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 today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion Ö far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.
Now, first it should be noted that there are all sorts of problems with valuing illicit crops, including the methods of estimating quantity, the inclusion of non-viable crops, and the computation of street value. However, as an point of discussion, this report by Jon Gettman is probably as accurate as exists out there.
And his point is that with such a huge activity out there, clearly prohibition doesn’t work and can’t contain it, so it would make a whole lot more sense to bring it into the regulated market.
Naturally, the drug czar’s office was asked to weigh in…
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.”
No, Tom, you ignorant slut. The whole point is that if it’s your biggest cash crop, it doesn’t make sense to give that over to criminal control. You should legalize, tax and regulate. You’re making our point for us.