Washington, DC: Cannabis is the largest cash crop in the United States, outpacing the production of corn and wheat combined, according to an economic analysis released this week.
According to the study, "Marijuana Production in the United States, 2006," domestic marijuana production has increased ten-fold in the past 25 years from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds) and now has an estimated annual value of $36 billion.
"Despite their best efforts, the [government] has been unable to curtail the growth of domestic marijuana cultivation in the United States, let alone make any progress toward suppressing, abolishing, or eliminating this market phenomenon," the report states. "The focus for 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, rather than to continue to sacrifice achievable goals in exchange for unachievable long-term goals that have failed to materialize over the last 25 years."
According to the report, marijuana cultivation in California is responsible for more than a third of all US pot production.
Cannabis ranks as the top cash crop in twelve states and is worth more than $1 billion annually in five states: California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, and Washington.
A 1998 NORML report estimated the value of domestic marijuana production at that time at approximately $25 billion.
For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the report, "Marijuana Production in the United States, 2006," is available online at: http://www.drugscience.org/bcr/index.html.