Washington's Bumper Crop of Pot

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A.P. reports that last year the value of marijuana seized by state and federal authorities in Washington state, estimated at a record $270 million, exceeded the value of the state's eighth biggest legal crop, sweet cherries. Depending on how good the government is at seizing marijuana, the total value of cannabis grown in Washington may even exceed that of apples, officially the state's biggest agricultural commodity and worth $963 million in 2004. (That would be the case if, for example, the government manages to find one in four plants.) These numbers, of course, are testimony neither to the relative demand for marijuana as compared to cherries and apples nor to the efficiency of the state's drug warriors but to the perverse effects of prohibition, which makes a dried weed worth half its weight in gold (or more).

[Thanks to sage for the link.]

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  1. One thing I hate about the Seattle P-I is that you have to register to read articles that are older than 10 days. Maybe I should check out that bugmenot site.

  2. How much of that number is pot seized crossing the border from British Columbia?

  3. Tanya, according to the original article, none. They are counting plants in the article, so the number applied to the value of the crop is potential value in this case. Many of the plants were not near full height, for instance. The county with the highest number of seized plants was Chelan, which is central Washington and not near the Canadian border. King County was second and I forget the rankings from there.

  4. “value of cannabis grown in Washington may even exceed that of apples”

    I REALLY like dem apples!

  5. and, what, pringles and twinkees are the biggest import, now?

  6. In the LA Times version of the coverage, the local Head Narc (as opposed to the local Narc Head) expressed this wonderment:

    “We’re struck by the amount of work they put into it,” said Lt. Rich Wiley, who heads the Washington State Patrol narcotics program.

    SH: I like it when drug cops express surprise about illegal drug operations as if the motivations for doing such business are suddenly new.

    “Let’s see,” muses the average Washington farmer. “Grow cherries and sell them for a couple bucks a pound? Or grow marijuana and sell it for $2000 a pound?”

    See: US WA: In Evergreen State, Pot’s No. 8 Crop http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v06/n210/a07.html?show

  7. You do realize that the value of a hitman, on an hours-worked basis, is likely higher than that of a neuro-surgeon. By the logic in your post, this should prompt us to leagalize murder-for-hire.

  8. Yeah, yeah. I meant legalize not leagalize.

  9. You do realize that the value of a hitman, on an hours-worked basis, is likely higher than that of a neuro-surgeon.

    I think you are confusing the price of hiring a hitman with the value of said hitman. Not the same.

  10. By the logic in your post, this should prompt us to leagalize [sic] murder-for-hire.

    WTF? By the logic in your post…um, actually there is no logic in your post.

    Murder-for-hire is illegal because willfully taking human lives is immoral and illegal. Growing marijuana is illegal because…because…um…er, somebody wanna help me out here?

  11. Because William Randolph Hurst owned thousands of acres of trees used to produce newsprint for his papers, that were on the verge of becoming worthless with the introduction of new processes to make paper out of hemp. Plus, Dupont didn’t want hemnp oil products to compete with their crude oil based products. Also, racists in government saw it as a way to control the Hispanic and Black populations who were the main users at the time. Does that clear it up?

  12. Growing marijuana is illegal because…because…um…er, somebody wanna help me out here?

    It was orginally thought to cause black and hispanic men to rape white women and teenagers to brutally murder their families with an ax before leaping out a 4 story window. Now its just viewed as perverting the moral soul and legalizing would add more to the social problems we now face. Yeah right!

  13. You do realize that the value of a hitman, on an hours-worked basis, is likely higher than that of a neuro-surgeon. By the logic in your post, this should prompt us to leagalize murder-for-hire.

    Actually, the value of the neuro-surgeons insurance premiums, on an hours-negotiated basis, is far higher than that of the nuero-surgeon. Said hitman would be better served working as an insurance broker! If one can really see the difference of the two!

  14. This doesn’t surprise me…when I was going to college (my first attempt) up in Bellingham, WA, damn near everyone I knew had at least a few plants in their closet and a few had some full-blown hydro mega-farms in their basements. One friend of mine showed up after summer break with a trunk (one of those big wooden ones) full of shake. Said it was leftovers from his brother’s growing operation. Heard alot of other stories, too, but who knows if they were true or not. I do know it was always easy to get and the quality was outstanding…*clears throat*…at least that’s what I heard. Had a summer job working for PG&E clearing right-of-ways for their gas pipelines when we came upon a small field of weed once. Shrooms was big up there as well–knew alot of people who dehydrated them. Never knew anyone who grew them though, they just went out into the fields and picked them.

  15. $270 million worth of weed?!?

    (drooling)

    Christ, if I had that much at one time, I’d build a large hill out of it and name it Mount Killagangero.

  16. $270 million worth of weed?!?

    I’d roll the biggest blunt the world has ever seen.

  17. TOM retorts: You do realize that the value of a hitman, on an hours-worked basis, is likely higher than that of a neuro-surgeon. By the logic in your post, this should prompt us to leagalize murder-for-hire.

    SH: The distinction is that all parties in my scenario (growers, sellers, end-consumers) are consensual players in the activity. In your scenario, an unwitting participant is involved.

    I only endorse adult activities which are consensual for all concerned.

  18. I have a new tourism slogan for my home state of Washington:

    “Come on up to Washington. If we were any higher we’d be British Columbia!”

    (and yeah, the pun is always intended.)

  19. I’m a little late on this one, but gold is up to $550 an ounce. Three or four years ago, the two were comparable, but the market price of gold has been sailing while pot has remained about the same.

    With the exception, of course, of NYC pot delivery services. At $50 for 2 grams, ganja is $700 an ounce (delivery included). Still, upstate, the upper limit is around $420 (coincidentally, I do believe).

  20. Does anyone care that this reporting is all based on faulty logic?

    Check this out: The report tries to assert that pot is ranked 8th on a list of agricultural commodities for WA state, BUT, pot was the only crop who’s POTENTIAL value (estimated value of seized and destroyed crops) was considered instead of its ACTUAL value (determined by sales). Those cherries had to be SOLD to get on the list, yet the pot they try to rank was SEIZED and DESTROYED, never once entering the free market (which would define it as a COMMODITY).

    This reporting is misleading at best. They can’t know the actual rank of pot on this list because they can’t track its SALES. The govt shouldn’t brag about wasting such a viable economic “commodity,” in my opinion. Legalize its sale and then track it to rank it on this stupid list – but at the top, no doubt!

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