Monday, December 18, 2006

POT: America's #1 Cash Crop

Chicago Tribune
____________________________________

Pot called top cash crop in America
Study: Market value exceeds $35 billion

By Eric Bailey
Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Published December 18, 2006

SACRAMENTO -- For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.

A report released Monday by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the United States exceeds $35 billion--far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay.

The report estimates that marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past quarter-century.

Jon Gettman, the report's author, is a proponent of the push to drop marijuana from the federal list of hard-core Schedule 1 drugs, such as heroin and LSD. He argues that the data support his push to begin legalizing cannabis and reaping a tax windfall from it, while controlling production and distribution to better restrict use by teenagers.

"Despite years of effort by law enforcement, they're not getting rid of it," Gettman said.

But Tom Riley, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, cited examples of countries that have struggled with drug crops.

"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.

Gettman's report cites figures in a 2005 State Department report estimating U.S. cannabis cultivation at 10,000 metric tons--10 times the 1981 production.

Using data on the number of pounds eradicated by U.S. police, Gettman produced estimates of the likely size and value of the cannabis crop in each state.

His methodology used what he described as a conservative value of about $1,600 a pound compared with the $2,000- to $4,000-a-pound street value often cited by law-enforcement agencies after busts.

Nationwide, the estimated cannabis production of $35.8 billion exceeds corn ($23 billion), soybeans ($17.6 billion) and hay ($12.2 billion), according to Gettman's findings.
-----------
But Tom Riley, a spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, cited examples of countries that have struggled with drug crops.

"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.


Is Tom Riley saying that American's should prepare for aerial fumigation on our native soil?

The drug war is meant to be waged and not won. It should come as no surprise to anyone that marijuana crop production is up. Look at what happened in Colombia after we started aerial fumigation. The crop production went up. Now John Walters of the ONDCP will say it is down in Colombia and that may be (I have my doubts) but coca crop production has risen in surrounding countries like Peru and Bolivia. And look at what happened in Afghanistan. The Taliban had almost completely eradicated the opium crop. When American soldiers arrived the opium crop production skyrocketed and this year there was over a 60% increase from previous years.

Hell, let’s put the government in charge of eradicating the ivory-billed woodpecker. In a year we would be over-run with them.


(H/T to Poliblogger )

2 comments:

Roberto C. Alvarez-Galloso,CPUR said...

If the Republicans and Democrats want to fumigate, they should start by fumigating our government by admitting their wrong doings and resigning and turning over the reigns of power to Loretta Nall and Company [who are the few who make sense in this country]. [At least this is my Adult Christmas Wish List]

-Sepp said...

I covered the same story on my site too. Although I no longer smoke, I know a lot of very productive people who do. The "war on drugs" has been nothing more than a moneypit and the focus needs to change.