The Los Angeles Times reports that some pot growers in Humboldt County are having second thoughts about the prospect of going legit now that a marijuana legalization initiative has qualified for the November ballot:
Recently, "Keep Pot Illegal" bumper stickers have been seen on cars around the county. In chat rooms and on blogs, anonymous writers predict that tobacco companies will crush small farmers and take marijuana production to the Central Valley….
Humboldt State economists guess that marijuana accounts for between $500 million and $700 million of the county's $3.6 billion economy….
The conventional wisdom here is that fully legal weed might fetch no more than a few hundred dollars a pound [compared to about $3,000 for high-quality cannabis now], as more people grow it and police no longer pull up millions of plants a year.
Illegal marijuana "is the government's best agricultural price-support program ever," said Gerald Myers, a retired engineer and former volunteer fire chief who moved to the county in 1970. "If they ever want to help the wheat farmers, make wheat illegal."
Last year Reason.tv presciently produced an ad that worried marijuana farmers may want to air before Election Day.
Last month Nick Gillespie cited an A.P. story that similarly illustrated the confluence between satire and reality in this area. In the April 2007 issue of Reason, I noted that prohibition has made marijuana America's No. 1 cash crop.
[via Kevin Drum]