Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Legalizing pot: Farm perspective

There's an initiative to legalize the sale of marijuana in california, and it's getting a lot of press.  If it is legalized, I'm confident that american farmers will produce it at the lowest possible price, and the days of $375/ounce pot are over for good. 

It's happened with every other crop.  Theres no reason to think that, if it becomes legal, there won't be ten thousand farmers planting 3 acres on spec. 


Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that the price will go down significantly. There's alot of soybean being grown and that's +/- 400/ton and corn which is priced in the $200/ton range. Plus with growing it, you have to worry about people stealing it and here in NY the deer would probably love to munch on it.That's all we need. Stoned Deer!

Lee said...

Um, there's a pretty big difference between $375 an ounce and $375 a ton.

I think the crash in price would be one of the great advantages of legalizing pot. The drug lords of South America and Mexico will have a lot harder time financing their campaigns of violence without their primary cash crop.

This one change, combined with ending the taxpayer subsidies on corn (which put Mexican farmers out of work), and re-writing NAFTA would go a long way toward stabilizing a number of the countries south of us.

Bruce King said...

A pot plant will yield about 16oz of pot, for a value of around $1800 PER PLANT, retail, at current rates quoted in that article.

Figuring 3 foot spacing between plants and 10' between rows, you can put 1,452 plants per acre. At current retail that crop would be worth $2,565,000 PER ACRE. Two million bucks per acre.

That's why every single farmer in california will put in an acre or two. Maybe they'll only get $50k an acre. That's good money.

damae said...

I understand that legalizing Hemp would be very good for the farmers.

Laws against hemp were passed a year after the development of a machine to harvest and process hemp so it could compete commercially against businesses owned by Hearst, the DuPonts and other powerful families. Source: Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes

# Farming 6% of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass crops would provide all of America's energy needs. 1
# Hemp is Earth's number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months. 1
# Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or gasoline at a cost comparable to petroleum, and hemp is much better for the environment. Pyrolysis (charcoalizing), or biochemical composting are two methods of turning hemp into fuel.2
# Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
# Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
# The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming.

Anonymous said...

Without commenting on whether I think legalizing pot is a good idea, i do take issue with the points made above. How can you say hemp burns "clean" and doesn't contribute to global warming. Burning anything is dirty and creates carbonmonoxide, thus contributing to global warming.

damae said...

you buy into global warming, so is mankind causing Mars to warm also??? lol

Lee said...

Humans may or may not be causing global warming. In 20 years we will know for sure. By then I'm sure whoever was wrong will have forgotten their position on the matter. (My view is to follow the money to find the liars. There's a lot more money to be made on fossil fuels than on carbon credits.)

Anyway, biomass fuels do burn "clean" because their combustion is releasing carbon that was only captured in the last year. (Or the last 40 years if you are burning trees.) There is no net change in the amount of atmospheric carbon. This is not to say they burn clean from a particulates and byproducts standpoint, but processes such as pyrolysis can be incredibly clean in this manner too.

damae said...

Good points, Lee, I think if you search deep enough, though, you will find it is the very same ilk that are making the money from both fossil fuels and carbon credits.