Marijuana: Marijuana Crop Worth $1.5 Billion in One California County Alone, Paper Estimates 12/2/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/413/mendocino.shtml

Northern California's Mendocino County has been known for marijuana growing for at least 30 years. Part of the state's legendary Emerald Triangle of high-grade pot production along with neighboring Humboldt and Trinity counties, Mendocino has long profited from the underground economy. Last week, a local newspaper, the Willits News, tried to gauge just how large the profits may be, and the result is startling.

According to the News, the local marijuana industry will add $1.5 billion to the county's economy this year. With Mendocino's legal economy estimated at about $2.3 billion, that means the pot economy is almost two-thirds as large as all other legal economic activities combined. When combining the aboveground and underground economies, the marijuana industry is responsible for roughly 40% of all Mendocino County economic activity, a figure approaching the proportions of the Afghan opium economy.

As the News is quick to acknowledge, because marijuana is an illicit commodity, no one really knows how big the industry in the county is, so the paper relied on extrapolations based on the number of plants seized and on information it acquired about current wholesale (pound level and up) marijuana prices in the area. The County of Mendocino Marijuana Eradication Team (COMMET) seized 144,000 plants this year, and District Attorney told the paper COMMET normally seized between five and eight percent of the crop, a little less than the 10% rule of thumb for estimating all drug seizures. The paper more than compensated for the lowball seizure rate by also factoring in a 20% crop loss to spoilage. Following the formula, the News estimated 1.8 million plants were sown in the county this year, with 1.32 million surviving droughts, floods, bugs, mold, and cops.

And while both the DEA and Mendocino County law enforcement like to say that one plant produces one pound, the newspaper consulted local grower "Dionysius Greenbud," who said the average yield is closer to a half pound -- a very rough estimate, given a local crop that consists of both high-yielding outdoor plants and smaller, lower-yielding indoor plants. The paper's in-the-ballpark estimate for total pot production in the county is thus some 662,000 pounds.

The paper assumed a wholesale price of $2200 a pound, based on reports from local growers, and a simple multiplication yields a total of $1.5 billion.

Is that figure out of line? It's hard to say. In last year's "Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market," Eric Schlosser quoted former DEA officials as estimating the value of all marijuana grown nationwide at $25 billion. While it is difficult to believe that one California county accounts for nearly 5% of all pot grown in the US, who is to say different?

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #413 -- 12/2/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Update and Appeal: DRCNet in 2006 | Editorial: Now You Can Ask Me Why | Offer and Appeal: The Great Drug War, by Arnold Trebach | Feature: Plaintiffs Wanted -- ACLU to File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Ban on Financial Aid for College Student Drug Offenders | Feature: Conference to Plot Drug War Exit Strategy Gets Underway in Seattle | Feature: Los Angeles Event Raises Funds for HEA Victims | DRCNet Book Review: "Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town," by Nate Blakeslee (2005, Public Affairs Press, 450 pp., $26.95 HB) | Law Enforcement: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Law Enforcement: California Drug Task Force Must Hold Public Meetings, Court Rules | Asia: Singapore Executes Australian for Drug Smuggling | Marijuana: Marijuana Crop Worth $1.5 Billion in One California County Alone, Paper Estimates | Silliness: Two Florida Grade School Girls Arrested for Fake Marijuana Prank | Europe: England to Drug Test Arrested Burglars and Muggers | Latin America: Mexico Allows State, Local Cops to Join Drug War | Web Scan: New "Change The Climate" Animation | Weekly: This Week in History | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]