Marijuana Production in the United States (2006) by Jon GettmanExecutive Summary

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1) Marijuana is the largest cash crop in the United States, more valuable than corn and wheat combined. Using conservative price estimates domestic marijuana production has a value of $35.8 billion. The domestic marijuana crop consists of 56.4 million marijuana plants cultivated outdoors worth $31.7 billion and 11.7 million plants cultivated indoors worth $4.1 billion.

2) The top ten marijuana producing states are California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, Washington, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama., West Virginia, and Oregon. Five states (California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington) had marijuana crops worth over $1 billion.)

3) Despite intensive eradication efforts domestic marijuana production has increased ten fold over the last 25 years from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) in 1981 to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) in 2006, according to federal government estimates.

4) Marijuana is the top cash crop in 12 states, one of the top 3 cash crops in 30 states, and one of the top 5 cash crops in 39 states. The domestic marijuana crop is larger than Cotton in Alabama, larger than Grapes, Vegetables and Hay combined in California, larger than Peanuts in Georgia, and larger than Tobacco in both South Carolina and North Carolina.

5) From 2001 to 2005 federal and state eradication programs eradicated an average of 33,033 outdoor cultivation sites per year and an average of 2,701 indoor marijuana grow-rooms per year. From 1982 to 2005 the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program (DCESP) eradicated over 103 million cultivated marijuana plants, an average of 4.3 million cultivated plants a year over this 24 year period.

6) The ten-fold growth of production over the last 25 years and its proliferation to every part of the country demonstrate that marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the national economy. The failure of intensive eradication programs suggests that it is finally time to give serious consideration to marijuana’s legalization in the United States.