Marijuana top U.S. cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by JayS, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. JayS


    Marijuana top U.S. cash crop, policy analyst says

    By David Alexander
    Tue Dec 19, 8:44 AM ET

    WASHINGTON, Dec 18 (Reuters Life!) -
    U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of marijuana annually, making the illegal drug the country's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined, an advocate of medical marijuana use said in a study released on Monday.

    The report, conducted by Jon Gettman, a public policy analyst and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also concluded that five U.S. states produce more than $1 billion worth of marijuana apiece: California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington.

    California's production alone was about $13.8 billion, according to Gettman, who waged an unsuccessful six-year legal battle to force the government to remove marijuana from a list of drugs deemed to have no medical value.

    Tom Riley, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, said he could not confirm the report's conclusions on the size of the country's marijuana crop. But he said the government estimated overall U.S. illegal drug use at $200 billion annually.

    Gettman's figures were based on several government reports between 2002 and 2005 estimating the United States produced more than 10,000 metric tons of marijuana annually.

    He calculated the producer price per pound of marijuana at $1,606 based on national survey data showing retail prices of between $2,400 and $3,000 between 2001 and 2005.

    The total value of 10,000 metric tons of marijuana at $1,606 per pound would be $35.8 billion.

    By comparison, the United States produced an average of nearly $23.3 billion worth of corn annually from 2003 to 2005, $17.6 billion worth of soybeans, $12.2 billion worth of hay, nearly $11.1 billion worth of vegetables and $7.4 billion worth of wheat, the report said.

    Gettman said the 10-fold increase in U.S. marijuana production, from 1,000 metric tons in 1981 to 10,000 metric tons in 2006, showed the country was failing to control marijuana by making its cultivation and use illegal.

    "Marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the economy of the United States," he said. "The contribution of this market to the nation's gross domestic product is overlooked in the debate over effective control."

    "Like all profitable agricultural crops marijuana adds resources and value to the economy," he added. "The focus of public policy should be how to effectively control this market through regulation and taxation in order to achieve immediate and realistic goals, such as reducing teenage access."

    Riley said illegal drug use was a "serious part of the economy," but he rejected the notion of an economic argument for legalizing marijuana.

    He said marijuana use was an "inherently harmful activity" with serious physical and mental health consequences. He said more American teens were in treatment centers for marijuana dependency than for all other drugs combined.
  2. nice. all we need now is a future for it. then i can start arbing it against cheetos futures.
  3. lol...

    I bet a lot of people wouldn't mind taking delivery on that contract. :)
  4. I guess the government does not get it. Hallmark for example can only sell cards for a few holidays a year. But for pot farmers there are as many as two 4:20 a day….Chachingoo
  5. More of the insanity of prohbition. Legalized the crop wouldnt be worth anything.
  6. piezoe


    Legalized the crop wouldnt be worth anything.

    That's a key point Bear. So shall we conclude that the valuation given to the dope crop speaks more to the absurdity of government policy than to the intrinsic worth of the crop? It would seem that our government has managed to "cleverly" transform a ubiquitous weed into a substance of great economic value, and subsidized the industry that produces it by reducing its effective tax rate to zero and providing long-term, tax-payer subsidized housing to a subset of the industry principals.:D
  7. LOL , thanks buddy I was needing a good laugh.
  8. I keep on thinking of this 19 y.o. guy I knew two years ago that was adamant that it was easier for him to score cocaine than alcohol. Prohibition does not make sense considering how easy it is to score drugs. The ridiculous sums we spend on police enforcement and jail would be better spent on prevention and rehab. Drug enforcement just drives up the street price which creates an underground economy and spurs crime. Then you need to consider that a regulated drug trade would mean that drugs would be purer and thousands of lives would be saved annually. Sorry for rehashing the obvious.
  9. really? is the tobacco crop worthless? id place it somewhere between cigarettes and alcohol as far as a recreational drug. plus at least weed has medical uses, chief amoungst is cancer patients on chemo, with the number of US citizens diagnosed being in the eight digits now.

    just look at the value of the weed crops in countries like amsterdam. which is a relatively small country compared to the states.
  10. Legalizing pot would absolutely lower the price. Marijuana can be grown just about anywhere and does not deplete the soil that it is grown in unlike tobacco. As evidence, consider the cost of a pound of high grade marijuana in Vancouver BC with what it will command in Las Vegas, LA or Chicago.

    The cost of bud in Amsterdam is related to a lack of foreign competition and the tourist trade.
    #10     Dec 19, 2006