Marijuana is the Largest U.S. Cash Crop at $35B: Study

U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of marijuana annually, making the illegal pot the country's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined, according to a report by National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws - NORMAL (Reuters reports).

The report also concluded that five U.S. states produce more than $1 billion worth of marijuana each: California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington. California's production alone was about $13.8 billion. 

The 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.

The report calculated the producer price of marijuana at $1,606 per pound. National survey data shows 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.

The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy estimated overall U.S. illegal drug use at $200 billion annually.

By comparison, the U.S. produced an annual average from 2003 to 2005 of: 

  • $23.3 billion worth of corn 
  • $17.6 billion worth of soybeans 
  • $12.2 billion worth of hay 
  • $11.1 billion worth of vegetables 
  • $7.4 billion worth of wheat

The report 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.

The societal costs of propagandizing against marijuana and marijuana law reform, funding anti-marijuana 'science', interdicting marijuana, eradicating domestically grown marijuana and industrial hemp, law enforcement, prosecuting and incarcerating marijuana smokers costs U.S. taxpayers in excess of $12 billion annually.

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