The latest example comes from California, where local narcotics officers found some large marijuana plants and tried to frame it as some sort of unbelievable shocker:
Marijuana plants seized Monday in Browns Valley and Live Oak "are the largest I've seen," a drug enforcement official said.
Some of the plants were 7 feet tall or higher. Most averaged only 5 feet in height but had a circumference of about 12 feet and could have produced about 10 pounds each of marijuana, said Hudson, who called it "some of the highest quality marijuana currently available."
It would take about 2,000 normal-size plants to produce an equivalent amount, he said. [Appeal Democrat]
That all sounds very exciting and newsworthy, except for one thing: marijuana plants don’t yield 10 pounds. They just don’t. That’s crazy and wrong.
To illustrate how absurd this is, I contacted Chris Conrad, a court-qualified cannabis expert and author of Cannabis Yields and Dosage. Here’s what Chris had to say:
Probably they would end up getting about 3-4 pounds of actual bud from a plant that size, depending on how well it is manicured, plus more than that as leaf that could be converted into hash or edibles. Remember that the police use the "bud-leaf-seed" version of cannabis, whereas the actual market is for bud, not leaf or seeds. So cops almost always think there is twice as much 'marijuana' there as does the grower.
I was just looking at some big plants in Oregon for a collective, and they claimed 5 pounds per plant, but I think that included the shake, which they said they give away to indigent patients. Visually they looked like 3 pound plants to me, so the implication is that they toss out the fan leaf but keep the bud leaf and trim for patients. That would explain how they could come to 5 pounds.
I've never had anyone claim to have gotten 10 pounds from a plant, but quite a few people have boasted about getting between 2 and 5 pounds of bud from one. I haven't had the pleasure of sitting in on the manicure and weighing to see it for myself, yet.
Cops often inflate the weight of their yield by using the fresh weight instead of the dry weight of the plants, BTW, so the most typical inflation is 400%; in other words, their alleged 10 pounds is most likely to weigh about 2.5 pounds, based on the typical cop exaggeration.
It is almost amusing to picture officers standing around a bunch of big plants issuing arbitrary clueless declarations about the garden’s quality and yield. They have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. It’s like asking a mugger to appraise jewelry. It might be funny if it weren’t for the fact that these spontaneous, incompetent assessments are used at trial to influence how long non-violent offenders will spend behind bars.