So not only is marijuana a $35 billion cash crop, it’s reportedly our country’s largest.
A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.
California is responsible for more than a third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state’s grapes, vegetables and hay combined ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬? and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report states.
The report estimates that marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past quarter century despite an exhaustive anti-drug effort by law enforcement.
Now to be fair, these numbers were put together by a group who seeks to re-classify the drug, and move it out of the category of heroin, but still…these numbers have gotta make one wonder. I mean, if this was a war fought over democracy, would we stay in it this long with these obvious losses?
The government’s response…
Tom Riley, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, cited examples of foreign countries that have struggled with big crops used to produce cocaine and heroin. “Coca is Colombia’s largest cash crop and that hasn’t worked out for them, and opium poppies are Afghanistan’s largest crop, and that has worked out disastrously for them,” Riley said. “I don’t know why we would venture down that road.”
Well, he’s right…but comparing those drugs is a pretty iffy proposition. Sure, some groups seek to decriminalize all of it, but entire states have voted to legalize marijuana for personal and medical use. So the situations are just not the same.
Also, concerning the coca plants and opium poppies…if we bought the crop from the farmers and turned it into pharmaceuticals instead of insisting that these plants need to be destroyed, maybe we could kill two birds with one stone.