|A legal crop|
I live in Washington state, and the state as a whole legalized Marijuana (MJ for short) in the most recent election, as did Colorado. The majority of voters in this state decided that prohibition of MJ wasn't working,and that it was time for a change. Historic vote.
Some of the immediate consequences of this were that hundreds of pending criminal cases were dropped in the local court systems across the state. Thousands of cases actually; each county and each city in the state dropped hundreds.
I think that this alone was worth the vote. This means that thousands of people are free of legal fees, fines or the threat of jail. It means that defense attorneys and prosecuting attorneys can spend their time on other cases, and it means that our prison system doesn't have to spend $32,000 per inmate per year to feed and house these unfortunates. Humans seem to want to get drunk or high, and making it illegal just steers all of the profits into the hands of criminals -- and in the case of MJ, is one of the primary sources of profits for drug gangs that are destroying Mexico.
I talk to quite a few farmers on a pretty regular basis. Every single one of them is looking at the possibility of raising some quantity of MJ. In fact, I cannot say that I've seen anything else capture the attention of every single farmer like this one has. Unless there's some sort of limit on producer licenses, I think that we may well see tens of thousands of MJ producers in Washington State.
|Doing a little bit of gardening, farm-scale. Wonder what I could plant there?|
There are several things that will also happen immediately:
First, the importation of MJ into Washington is pretty much done. The market for MJ will be entirely local. Who wants to risk federal charges for crossing a state line when it can be produced locally and legally? That also applies to BC bud and california products. People will move the plants here and grow it here.
Second: Growers and folks involved in the legal production will suddenly be able to depend on law enforcement. The whole thing comes out of the shadows. If it's legal, it's legal. I believe that people who are currently illegally producing it will continue to do that, and that those folks will find that the profit for the product drops substantially -- and the old penalties for illegal production are still there. If you grow illegally, you're risking your money and property to confiscation. Kind of like moonshining -- the revenue agents will be out looking for that. If you're doing this under the table it'll get much harder, and the days of $3k a pound are done forever.
Third: Suddenly the producers are thrust into the mainstream agricultural market, and honestly, American farms are the worldwide masters of producing crops at the lowest possible cost. It costs about $500 an acre to plant and maintain hemp crops in Canada -- about 1/5th as much as it does to plant blueberries. Sure, there's labor involved in it, but I don't think that the current producers have any idea what a legal farm can do. I think that the price of MJ is going to plummet.
Lets assume that an MJ plant requires a 4x4 foot space -- 16 square feet per plant. That's 2,725 plants per acre. Imagine 10,000 acres planted in the spring of 2014, and each plant producing about a pound. That's, in round figures, 27,000,000 lbs. Twenty seven million pounds. 13,625 tons. Thirteen thousand tons of MJ.
Alfalfa sells for $300 a ton. Wonder what MJ will sell for?
How many of you would consider this as a crop?