation’s nascent marijuana industry and how it presents unique economic opportunities — ones that are non-existent in other mainstream industries.

“When we all start to be able to lift our heads from this COVID experience, we are going to be faced with a scenario where a lot of jobs have gone away, a lot of economic development impact has disappeared,” Charlie Bachtell, the CEO of Cresco Labs, told CNBC. “How are we going to bring that back? I think cannabis has to be part of that discussion.”

In the past month, state-ordered lockdowns and social distancing rules hit the US economy hard. Businesses depend on people spending money, and with everyone forced to stay home, the economy came to a grinding halt. As of last week, at least 22 million Americans filed for unemployment since March 14, and experts believe the national unemployment rate is hovering around 13.5 percent. When the Great Recession struck in 2008, the unemployment rate peaked at only 10 percent.

In other words, all of the new job gains made under Trump’s presidency were wiped out in a matter of weeks. Stock prices lost half their values initially, but have been slowly, but steadily, climbing back up. 

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